london fashion week FW19
Words by Hannah Rose Prendergast
Bethany Williams partnered with Liverpool-based women’s shelter ‘Adelaide House’ for her collection of the same name. Williams worked alongside Giorgia Chiarion to illustrate the women of the shelter, female community leaders, and city forms. Her collaborative efforts continued with the women of Downview Prison set to construct the jersey pieces for the production of orders, and the Manx Workshop for the disabled in charge of button production. The designer also showcased fabrics made from book waste, deadstock yarn, and recycled denim. Elevating her edgy streetwear with a comprehensive social and environmental conscience, Bethany Williams was very deservingly decorated with ‘The Queen Elizabeth II Award for Design’ after the show.
Matty Bovan gave new meaning to the word ‘witchcraft’ this season with wares inspired by the Pendle Witch Trials of 1612. The collection entitled ‘In Uncertain Times, This Is A Sure Thing!’ mixed Bovan’s DIY craft aesthetic with an unmistakable Englishness to create modern-day magic. Puffed sleeves were made from football pads, old furs were stitched into new shapes, and jewelry was sourced from chair spindles made by a local wood turner. Bovan’s mother, Plum, played a vital role in her son’s homespun endeavors, shaping the talismans held by models and using frayed USB cords and old banisters to bolster the jewelry selection. FW19 also marked the designer’s collaboration with Coach to create turbans and top hats rendered from their canvas monogram logo. Down to every last detail, Bovan’s hard work and resourcefulness made for a spellbinding show.
Mother of Pearl presented their Spring/Summer 2019 collection at the Fitzrovia Chapel and creative director, Amy Powney took the opportunity to reinforce the brand’s ethos with a clever ball pit display of 300,000 pearl balls in reference to the abundance of microplastics that pollute the ocean. As for the clothing, there were silk floral separates, ivory polka dot pleated bib dresses and shirting, wrap coats with trench detail storm flaps, and of course, pearl-adorned flats and kitten heels. Think Vivian Ward in ‘Pretty Woman’ post-makeover, that was Mother of Pearl’s muse this season. And to top it all off, Powney teamed up with BBC Earth and BBC Studio’s Natural History Unit to produce a short film highlighting the environmental effects of the fashion industry and proposing solutions.
Richard Malone’s latest was a return to simpler times of village street parties and community center gatherings, the sort of thing you can only truly appreciate after you’ve grown up. Capturing the carefree attitude of childhood as “the real meaning of punk,” Malone showed striped stoles made from reused dog beds, dress coats comprised of workwear twills, and dresses cut from exactly one meter of woven fabric and shaped through contouring by hand. Waste was limited but nostalgia was readily available when it came to the color palette of tonal browns mixed with brights that conceivably belonged to street party flags, retro party plate inspired prints that appeared on recycled, organic cotton jersey, and bra cups that sat a little bit lower than normal. But the Malone woman pays it no mind; she lives her life in style and unbothered (unless it’s about the environment.)
Enviro-conscious queen Vivienne Westwood exhorted audiences again this season with the motto “Buy less, choose well, make it last.” Returning to the runway after her last two digital presentations, the Dame delivered menswear and womenswear to the tune of tartan outerwear, tabards and tees covered in climate change and anti-consumerist slogans, and suiting spliced with graffiti print. Even amid the anarchy, there was room for her beloved corsetry featured in tops paired with leggings, day dresses, and gowns. Westwood also assembled a diverse cast of models for the show that included activists Rose McGowan, Sara Stockbridge, and director of Greenpeace UK, John Sauven, that spoke about issues regarding inequitable taxation, democracy, and consumption. Adding performance art to these already thought-provoking pieces left you with the sense a vote for Vivienne is a vote for saving the planet.
From a mother’s love to royal recognization, and punk endorsed parties to pretty women in pearls, London’s calling this season was spirited by sustainability.