Burberry Yellow, Dark Elegance and the Rise of New Talent: Buyers Declare London Alive Again

LONDON — London Fashion Week has changed the beat of its steps. Many designers this season took a dark turn and more serious tone on the runway: 16Arlington ushered in dusky elegance, S.S. Daley clashed the feminine and masculine, Chet Lo presented an almost all-black collection and Daniel Lee’s highly anticipated Burberry show offered blankets and hot water bottles as they turned the lights off.

The collections left a strong reaction, with a majority of designers displaying a positive attitude and using the fall 2023 season as a therapy session to vent.

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Here, retailers from Europe and the U.S. talk about key trends, their favorite collections and fashion moments.

Simon Longland, director of Buying – Fashion at Harrods

Favorite collection: To close an exciting week of great showcases, Daniel Lee’s debut collection for Burberry made a powerful statement of his vision for the brand and interpretation of modern Britishness, and it was great to see a bolder, richer color palette coming through and adapting seamlessly to the brand’s iconic codes. With another debut, Tove’s first London Fashion Week show had an air of quiet, sophisticated glamour. The collection was full of lust-worthy and wearable pieces. The brand really encapsulated a complete wardrobe for the modern woman.

RELATED: Every look from Burberry’s fall 2023 collection

As expected, Erdem and Roksanda were both stunning shows, Erdem displayed a collection steeped in historical references from silhouettes to fabrications, techniques and treatments — a collection bursting with truly wearable pieces, and Roksanda reminded us of her prowess as an exceptional colorist. The palette was just beautiful, from pops of fuchsia and red to cobalt and duck egg blues and saffron yellow. The draping was dramatic and thoroughly effective — a key element to the collection that our customers will love.

Best show format: Burberry was a standout; the vast tent erected in Kennington Park with the new tartan cushions, blankets and hot water bottles on the seats, the ultimate cozy setting — not to mention the mugs of hot toddies which were a perfect touch.

Top trends: Alongside a lot of black and crisp, winter white, pink, yellow ad green dominated the collections across the week and brought brightness to almost every collection. As a departure from the ultra-minis we have seen in previous seasons, lengths have been long. From skirts and dresses to outerwear and coats, floor-skimming silhouettes are the go-to for next season.

Flares have been everywhere, where we have seen ultra-wide legs in seasons past, flares most certainly have taken the top position as the trouser to wear next season.

Sequins, sequins, sequins, and more sequins! From 16Arlington and Huishan Zhang’s iconic fabrications to Emilia Wickstead’s sophisticated oversized embellishment — sequins have proved they’re not just for the evening.

Silhouettes and styles felt couture-inspired across the week, with a new air of volumized skirting and intricate detailing that brought a wholly elevated vibe to the week.

Must-have item(s): Burberry’s new, oversize trenchcoats featuring a faux fur collar was a strong take on the house’s icon, also the biker boots which were the standout footwear of the show — both items I expect to be on many wishlists next season.

Impressions of the week: Elegant, chic, sophisticated and refined are the four words that come to mind in a review of the weekend. Elevation was key to London Fashion Week, and overall, the collections were more refined and more luxurious than ever. Within the considered collections, we saw a huge amount of textural, rich fabrications, and a lot of event and evening dressing, but also super sophisticated options for the day too.

16Arlington RTW Fall 2023
16Arlington RTW Fall 2023

Libby Page, market director at Net-a-porter

Favorite collection: Personally, I was thrilled to see Tove’s first runway collection, which firmly put them on the map as an elevated wardrobing brand with a difference, for smart, chic and intelligent women. I loved the elevated outerwear, slinky feminine dresses and their signature use of pleats.

Best show format: Whilst there were some beautiful venues; Sadler’s Wells for the Erdem show, JW Anderson’s Michael Clark collaboration at the Roundhouse, and 16Arlington’s literal take on chocolate brown with a coffee granule floor. We think there is room for the traditional show format to grow and evolve into a new era that centers around the customer shopping the collections.

