It was a dreary Monday on day four of LFW, but not even the British weather could cast a shadow over Paul Costelloe’s AW18 presentation. Hosted at the beautiful Waldorf Hilton hotel, a harem of whimsically dressed admirers flocked to the building in anticipation of the Irish-turned-American’s latest fashion wizardry.
In a show made of dreams (and my favourite of the whole weekend), Costelloe told the story of his quest to abandon Irish heritage in search of ‘a new identity’. His stunning fusion of traditional British, Irish and retro American garments floated down the catwalk in a tightly choreographed show featuring both men and womenswear. Full-length coats, slick tailoring, long dresses and plenty of tweed were at the heart of the aesthetic. Colours were Autumnal and the ultimate designs were adorned with beautiful geometric and floral patterns.
The show turned into a joyful celebration of Costelloe’s artistry, sponsored by the authentic mid-western sounds of country music. The models were dancing and the crowd enjoyed sipping drinks from adorable bespoke Paul Costelloe cups. Overall, this show was undeniably my cup of tea, and I am already excited to see what this exciting designer conjures up next season.
Next up on my schedule was Dilara Findikoglu, a seriously determined young talent who hasn’t taken her foot off the gas since graduating from Central Saint Martins a few years ago. With support from FKA twigs and Adwoa Aboah, this designer is no stranger to the spotlight. Her work is known for being controversial and risky, so I was particularly intrigued to find out what message she wanted to scream at us this season.
Based at the Banking Hall in the heart of London’s business district, I was delighted to be welcomed by a (somewhat cryptic) description of the show concept. The Dilaratopia Manifesto revealed a hint of what the world will become if we keep rallying our feminist mission. Capitalising on one of 2018’s most trending topics, she boldly talks about ‘escaping a world of Trumps and Weinsteins, here our lives belong to us, and us only.’ Am I about to see a glimpse of the future? Now I’m interested…
Then descended the models from a grand staircase, embellished with layers of contrasting fabrics, alien-like headpieces and an array of royal colours. They all reminded me of those VIP characters in The Hunger Games. A sort of Sci-fi, Gothic, Cosplay. Some pieces felt more fantastical than others, but that really added to the variety of the narrative and allowed the audience time to breathe. Certainly not a Ready To Wear collection, this was more like carefully crafted theatre.
Finally, I darted across to the Topshop Showspace in Covent Garden for the reveal of Nicopanda’s hotly awaited AW18 collection. Known for being on the pulse of innovation, Nicola Formichetti’s playful brand often collaborates with other artistic visionaries. This season, Nicopanda has teamed up with legendary Hip Hop and Electronic record label, Tommy Boy, to create a ‘90’s Seattle grunge rock and East Coast hip-hop glamour’ vibe.
The music was enough to gear me up for an all night rave, and then out came the clothes. Every piece oozed confidence. Festooned with vibrant colours, bold patterns and oversized 90s style accessories… what was not to like? My personal highlight was the Lady Gaga lookalike who undoubtedly owned the runway in a hot pink, asymmetric bandeau dress with matching headpiece. The whole show was like a candy shop for the eyes, leaving me utterly addicted and desperate for more!
WORDS BY JODANNA BIRD | @JODANNABIRD
(Paul Costelloe Images) JAMIE WATERS | PHOTOGRAPHER | @JAMIE_A_WATERS
(All Other Images) AMY SMITH | PHOTOGRAPHER | @AMYSMITHPHOTOS