Like Rodarte and Proenza Schouler in New York, lots London designers experimented with custom-made fabrics. Erdem envisioned a mad artist's wife, shredding her husband's canvases to pieces and making them part of herself. Each dress had patches of tweed, silk, sequins--you name it. Both House of Holland and Christopher Kane took little old ladies as their point of departure: Henry Holland used custom Scottish tweeds, while Christopher Kane deployed some sinister crochet and...those weird poofy stickers with liquid in them that change color when you touch them. Kane wanted to use a textile that no had ever used before. The results are mixed, but one thing's for sure--no fast fashion house will be able to copy any of these designers.
Lately, Brit designers have been much more adventurous than their American peers when it comes to prints. Last season, Mary Katrantzou surprised and delighted the fashion world by presenting dresses printed with interior photographs. This season, Katrantzou decided to show the "woman in the room," and all of the objects she owns--precious Ming vases, Faberge eggs, jewels. Jonathan Saunders was inspired by the early 30s photographer Paul Outerbridge, who experimented with color photography techniques. Both designers presented a woman so consumed by collecting that she becomes an objet d'art herself.
London Fashion Week may not directly impact American design, but it gives us a preview of what to watch out for at H&M and Topshop: black, white, red, mustard, plum, and navy, as can be seen at Antonio Berardi and Matthew Williamson, and fur, as amply demonstrated by Giles Deacon. Oh, and crazy ladies. Lots and lots of crazy ladies.