LONDON — Body inclusivity is a priority this season, as buyers at London Fashion Week gave a collective thumbs-up to Nensi Dojaka, Conner Ives, 16Arlington and Supriya Lele for showing sexy pieces made for every body shape and size.They are also impressed with the one-of-a-kind physical experiences put on by Richard Quinn, Harris Reed, Oswald Boateng and Rejina Pyo, as well as 16Arlington, where the show served as a touching tribute to Federica Cavenati, one half of the brand’s design duo, who sadly passed away late last year.
In terms of items, an overwhelming amount of buyers namechecked Dojaka’s cutout dresses, sheer jumpsuits and tailored pieces as next season’s must-haves, with some calling them “a guaranteed sell-out.”
Here, international buyers share some of their favorite moments from London’s fall 2022 season.
Backstage at Richard Quinn fall 2022 on Feb. 19 in London.
Kuba Dabrowski for WWD
Libby Page, senior market editor, Net-a-porter
Favorite collections: It’s been amazing to see such a strong roster of emerging talent at LFW again this season — and these were also some of my favorite collections in London, from Maximilian who showed at Fashion East, Supriya Lele and Nensi Dojaka, to Conner Ives who is part of our Vanguard mentorship program and just had his sensational debut London Fashion Week show. I also loved Simone’s sumptuous fabrications and Molly Goddards’ tulle skirts with oversize knitwear.
Top trends: In London, it’s very evident that the Y2K trend is here to stay. We had crop tops and chainmail skirts at Conner Ives, low-slung waists at Supriya Lele, and barely there black dresses from Nensi Dojaka. Generally speaking, It does feel like we are going “back to black” after a few seasons of bold brights and dopamine dressing. I’m always here for monochrome styling; from Nensi and Erdem’s black dresses to Simone’s quilted black coats, the collections signified a return to a more simplistic approach to dressing.
Must-have item: Believe it or not, the balaclava trend is staying put for another winter. From knitted embellished styles at Simone to a more hooded silhouette at Richard Quinn and Halpern. Erdem’s sequins hats were also exceptional.
Best presentation: New to Net-a-porter, Clements Ribeiro held a presentation at Cavendish Square. The industrial setting, which included impeccable abstract floral designs, was the perfect antidote against his bold, bright and colorful knits.
Backstage at Ozwald Boateng
Bosse Myhr, director of womenswear and menswear, Selfridges
Favorite collections: 16Arlington was one of our favorite collections this season. Sheer, sequin-embellished dresses and separates all created a standout show. A touching tribute to Federica Cavenati, one half of the design duo who sadly passed away late last year.
Another highlight was Sports Banger; an off-schedule show in Tottenham only attended by friends of the brand, artists, fellow designers and a select few journalists. The collection was a fun moment for me and encapsulated London’s vibrant cultural fashion scene by combining must-have “world party” print jerseys with couture pieces made in collaboration with an energy drink company.
Best presentation: Ozwald Boateng’s show was another highlight, bringing together an entire audience of friends alongside members of the fashion crowd. Idris Elba made a special appearance on stage, which brought to life the world of Ozwald, a master of tailoring and eveningwear but also vibrant colors and prints — a very special moment to witness.
Must-have item: Nensi Dojaka’s collection was beautiful and her sexy, lingerie aesthetic that has become synonymous with the brand was elevated to new levels of perfection. Our customers love her pieces, [which] are a guaranteed sell-out this season.
General comments: In general, this London Fashion Week we are very feeling very positive and the designers’ collections reflected that mood.
Runway at 16Arlington fall 2022 on Feb. 20 in London.
Giovanni Giannoni for WWD
Poppy Lomax, womenswear buying manager, Harrods
Favorite collections: 16Arlington showed the most beautiful dedication to the late designer and rang true to the brand’s recognizable DNA. The elegance of previous collections with the focus on white and crystals was still present, but it was lovely to see an exploration of all categories including belts, neckpieces and bags. Feather, of course, played a role in the collection in a more elegant way than previous seasons, the embellishments of feathers and tears are perfectly translatable to the Harrods customer.
Top trends: Embellishments were everywhere this season, from Simone Rocha’s jeweled socks and knitwear to crystal tears in 16Arlington and Huishan Zhang’s recognizable feathers — it’s a perfect nod to party season.
Must-have item: A Nensi Dojaka LBD is so of the moment and by far the most desirable piece of the season.
Best presentation: Rejina Pyo was a standout for London Fashion Week, a lovely collection that covered an array of styles and feminine silhouettes — paired with sushi and cocktails was a match made in heaven and a great way to finish the week.
Jawara Alleyne fall 2022 on Feb. 20 in London on the runway at Fashion East.
Giovanni Giannoni for WWD
Heather Gramston, head of womenswear, Browns
Favorite collections: London standouts were Nensi Dojaka, Poster Girl and Fashion East.