Top trends: The ’90s is the biggest mood we’ve seen dominate so far, followed closely by gothic and punk undertones, which came through in London with Burberry, Simone [Rocha] and Erdem.

Must-have item(s): Eveningwear has a new mood. We love the new streamlined silhouette of the turtleneck dress for the evening.

New talent: We are always on the lookout for new design talent for inclusion within Net-a-porter’s Vanguard program, our mentorship and business-support initiative for womenswear designers that places special emphasis on highlighting the creativity and promise of the next generation of fashion talent. We love to see the new season collections from our alumni designers including Conner Ives, and also our Vanguard Education Fund mentors for this year including Priya Ahluwalia.

RELATED: Ahluwalia Unveils Inaugural Shoe Collection, Ugg Collaboration at London Fashion Week Show

Impressions of the week: London felt like it was back in full swing and bursting with creativity and new ideas. Firmly establishing itself as the hub for emerging designers.

Tiffany Hsu, vice president of womenswear and kidswear fashion buying at Mytheresa

Favorite collections: Burberry was one of the clear favorites. Seeing the brand’s heritage mixed in with Daniel Lee’s innovative design approach and his strong use of color was really exciting. Other brands to highlight are Nensi Dojaka and Simone Rocha.

Best show format: Well, of course JW Anderson’s show in The Roundhouse in collaboration with Michael Clark featuring that giant billboard graphic really stood out.

Top trends: We saw a lot of deconstructed and reconstructed looks as well as body-con silhouettes and mixed media in terms of patterns.

Must-have item(s): Burberry’s yellow trenchcoat and fluffy hiking boots are high on the list.

New talent: New names on our radar are Paolo Carzana, Mowalola and S.S. Daley.

Backstage at JW Anderson RTW Fall 2023
Backstage at JW Anderson RTW Fall 2023

Rickie De Sole, women’s fashion director at Nordstrom

Impressions of the week: There was an added excitement for London this season driven by the anticipation of Daniel Lee’s debut collection at Burberry and the strength of London players like Simone Rocha and Erdem, who continue to inspire our customers season after season.

Favorite collections: JW Anderson showed a strong collection of modern clothes for women on the go. We love the notion of looking back to move forward. Revisiting familiar silhouettes in new fabrications.

This season Simone Rocha showed a beautiful collection that harnessed a deep and meaningful romance with her Irish heritage and the feeling of seasons changing. Simone Rocha has a masterful knack for tapping nostalgic spirit but with a modern approach. The show was an emotive experience bolstered by a live Irish folk band and its dramatic Westminster setting.

We were also excited by Ahluwalia’s bright and joyful color pops and Erdem’s Victorian narrative and dreamy dresses.

RELATED: Simone Rocha RTW Fall 2023

Best show format: The moody setting at Burberry — checked blankets and hot water bottles set a very British tone.

The Moncler Genius spectacular was a monumental event that drew thousands to experience their collaborations with Rick Owens, Adidas, Palm Angels and more. From a Boiler Room foam party to a vertical wall of models under pulsing strobe lights, Moncler went all out.

Labrum’s evening runway show set up at Brixton Market Row was bursting with the energy of live West African music.

Top trends: We’re continuing to see a return to cleaner silhouettes; sparkle and shine; body-con evening dresses; green and red accent colors; defined waists; romantic eyelets and lace detailing; long skirts are a key item for fall.

Must-have item(s): The perfect leather pants from JW Anderson.

New talent: Mowalola’s ode to New York — we particularly loved the MoWA T-shirts.

Backstage at Burberry RTW Fall 2023
Backstage at Burberry RTW Fall 2023

Joseph Tang, fashion director at Holt Renfrew

Favorite collection: Simone Rocha’s dreamy and demure collection featured strong, statement outerwear pieces and technically, intricate dresses. It was a standout for the week.

