REPORT BY JULIA ROBSON
PHOTOGRAPHY BY CATWALKING.COM

As the final day of LFW dawns, it’s natural to obsess about the many references we’ve seen over the past few days… Stop right there. The days of saying, “It’s about this (Nineties minimalism/sports luxe/Michael Jackson) or that (Seventies disco/Joan Miro/50 Shades of Grey) are over. And that’s not a bad thing, according to Simon Doonan, Creative Ambassador-at-Large at Barneys New York.

“You can see the Nineties if you look, but you can also see futuristic or pattern. The great thing about fashion today is it’s become a huge landscape with a million different voices.”

These “voices” being exactly the reason, besides calling in to see his sister in Lewisham, that Doonan comes to London. ”There’s a different sensibility here that generates ideas.”

“The starting point was Seventies disco,” said Jonathan Saunders post-show. “I was looking at Antonio Lopez’s Polaroids of all these eccentric, inspiring women.” Equally, he added, “It was about SEX! I was channelling Michelle Pfeiffer in Scarface.”

A day after the Philip Treacy show, US ELLE’s style director, Kate Lanphear, was rocking a vintage 1980s T-shirt of the King of Pop/androgyny, Michael Jackson.

Stylist, Miranda Almond believed Topshop Unique felt “very mid-Nineties Calvin”. And Mark Fast admitted to being inspired by Foxy Brown and hip-hop.

“It’s all about the customer,” says Doonan. “It’s all about the customer finding something they like and the designers offering them a choice.” Whether a collection was inspired by a Spanish artist or a wacky textile is irrelevant. This might be an uncomfortable concept for ‘us’ [the press] to grasp, but it’s no longer about us telling people what to buy – it’s about designers creating exciting collections, layered with subtle and subliminal references that will engage the shopper.

“This is why if you go into H&M or Barneys, you can find everything – there is increasing variety. The ball is now in the court of the consumer. If you don’t offer choice, the customer will go elsewhere,” Doonan continues. And as we all know, even more so in hard times such as these, the customer is always right.

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