Top trends: Sexy bodycon 2.0 — a new and liberating version of sexy that has further developed last season’s “out out” aesthetic, now made for every body shape and size.
Must-have item: Nensi Dojaka’s sheer jumpsuit.
Best presentation: The Richard Quinn show was a real spectacle. From the pink walls and carpet to the live orchestra and choir, not to mention the giant chandelier held by latex gimp mask wearers, it was all such a sensory overload, but in the best way possible.
Talent scouting: Flame-haired Jan Baiboon walked nearly every show — one to watch!
Budgets up/down or flat: At Browns, supporting and developing young talent is a key part of our strategy, and London Fashion Week is always a great resource for homegrown talent and those designers really pushing boundaries and codes with their collections.
General comments: It was so encouraging to see body positivity become normalized in the casting throughout almost all shows and presentations — London more than delivered in representation.
Runway at Simone Rocha fall 2022 on Feb. 20 in London.
Giovanni Giannoni for WWD
Elizabeth von der Goltz, chief commercial officer, Matchesfashion
Top trends: We saw tonal dressing continuing on from NYFW and a new take on neutrals with subtle shimmer and shine at 16Arlington. There was a strong dressing-up mood with special occasion velvet from Simone Rocha; 1920s- and 60s-inspired glamour with dripping jet black beads at Erdem and Emilia Wickstead, and sheer paneling and cutouts at Nensi Dojaka.
Must-have item: Neutral, nude paillette dresses from Nensi Dojaka and 16Arlington. Oversize fair isle knits from Molly Goddard. Anything occasion from Emilia Wickstead, and Simone Rocha’s over-the-knee crystal-embellished socks.
Best presentation: Harris Reed’s presentation was stunning — Sam Smith’s intimate performance set against a backdrop of clouds was so moving and we all felt immersed in Harris’ world. The 16Arlington show as a dedication to Kikka was a very special and personal moment. It was so touching and a beautiful way to honor her, we were all in tears.
General comments: There was such a positive and creative energy surrounding LFW, we saw such enthusiasm and support for all the British brands. It was great to see the evolution of emerging designers like Maximilian, and it was an exciting surprise to see the fabulous womenswear at S.S. Daley.
Backstage at Nensi Dojaka fall 2022 on Feb. 19 in London.
Kuba Dabrowski for WWD
Tiffany Hsu, vice president womenswear and kidswear fashion buying, Mytheresa
Top trends: Sportswear references were really strong along with Y2K and rave references. On the opposite side, there were also many super paired-down and more quiet looks.
Must-have items: Nensi Dojaka‘s cutout pieces with sequins and Simone Rocha’s babydoll dresses and knitted crystal embroidered balaclavas really stood out to me.
Best presentation: I loved Simone Rocha — her collection was surreal and beautiful and presented her beloved signature pieces, such as biker jackets, voluminous coats, big skirts and transparent dresses layered over other dresses. Other shows to note are Roksanda and the Central Saint Martins graduation show.
Talent scouting: There are two names to definitely keep an eye on. Chet Lo from Fashion East went on a journey to reinterpret skiwear and created amazing pastel-hued statement knits, and Harris Reed has followed his idea of romanticism gone nonbinary and created a stunning collection.
A look from Harris Reed’s “60 Years a Queen” collection.
Courtesy of Harris Reed
Roopal Patel, senior vice president, fashion director, Saks
General comments: It is amazing to return to London after a two-year hiatus. London Fashion Week is bustling with a new guard of talent, including Nensi Dojaka, Harris Reed, Maximillian and Chet Lo, and the creative buzz and energy from this next generation of designers are electric.
Best collections: Nensi Dojaka’s sexy, bold and confident collection was elevated with its new tailoring elements. Harris Reed’s demi-couture collection was another standout; the imagination, the execution and the vision left us wanting to see more. Additional standouts of the week were the Halpern, Richard Quinn, Erdem and Simone Rocha collections.
Top trends: There is so much play on volume and proportion this season. Layers, pops of vibrant color, statement coats, return to glamour and cutouts continue to be key trends. Overall, each designer seemed to focus more on expressing their signature design elements and less on trends.
Best presentation: Richard Quinn’s dramatic “night at the symphony” presentation created a beautiful experience for the senses.
Must-have items: One of Nensi Dojaka’s sleek, cutout pieces and Michael Halpern’s rainbow fringe gown.
Backstage at Erdem fall 2022 on Feb. 21 in London.
Kuba Dabrowski for WWD
Arielle Siboni, ready-to-wear fashion director, Bloomingdale’s
Favorite collections: Nensi Dojaka, Emilia Wickstead, Harris Reed and Erdem were standout collections. Supriya Lele and Conner Ives are also the designers to watch.
Top trends: Cutouts, embellishment and the reign of eveningwear continue as the top trends for fall. We’re also seeing lace, checkerboard nods to punk and lots of black on the runway.