Daniel Lee’s debut collection for Burberry was an homage to the heritage of the house, signaling the mark of a new chapter for the brand. The iconic codes of the house were showcased in a new and modern way.

Top trends: Stealth sophistication continues to be a key trend this season with designers focusing on streamlined and minimal silhouettes paired with luxurious accessories made in rich fabrications and colors. Emilia Wickstead’s tailoring and the sleek sexiness of 16Arlington portrayed this the best.

There was a feeling of exploration and a return to the outdoors with an emphasis on classic British outerwear done in technical gabardine styled back to rubber boots and the return of the wallabee. This was best seen at Burberry and JW Anderson.

Body-con and slinky, sexy stretch dresses and tailoring were seen best from Nensi Dojaka and JW Anderson.

Must-have item(s): JW Anderson Bumper bag, Burberry heritage check knit, Simone Rocha leather jacket and Moncler collaboration piece from the Genius collection.

New talent: Sir Ian McKellen opening S.S. Daley was a highlight of the week and it was great to see the development and growth of the collection.

Impressions of the week: It was an energizing season in London. We were curious to see how designers would venture into a more conservative year for fashion. The week had us all on the edge of our seats awaiting Daniel Lee’s debut collection for Burberry.

Overall, we are impressed with the talent coming out of London and thrilled to feel the excitement around the city once again. You could really feel the designers focusing in on the cultural zeitgeist of the London fashion scene — a season not to be forgotten.

S.S Daley RTW Fall 2023
S.S. Daley RTW Fall 2023

Liane Wiggins, head of womenswear at Matchesfashion

Favorite collection: Simone Rocha, S.S. Daley and Christopher Kane.

Best show format: Simone Rocha at the Central Hall Westminster — it is such a beautiful, grand building but the show and collection had a total serenity about it. The music from the Irish band Lankum was incredible and felt so grounded in Simone’s heritage and the brand’s roots. The collection was large and the developments in shape, fabrication, texture and accessories were an impressive body of work.

S.S. Daley’s show at Here at Outernet was brilliant. Sir Ian McKellen gave a dramatic reading of the poem “The Coming of Arthur” by Alfred Lord Tennyson, which set the scene and the development of the collection. The ticking stripe, long skirts with cotton knit sweaters, and the sailor-sea-themed tailoring as well as the signature tie vest were all well-developed and elevated.

Top trends: Overall we saw a clever wearability to a lot of the collections, empowering clothes for women but nothing that feels too dressed up or ostentatious. Christopher Kane’s collection perfectly spoke to this trend — a strong, wearable collection without feeling overtly sexy. The latex peplum bustle pencil skirt with the slightly oversize cashmere cardigan was one of my favorite looks.

New talent: Yuhan Wang, who joined our Innovators Programme this season, uses delicate lace and fabrics but deconstructs them in a clever way where they feel modern and new for a younger customer — we are super excited about the fall 2023 collection. Johanna Parv, who will be launching soon on Matchesfashion, showed as part of Fashion East and is an amazing, modern ready-to-wear brand for an active lifestyle.

Impressions of the week: Brilliant product coming through but focused on wearable day options in interesting fabrications like S.S. Daley’s stripe jacket look. Designers are continuing to think about elevated wearability and the way the customer is moving to invest in strong daywear with strong points of interest. Plus, special investment pieces still coming through from Erdem, Simone Rocha and Christopher Kane — and great accessories development from Simone Rocha.

Backstage at Nensi Dojaka RTW Fall 2023
Backstage at Nensi Dojaka RTW Fall 2023

Roopal Patel, senior vice president, fashion director at Saks

Impressions of the week: London Fashion Week was abuzz with anticipation of Daniel Lee’s debut collection for Burberry. We’ve seen a shift from the minimal and clean collections shown at New York Fashion Week to glamour and grand opulence, with Simone Rocha, Erdem and JW Anderson delivering standout collections.

