It’s an annual tradition that London Fashion Week opens every February with the newest of the new—the bang-fizz of The Central Saint Martins’s M.A. graduation show. These are the people who are destined to shape the fashion world—not least because they are talents gathered from everywhere. The class of 2017 has students from China, Taiwan, Bulgaria, Slovenia, Gibraltar, and the United States as well as Britain. This is just normal in London, a city that has built its reputation as a creative capital on the strength of talents from all over: all backgrounds, all nationalities. In the face of Brexit, and its possible future curb on immigration, London has its Muslim mayor Sadiq Khan, the city’s elected representative, who stands up for the vitality of diversity and interfaith harmony every day with his social media campaign from City Hall, #Londonisopen. In his words: “We don’t simply tolerate each other’s differences, we celebrate them. Many people from all over the globe live and work here, contributing to every aspect of life in our city.”
Nowhere will that be better demonstrated than in what’s to come in London Fashion Week. In defiance of dark times, its youth and multicultural camaraderie is about to roll out the welcome mat. Expect to see it coming from all directions, in kaleidoscopic variety. On the Central Saint Martins’s runway, there’s Gabriella Sardena’s wildly decorative glam-femme collection to look forward to, for example (she’s the one from Gibraltar). Day one, there’s also the opening of The International Fashion Showcase at Somerset House, where emerging designers from 26 countries, including Ukraine, Russia, Khazakhstan, India, Romania, Czech Republic, Egypt, and Guatemala, will put forward their viewpoints on the theme “Local and Global.”
Stand back for a blast from New York, too. Michael Halpern, one of the latest Central Saint Martins M.A. graduates (class of 2016) will unleash his first multi-sequined disco-fabulous collection in a presentation that is being aided and abetted with volunteer help from Patti Wilson and Sam McKnight, held at a posh venue laid on for free in the heart of St James on Saturday.
Fighting gloom with glitter is a London thing. Ashish Gupta, born in India, longtime London trailblazer for LGBTQ rights, is the king of that. Given last September, when he took his bow in a T-shirt emblazoned IMMIGRANT, admirers will surely be packing his Ashish show to the rafters. These times demand a standing up for pride in identity. Osman Yousefzada, more quietly creative, with his strong art-world following, will be coming out with a statement about his British-Asian roots: “Before, we were rarities, trophies and exotics from distant lands…some of us fleeing famine, war, or persecution,” he writes. “We were thought of as good labourers, businessmen and women—hungry, reliable and eager to succeed…and then some wanted to close the doors. Today, I bring you colour, opulence, texture, tailoring, a modern woman in different hues who isn’t scared to stand out and have fun, and embrace the beauty and difference around her.”
London is open to more newcomers. The Ports 1961 women’s show has relocated here from Milan this season. It’s actually a homecoming of a sort: This collection, placed on a woman-friendly lifestyle-centric wavelength somewhere on the continuum between The Row and Céline, has in fact been designed by the Slovenian-born Natasa Cagalj (also a CSM M.A. alumna) from a studio in London’s Farringdon all along. Two more “returners” to the schedule are Hussein Chalayan and Roland Mouret, long rooted in London since the ’90s, who are repatriating their shows from Paris.
It’s a whole London creative community picture, in fact—one that makes a complete commercial nonsense on every level of the “Little Britain” xenophobia of the send-them-home faction in U.K. politics. Cohesion and creativity, the welcome and support given to the newest, from everywhere—that’s the flag that flies over London Fashion Week. Scotland, Ireland, Greece, Austria, America, Serbia, Canada, Syria, India, Germany, Pakistan, Nigeria, Turkey, Ghana, New Zealand, Portugal—come one, come all, says fashion. There’ll be protest and prettiness, resistance and humor—that’s a given this week. Here’s glitter in your eye!Read more at:http://www.marieaustralia.com/formal-dresses | www.marieaustralia.com/red-carpet-celebrity-dresses