REPORT By David Hayes Photography by Sean Cunningham
“The inspiration started with something much darker,” said Roksanda Ilincic of the lovely froth of frills that danced through her AW16 collection. “Charlotte Rampling and the movie The Night Porter… Also the wonderful photographer Deborah Turbeville and her incredible haunted pictures of women.”
Haunted? There we are, thinking we’re having a lovely time, and all along there’s been a shadow at the heart of everything we’ve seen. “There is definitely a dark and gothic mood emerging,” says stylist Chloe Beeney. “We saw it in New York at Marc Jacobs, and now it’s here in London.”
Sarah Burton’s dreamy muse at Alexander McQueen certainly had something of the dark arts about her: “She is a night creature inhabiting a charmed and surreal world,” warned the show notes. And Simone Rocha? Her veiled and draped Victorian layers held a whiff of the ‘trauma’ of childbirth, admitted the designer backstage. Even Preen by Thornton Bregazzi’s lovely poet-groupies (right) looked to the gothic romanticism of Art Nouveau, while Erdem’s gorgeous old-Hollywood dresses were imbued with a little faded glamour and a shimmer of melancholy.
The takeaway message? Designers might well be giving us a romantic dress moment, but they’ll be damned if they are handing it over lightly.