Favorite collection: Daniel Lee’s debut collection for Burberry embraced the traditional codes of the house, revamping favorites like the classic Burberry plaid in high-definition colors. The iconic trench layered with cozy water bottles, riding boots and shearling accessories brought a mix of apres-ski meets club kid meets heritage. Lee truly has his finger on the pulse of the global Burberry customer.

Simone Rocha was simply incredible. The vision and aesthetic for her customers keep evolving as she does. The scale and proportion of the tulle dresses with raffia inset in the hem were truly unique, as were the full raffia dresses that ended the show. The embroidered tulle, textured bouclé, leather pieces, and the introduction of menswear made for a standout collection.

Erdem showcased a romantic, dreamy collection with dusty and dark palettes of lilac, marigold, black and abstract wallpaper prints. Inspired by his Bloomsbury home and the story of the women that came seeking refuge in it, it was powerful and poetic.

JW Anderson’s collaboration with Michael Clark in celebration of the brand’s 15-year anniversary was a true tribute to Jonathan Anderson’s legacy. The show was full of iconic pieces and felt like a mix of his greatest collections with a modern twist, proving that his vision and pieces are timeless.

Nensi Dojaka presented a sultry, sexy, sheer lineup in a darker palette than in previous seasons. The barely there nude piece adorned in crystals and the flaming red gown are destined for red-carpet appearances.

Best show format: JW Anderson’s collaboration with Michael Clark caught everyone’s attention with some of the cheeky graphics of the week.

Top trends: It was an opulent, romantic and glamorous week on the London runways. There was a focus on evening dressing with sparkle and shine, plays on volume and proportion, lots of black from sheer to tailored to dramatic evening looks, opera coats, sequin and tulle, ruffles, tiers and layers, wallpaper prints, and volume skirts and dresses.

Must-have item(s): The iconic trench and plaid look from Burberry.

New talent: Tove, an insider’s favorite, had a super chic London Fashion Week runway debut full of the fall essentials our customers are looking for.

Linda Fargo, senior vice president of fashion at Bergdorf Goodman

Impressions of the week: Although the new Burberry was a strong magnet in getting more people to London this season, it didn’t overshadow the numerous and inspiring homegrown collections which continue to make London a must-experience. The once New Guard here have steadfastly evolved and matured, already hitting their 10- to 15-year marks now, and are clearly cementing their place in the fashion continuum with their masterful and independent vision as seen in their fall ’23 collections. It all conspired to leave us an overall impression of idiosyncratic sophistication in London.

Favorite collection: JW Anderson, treated us to a “best of” look back to look forward, marking a hard-to-believe it’s already 15 years of celebration and convincingly balancing art and commerce. Simone Rocha pulled us willingly into her highly unique world with rich references and a solidly growing men’s counterpart. Erdem was gorgeous and rich with historical references while still being modern and desirable. Nensi Dojaka is a rising talent with her engineered lingerie-inspired dressing. Richard Quinn remains highly anticipated and never disappoints with his incredible couture-inspired bouquet of a collection.

Best show format: We were treated to Sir Ian McKellen walking the runway and reading a moody sea-faring excerpt in the virtual water immersion set at S.S. Daley. We also loved the transporting ambiance of the striking red-carpeted Central Hall Westminster accompanied by live Celtic music courtesy of Simone Rocha.

Top trends: Longer leaner silhouettes as volumes seem to be coming down. Gender blur, which we believe is not a trend but more of a shift. Body celebration and transparency. Couture influences. Softened tailoring as essential wardrobe pieces. Black on black dressing, the pop of red.

Must-have item(s): Maxi coats, long clingy knit dresses, convo starting evening coats, convertible cape sleeves, the shipwreck hemlines at JW, statement shearling and fun faux.

New talent: The electricity of anticipation in the smoky air at Burberry.

