London Fashion Week Spring/Summer 2011 Round-up

While most of us were still hunting down the perfect aviator jacket or chunky knit for the Autumn/Winter season, more than 80 design houses showcased their Spring/Summer 2011 design offerings at Somerset House for London Fashion Week. In stark contrast to the muted minimalism of New York Fashion Week, London designers injected eccentricity and vibrancy into their collections, confirming London’s status as the most experimental and cutting edge of the global fashion week calendar.

In a bold juxtaposition to the fresh, white palette of New York Fashion Week, colour blocking returned to London with a number of modern, new twists. In a change of direction from simple panels of primary colours, designers such as Jonathan Saunders and Issa opted to use a neutral base colour such as nude or cream with which to contrast acid brights such as lime or yellow. Christopher Kane printed designs on clashing neon coloured separates whilst House of Holland and Roksanda Ilincic used a softer colour palette with pastel shades such as sky blue, silver grey and lilac. Designers such as Emilio de la Morena and Nicole Farhi offered more wearable options with small flashes of colour achieved through panelling.

best of london fashion week

(L-R Jonathan Saunders, Christopher Kane, Emilio De La Morena)

From flared trousers and high-waisted shorts to pleating, fringing and feather details, like New York designers, London also embraced the 70s era. Giles, House of Holland and Topshop Unique showcased skinny bell-bottom flares for a relaxed Spring/Summer 2011 silhouette.  The designers differentiated their offerings with embroidered patchwork embellishment, prints, patterns and skyscraper platforms.

(L-R: Giles, House of Holland, Topshop Unique)

Other 70’s inspirations from pleating to fringing were apparent in the detailing of garments. Mark Fast introduced dark, heavy fringing on to his knitwear dresses whilst Henry Holland used long lengths of neon blue fringing asymmetrically placed on to dresses. Topshop Unique demonstrated the wearability of the trend by placing fringing on accessories such as shoes and bags. Pleats were another key trend, seen everywhere from skirts to sleeves, adding flirty movement and volume to garments. Richard Nichol combined accordion fan pleating with draping to produce elegant floor-length skirts whilst Hannah Marshall used boxy folds to embellish simple dresses.

(L-R: Mark Fast, Topshop Unique, Richard Nichol)

Biker chic is a fashion love affair continuing into the Spring/Summer 2011, the standout piece of the week being the Burberry Prorsum studded leather jacket.  The re-emergence of the biker jacket after a season dominated by the aviator, is a refreshing comeback. Channelling Hells Angels in a collection Christopher Bailey named ‘Heritage Biker’, the designer offered mini leather trenches, leather trousers and coats, all embellished with silver studs and spikes. Springs leather offerings come in a variety of finishes, from python print to patent and even quilted. Acne reinforced the leather trend with patent mini skirts whilst Marios Schwab showcased skin-tight leather trousers.

(L-R: Burberry Prorsum, Acne, Marios Schwab)

Designers placed huge emphasis on the embellishment of their garments adding copious amounts of statement finishing touches to their collections. Metallic yarn was used to add glamour to summer knitwear, giving a chainmail effect. Sass and Bide and Ashley Isham added intricate metallic beading and studded details to various items in their collections whilst Matthew Williamson trimmed tweed in raffia and added twisted knots to bustiers.

(L-R: Sass and Bide, Matthew Williamson, Ashley Isham (image from

London Fashion Week was a showcase of exciting, innovative designs. The designers presented ambitious and adventurous collections, setting high standards for Paris and Milan to follow. London has always been regarded as the most experimental of the fashion weeks due to the emergence of new designers and the confidence and fearlessness of established ones.

(All images courtesy of, unless otherwise stated)

By Lauren Waine

Lauren Waine is a 21 year old third year student studying BSc Fashion and Textile Retailing at The University of Manchester. Lauren is interested in all aspects of fashion, from current trends to the history of design. Lauren plans to move to London next year to study MA Fashion Journalism.

Gabrielle Teare is the best Personal Stylist and best Personal Shopper in London.





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