Must-have item: Nensi Dojaka’s cutout dresses, Emilia Wickstead’s take on eveningwear with the beaded fringe, and Simone Rocha’s knit sets and velvet dresses were favorites.
General comments: This season continues to cement London’s reputation as the center for emerging talent with great collections from Harris Reed, Supriya Lele and Connor Ives. Designers are also taking the lead with eco-conscious designs by incorporating more sustainable fabrics and secondhand into runway shows.
Runway at Conner Ives fall 2022 on Feb. 18 in London.
Giovanni Giannoni for WWD
Lisa Ruffle, buying manager, Moda Operandi
Favorite collections: Halpern was a standout, delivering hit after hit of exceptional evening looks that were elegant with a touch of sparkle and fluid fringe. 16Arlington produced an emotional and powerful tribute to the late Kikka Cavenati. The refined collection was filled with party-ready staples that capitalized on shimmering and translucent fabrications. It was undeniably a step forward for the brand. Lastly, Connor Ives felt fresh, fun and modern, solidifying London as the ground zero of emerging talent.
Top trends: London Fashion Week has been all about dressing up and the fantasy of fashion. Glamorous eveningwear was highly prevalent across most collections, from the couture-esque, structured proportions of Richard Quinn to the dark romance of Erdem’s sophisticated collection to the edgy, body-confident looks from Nensi Dojaka (this season shown on a range of body types). It was dressing up — any way you want.
Other key trends included white for formal dressing — whether you’re the bride or not! Y2K is clearly not going anywhere. Conner Ives’ collection of patchwork scarf dresses and skirts, kick flares and midriff-baring looks embodied the trend particularly well. The face jewels and cut-up T-shirts brought “Euphoria” to mind.
Must-have item: The dégradé rainbow fringe gown from Halpern was so special and we know it will resonate highly with our client who wants a unique piece guaranteed to “wow.”
Best presentation: 16Arlington was deeply emotional and highly personal. The runway was full of shimmering sequins, 90s minimalism, and translucent fabrics welcoming back the return of nightlife dressing. Marco Capaldo gave a beautiful and powerful tribute to his late codesigner, Kikka Cavenati, which left showgoers — who rose from their seats in a standing ovation after the finale — clearly moved.
Runway at Emilia Wickstead fall 2022 on Feb. 21 in London.
Courtesy of Emilia Wickstead
Sharon Dagan, manager, fashion office, Bergdorf Goodman
Favorite collections: Erdem’s collection of beautifully tamed and moody glamour with sleek, embellished slipdresses and dark floral motifs. Richard Quinn’s couture-like craftsmanship and exaggerated proportions paired with his signature bright floral patterns made for a jaw-dropping show. Simone Rocha’s style of youthful punk royalty was a true highlight, where sweet and edgy coexist in her special type of dark romance. Harris Reed — this newbie on the block blasted his way through the old guard with a surreal collection that is sure to build a cult following. Our radar brands, Ahluwalia and Conner Ives, continue to solidify themselves on the London scene and global stage.
Top trends: Volume, turned all the way up; exaggerated proportions; creative layering; sultry glam; modern tailoring; fancy headgear.
Must-have item: Extreme volumes and proportions.
Best presentation: Richard Quinn’s collection embodied all the theatrics and melodrama that we have come to expect from London. An orchestra accompanying a full choir and a singer belting out Olivia Rodrigo’s “Traitor” seemed to strike a chord with everyone in the audience.
Budgets up/down or flat: We are definitely buying with confidence and optimism.
General comments: Pandemic or non-pandemic, the London designers’ juices were overflowing. Many drew inspiration from eras or places outside of their borders and the experience was creatively uplifting.
Backstage at Halpern fall 2022 on Feb. 19.
Francisco Gomez de Villaboa for WWD
Lisa Aiken, senior vice president, fashion and lifestyle director, Neiman Marcus
Favorite collections: A few standout collections from the week include Erdem’s polished yet undone dark romance, Halpern’s bold and bright evening and Simone Rocha’s incredible artistry. Nensi Dojaka has really honed her point of view, which feels very relevant right now. She found the right balance with commercial appeal, which as a retailer is of interest.
Top trends: London is a hotbed of talent. The way in which the London-based designers focus on prints and colors is done in a way that doesn’t exist in any other city. The color palette was highly saturated across the board with an emphasis on oversize florals and acid brights. On the other hand, we also saw brands like Erdem and Simone Rocha present a very dark, romantic glamour, which we believe will resonate.
Must-have item: A Nensi Dojaka cutout dress.
Talent scouting: It is fantastic that Central Saint Martins had more of a platform during fashion week this season. While they’ve always had a presence, it was nice to see them gain a lot more exposure from afar.
Budgets up/down or flat: We’re always looking for newness to add to our portfolio. We also love that the British Fashion Council also supports presenting British brands in Milan and Paris.
General comments: London Fashion Week is known for curating a lively week of shows, particularly for emerging talent. We look forward to seeing these designers in the showrooms.