Moncler presentation
Moncler presentation

Bosse Myhr, director of menswear and womenswear at Selfridges

Impressions of the week: Moncler, the Genius set-up was so impressive. But more so, London Fashion Week is always a creative hub for fostering emerging designers, which always stands out to me and the buying team at Selfridges.

Favorite collection: JW Anderson’s collaboration with Michael Clerk was one of the highlights and The Central Saint Martin show, which was held in the Newgen space at the old Selfridges Hotel. It is always great to see the new generation of creative talent in London. Nensi Dojaka was a perfect version of the aesthetic that she has been working on for the past few seasons and is one that the Selfridges customers love.

Best show format: The Burberry show was a beautifully set up location, the warm water bottles and blankets included were the perfect touch along with the addition of smoky scent added to set the scene.

Top trends: Yellow, which we very much like at Selfridges, was present in all shows. Dressing up rather than simplifying outfits was another stand-out that I observed in all collections.

Must-have item(s): A dress from Nensi Dojaka or David Koma and pieces from JW Anderson’s collaboration with Michael Clark.

New talent: Paolo Carzana is one designer we are watching very closely, as we see it working well for the Selfridges customer.

Simone Rocha RTW Fall 2023
Simone Rocha RTW Fall 2023

Jodi Kahn, vice president of luxury fashion at Neiman Marcus

Impressions of the week: London Fashion Week always represents a sense of creative freedom and self-expression — even for a heritage brand like Burberry, with the anticipation around a new creative director’s vision being palpable. Entering the worlds of JW Anderson, Erdem and Simone Rocha feel distinctly different; the common thread is their innate ability to establish their creative signatures, language and fan base. The self-referencing at Simone and JW Anderson established their ability to focus on what’s working, and small ways to modernize.

Favorite collections: Not every trip down memory lane is as much fun as Jonathan’s. Loved getting to see iconic pieces reworked and more relevant than ever. The collaboration with Michael Clark to examine their own — and each other’s — added an extra layer of dynamism. Special clothes for every day just feels right.

Simone has masterfully created a world so beautiful, so singular, that both her men’s and women’s collections seem to seamlessly coexist, deftly speaking the same language. Set in Westminster’s cavernous central Methodist Hall, with live music on the center stage, the evolution of her men’s debut is strong, with covetable pieces for all genders, echoing the demands of how young people want to dress. Another designer who chose to self-reference, the reworking of her beloved raffia collection — this time with embellished tulle stuffed with raffia to achieve a beautiful, organic volume — was an absolute work of art. There was lots to love for her fanbase, but delightful newness too: bomber shapes, sleek leather coats and shimmering, gravity-defying gold jacquard.

Erdem subverted his traditional primness by drawing inspiration from within his own home, specifically the age where it served as a women’s “home for hope.” With their rebellious spirit in mind, there were busts of color, strong-shouldered jackets, with beautifully draped taffetas and moody florals. The gowns especially will be sure to wow our customers.

We were looking forward to the highly anticipated first collection from Daniel Lee. It’s always interesting to see how a fresh perspective will reimagine the house codes with lots of hallmarks of British culture; overblown plaids in rich primary colors, wellies and trapper hats. And we will look forward to seeing Daniel’s vision continue to unfold.

Top trends: Red: powerful, passionate, statement-making. As soon as we stepped into the David Koma set, we knew red would continue as a key color from NYFW.

Peplums: as a fixation on the early Aughts continues, this iteration feels more couture in structure than decades past. We loved JW Anderson reimagining this shape with a flounce of feathers.

Pencil skirts: sleek and clean, this tailored shape feels fresh after seasons of the Mini.

Faux: statement-making, extra fluffy outerwear is everywhere. Feels very British here a la Kate Moss in the perfect shaggy coat. David Koma, Tove and 16Arlington all had fabulous options.

Yellow: an unusual color for fall, we really loved the sunny color popping up in accessories at JW Anderson and the beautiful statement dress at Erdem.

