25 "Proper Girl Gone Bad" London Fashion Week Looks

by Sabrina Newman • Feb 27, 2008 3:16 PM PST
25 "Proper Girl Gone Bad" London Fashion Week Looks

London Fashion Week is known for attention-grabbing, high-drama, statement-making collections. This season was no exception and it was clear the designers showing in London were intent on getting noticed. Some explored new territories, concepts, and themes while others drew upon old concepts, reformulating them and pushing their creative thresholds. Amanda Wakeley and Luella were moody, dark, and a bit sinister, while others like Eley Kishimoto, Erdem and House of Holland were whimsical and fun.

Some updated the old, like Richard Nicoll, who gave classic shapes and cuts a sexy makeover, while Basso & Brooke and Giles created outrageous collections that set a new standard for pushing it to the max. Dark palettes ruled supreme, but some like Mulberry and Aquascutum weren't afraid to keep the bold color trend going, upping the drama and quirkiness factors along the way.

There was an undeniable 50s punk movement throughout, but other decades made appearances as well: the 70s at Issa and Jaeger London; the early 90s at Topshop Unique. Some collections like Biba and Christopher Kane strayed far from their roots, while others like Luella and the massively anticipated Vivienne Westwood Red Label, drew upon staple styles but took them further by upping the edgy, sexy, and London street-chic quotients.

While seemingly all over the map, the connective tissue linking there collections was a "proper-girl-gone-bad" vibe. The most prominent component of this theme was the S&M, vixen vibe enforced by items borrowed from the boudoir: updated interpretations of the corset (I LOVED the super sexy corset/pencil skirt pairings at Westwood, it really modernized punk bad-girl spirit so strongly associated with the label), bondage-like big black belts, sheer fabric; skin tight leather pants; super form-fitting body conscious silhouettes; sky high hem-lines; and an overall essence of the sexually empowered woman who makes no excuses and has no apologies.

To offset this heavy bondage feel, a lot of designers incorporated feminine touches: sequins to add some glitz and glamor, ruffles which softened the sometimes harsh looks, touches of lace, hand-stitched embellishments, fringed hemlines, and pretty bows for a new kind of femininity that was anything but girly. Just as we saw in the New York shows, most of these collections paired disparate elements such as clashing colors, contrasting fabrics, varied shapes and cuts, for a crop of fresh new styles rooted in the unique and unexpected.

Other key trends include: high volume tops, heavy tweeds, layers of chiffon, super mini dresses, crazy tights, tuxedo-inspiration, extreme tailoring, quilting and padding.

(Image from left to right: Luella, Vivienne Westwood Red Label, Topshop Unique)

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