London Fashion Week takes us to the French Riviera and a kitsch woodland on day three

·6 min read
 (Rixo)
(Rixo)

A sunny yet crisp Saturday set the mood for showgoers on the third day of London Fashion Week. With the heatwave seeming far behind us all of a sudden, the fash-pack descended on the day’s venues in boots and coats, lending the spring summer 2023 looks presented an added air of aspiration. Especially Eudon Choi’s south of France-inspired catwalk, in his signature colour block, and SS Daley's theatrical homage to Peter Rabbit.

Day two had been one mixed with reflection and optimism. It featured some somber moments to honour Queen Elizabeth II, such as the minute’s silence at Bora Aksu. It also uplifting, though, due to the buzz of outfits designed for care-free hedonism after a promisingly lockdown-free year. Mark Fast brought the party with a 1980s rave revival, and Edward Crutchley and KNWLS served up club-worthy looks.

The sad news foreshadowed day three as well, through an omission from the schedule: 17 September had been scheduled to include the Burberry show, but the house announced its cancellation the previous week as “a mark of respect” to the Queen. Instead, we will have to wait to see Christopher Bailey’s collection at a rescheduled date, along with those planned to take place on Monday, the day of the funeral.

However, many designers had decided to take heed of the British Fashion Council’s advice that shows could continue with respect for “the mood of the nation”, so the first on our schedule was Eudon Choi.

Eudon Choi (Eudon Choi)
Eudon Choi (Eudon Choi)

In the unexpectedly airy feeling space hidden behind a central London record shop, Eudon Choi took his attendees globe trotting. Wanderlust was a thread of his shows during covid times, and he continued it for spring summer 2023 with a trip to the French Riviera. The show was sweetly titled Baiser Sale (Salty Kiss), celebrating love.

There was definitely an air of romance to the carefree looks, like broderie anglaise ponchos, rouched bodycon dresses, sailor collared shirts, and in the accessories: headscarves and a crochet bonnet. As is Choi’s magic, the looks balanced wearability with beauty. There was a sense of lightness to the garments, thanks to clever details such as cutouts on the back seams of shirts, pleated epauletes on the shoulders of another, and flowing tassels hanging from the shoulders of a dress, which the designer says was to help them “dance in the sea breeze”.

Many of the items were designed to be genderless. Beachwear from the 1930s and traditional menswear-inspired oversized blazers in pleasing pops of ocean blue, as well as tangerine palazzo pants and Breton striped shirts. Pleasingly, the summer line also featured an illustrative print in a nod to French artist Jean Cocteau. All in all, the collection was exactly the kind of summer fling we can get on board with.

Next it was onto another favourite for wearable occasion wear: Rixo. Founders Henrietta Rix and Orlagh McCloskey started the label eight years ago, and its success has been unprecedented. As well as a legion of wedding guests, the likes of Margot Robbie and Sandra Bullock have worn the pair’s dresses. In spite of the adverse effects of the pandemic for fashion, they’ve been able to expand into other categories in the past few years: coats, nightwear and bridal, and last week they announced they were extending their size range to six to 24.

Rixo (Rixo)
Rixo (Rixo)

So for spring summer 2023, the dresses and separates debuted at the lofty The Hop Exchange in London Bridge were seen in the full spectrum of sizes by models of all ages and body types. The show was named postcards from Goa, with sparkling sea creature, tiles and bold florals featuring.

Proving how party-perfect the new line is, the cast presented it by dancing on a raised stage like no one was watching to classics from Prince and Luther Vandross.

As well as their much-loved high slits and plunging necklines, the new range included a halter neckline with cutouts that was reminiscent of the Kendall Jenner bikini hack everyone on Instagram has jumped on this summer. Plus, there were styles for the more modest, like a matching midi and button-up shirt. No doubt the eclectic range of looks will allow Rixo to attract even more new fans next year.

The day continued with SS Daley, marking the Liverpudlian’s first show since he won the illustrious LVMH prize in June 2022 – and it’s safe to say he didn’t disappoint. The environmentally conscious menswear designer is renowned for his theatrical showcases, regularly casting dancers as models who often perform routines in theme with the aesthetics of his collection.

Staged in the palatial St Pancras Renaissance Hotel in King’s Cross, this season’s show began as many others have: with a tribute to the Queen. As the lights went down, seven models walked the runway, which surrounded a patch of grass, in black-and-white tailored outfits holding a candle while a gong played out on the speakers.

However, the mood was quickly lifted as a playful orchestral tune blared out and the first looks made their way down the runway. The clothes themselves were an eclectic mix: white suits, striped dressing gowns, wide-legged corduroy trousers, slogan jumpers, and linen two-pieces. Some models carried tote bags filled with fresh flowers, while others held teddy bears, or baskets of eggs.

Over time, a Peter Rabbit theme emerged – the bunny ears gave it away, as did the whiskers that had been painted onto some of the models’ faces. But this became clear when the models stopped mid-show and began reciting passages from Beatrix Potter’s books before gently dancing around one another.

The highlight, though, was the casting. SS Daley is one of the few designers so far this season to include models of all shapes and sizes in his show. It’s a refreshing change from the token plus-size casting we often see at LFW. Long may it continue.

There was a palpable sense of excitement before Newgen designer Feben’s collection kicked off. In a short time, she’s already become an industry favourite and counts Beyoncé as a fan. Bow down.

Perking up a tired crowd of show-goers, a soundtrack mashing up Zebra Katz with the Yeah Yeah Yeahs started the show. The collection was equally eclectic with micro-minis, bralettes and butt-flashing beaded fringe dresses appearing alongside high-neck ruffled blouses and white shirt dress maxis.

The designer’s signature bobble dresses cut in ruched bias cut were renewed in mustard with beaded fringe, floral prints and black for spring summer 2023. Sheer bodycon styles, meanwhile, were printed with newspaper prints and religious imagery with a twist: Adam and Eve in horns adorned one.

The finale walk was met with whoops of support from the crowds, making it clear there’s plenty of eagerness to learn what Feben’s next move will be.