New talent: The inclusion of live performance at S.S. Daley has become part of the experience, and this season the audience was treated to Sir Ian McKellen in full sailor outfit reciting a beautiful poem. Inspired by shipwrecks and sailors, his silhouettes become closer to the body, infusing femininity even into the tailoring, which was strong.

A Neiman Marcus favorite for the perfect summer dress, we were thrilled to see Tove’s runway debut at London Fashion Week. Camille and Holly did not disappoint, presenting a full wardrobe of chic offerings: extra long coats, sleek tailoring, jersey gowns and statement faux fur.

Backstage at Erdem RTW Fall 2023
Backstage at Erdem RTW Fall 2023

Marc Rofsky, director of buying, ready-to-wear at Moda Operandi

Favorite collection: As a longtime partner of the brand, we were thrilled and proud to see Tove’s London Fashion Week runway debut which captured the effortlessly elegant and smart sophistication of the brand. Erdem and Nensi Dojaka were also standouts.

Top trends: The most compelling story coming out of London was a resurgence of gothic grandeur — a moody glamour punctuated by rich fabrications and dramatic silhouettes, best seen at Erdem and Simone Rocha. Plays on tuxedo dressing and the “Le Smoking” carried over from New York to David Koma and Erdem.

The more pared-back mood of the season appeared with unexpected restraint when applied to signatures at Nensi Dojaka.

Must-have item(s): Box pleated midi skirts with peek-a-boo embroidered lace slits at 16Arlington, single-button relaxed satin coats at Emilia Wickstead, and the mixed media lace and chiffon denim at Nensi Dojaka.

New talent: It is exciting to see the unique creativity coming out of London from designers like Di Pesta, Standing Ground and Connor Ives.

Ida Petersson, buying director at Browns

Impressions of the week: That electric energy that only London Fashion Week can bring is back. Between the new generation talent and the more established brands, the creativity was palpable and the mood amongst showgoers was buoyant. It was London at its best and when it is like this it’s hard to beat.

Favorite collection: This season it had to be JW Anderson. His walk down memory lane left us positively giddy and with so many items on our wish list.

Best show format: Susan Fang with her dried rose petal runway and the interim rose steam floating from the models wearing the beautiful collection.

Top trends: Chic, pared-back elegance, and head-to-toe tonal looks that we saw at both [Copenhagen Fashion Week] and NYFW, which featured sharp tailoring and long coats. We’ve also seen florals throughout this season and of course the continuation of the sheer trend. For accessories, oversize bags, biker boots and pointed toes dominated the runway.

Must-have item(s): The faux snake print coat at 16Arlington, Burberry’s overblown blue check coat and biker boots as well as JW Anderson’s neon tote and Mowalola’s oversized logo bag.

Budgets up or down: Flat due to the economic climate, where we’re looking to nurture and protect.

New talent: As always Fashion East brings the best of next-generation designers, Standing Ground’s second show was breathtakingly beautiful, Karolina Vitti continues to develop her body-inclusive designs and newbie Johanna Parv delivered strong performance-based looks.

Amelie Nantois, woman fashion buyer at Le Bon Marché

Favorite collections: I loved Roksanda, it was really beautiful and bold! In a completely different atmosphere I also really enjoyed Tove, which was very chic. Finally, Nensi Dojaka for its poetic sexiness.

Best show format: Loved the orchestra and singers at Richard Quinn. It was a real show, very moving.

Top trends: More a continuity than a new trend, we saw more of the Y2K trend that has been coming back for the past seasons: low waist is definitely back, as we saw in every show. More globally, a look back at the past (JW Anderson), at British heritage (Burberry), and its punky roots (everywhere).

Must-have item: Burberry’s hot water bottle.

Budgets up or down: Can’t say specifically for London brands, but budgets are globally up so far.

New talent: Discovered the brand Yuhan Wang, who was shortlisted for the LVMH prize. The show was super strong, a true British punky show.

Launch Gallery: Backstage at Burberry RTW Fall 2023

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