The best of London Fashion Week

The best of London Fashion Week

Some 104 shows and presentations, 5,000 buyers and journalists, 1,250 bottles of champagne (those were just those at official parties) two major sets of roadworks (did you forget it was fashion week, Boris?), 400,000 tweets, 399,000 of them about Kate Moss’s double-denim outfit – this was the season London Fashion Week staked its claim as a player.

British designers may still lack the financial clout of Milan: where Prada for one, has just announced glowing results. But if they’re cash poor, they’re ideas rich. Where once London could be relied on to field three or four temperature-raising moments, now there are probably 15 or 20 shows worthy of attention. We’ve edited these down to 10:

Erdem 4/5

Erdem’s focus is on his beloved florals, which he retools season after season. The botanicals this time round were exquisitely pretty: buds of cornflower-blue, lemon and poppy-red dotted, off-the-shoulder dresses, chiffon skirts and shifts. Instantly desirable, they explain why he has fans like the Duchess of Cambridge, who wore a lacy frock of his in Canada. One white lace dress practically screamed: “Buy me now, Kate!” Having a signature look can breed predictability, the death of any designer. Taking strides to “move his work forward”, he gave us floral hot pants. Well, he had to hit a bum note some time, didn’t he? (PL)

Clements Ribeiro 4/5

Clements Ribeiro hit the ground running with a tightly edited collection of wantable, wearable clothes. If that sounds tame, somehow it wasn’t. The new craze in town is clashing patterns, and these two are masters at that game. Calling on antique Indian toile de joys and a smattering of monochrome harlequin diamonds, they played a chic hand: slim-cut, loose-fitting silk printed trousers with matching sleeveless tops, or simply worn with fabulous cashmere twinsets, in shades of salmon, bilberry and raspberry. (LA)

Antonio Berardi 4/5

Berardi’s oeuvre is high-wattage frocks, the kind that make his leading ladies – Gwyneth Paltrow, Beyoncé et al – sizzle on the red carpet. There was plenty here to keep them happy: a strapless, flowing gown in scarlet; a sequins-heavy one in black; and another with plastic, wipe-clean panels. Maybe not. The real stars were his tailored pieces. A burgundy jacket paired with fluid, colour-blocked trousers had that cool loucheness. Ditto the white version, but it could be costly to maintain. Perhaps the wipe-clean panels should be relocated. (PL)

Christopher Kane 4/5

To create his “ghost fabric”, an iridescent metallic floral that crackled with light and movement, Christopher Kane layered four materials including an organza made almost entirely of aluminium. Mixed up with semi-transparent dresses patched with flower stickers, washed-out pastel satins that seemed even more washed-out against one electrifyingly blue version, low-armed sleeveless cricket jumpers and flat sandals encrusted with jewel-like beads, this was a show that dripped with verve. (LL)

Jonathan Saunders 4/5

How do we love this collection? Let us count the ways: First, those zinging colour combos – canteloupe and lime, forget-me-not blue and yellow, mint and lilac. Second, the below – the-knee skirt, be it narrow or bouffant. He makes it look romantic, modern and youthful. Third, the subtle paisley prints. Fourth, his brocade jackets – they look cool; we can already see them with a pair of jeans. Finally, his waffle-textured jumpers. Wear with a toning silk skirt and you’ve got a modern suit. (LA)

Richard Nicoll 2.5/5

Basing a collection on old Simplicity sewing patterns for girls’ nighties from the Sixties risky – the potential for ickiness is off the Richter scale. Pink or powder-blue chiffon hooped skirts with baby-dolls’ smock tops? Since when was kitting yourself out for a sleepover a realistic path to being taken seriously? Once Nicoll began subverting his theme, things looked up. A pastel tunic in patent looks more decadent. And what about putting it with a neoprene micro-mini and transparent ankle boots? Black-and-white floral capris made the craze for patterned trousers look chic. (LA)

Pringle of Scotland 3/5

After reviews of his first menswear collection in June, expectations were low for Alistair Carr’s debut at Pringle’s womenswear. Amazingly, he confounded the doubters. Knits were the star, from Carr’s 8-bit trompe l’oeil vision of a V-neck, to his hand intarsia technique that made light work of chunky herringbone. Twinsets were present too, fastened at the back for summer. There were also silk dresses patchworked together with twinset buttons and slick tailoring revealing contrasting flashes of colour. (BW)

Paul Smith 3/5

Apparently, finding flattering trouser makes string theory seem laughably simple. Well, if all of those fashionistas took a good look at this Paul Smith Women collection then – snap! – problem solved. For Sir Paul and his team know more about tailoring than any other womenswear designers. While some find his menswear references too predictably, well, masculine – there were wide-brimmed trilbies plus punchily coloured man-jackets and crisp, white shirts. For Paul Smith, women trousers are the holy grail. (LL)

Marios Schwab 4/5

This show saw the British Fashion Council’s main stage packed to Health and Safety standards’ breaking point. Yet even editors forced to sit on the floor agreed Schwab’s was a collection to remember. He used meshed material – as chunkily perforated as a tennis net or as finely punctured as gauze – as a vehicle to display the contours of the body. Deceptively simply cut dresses with cinched-in waists and at-the-knee hems, in white, black, flesh tones and pink, made the woman inside them the star. Shadows cast by the outer gauze on the under-dresses were mesmerising. (LL)

Osman 3.5/5

It takes courage to stick with minimalism when all around are embracing maximalism. But there was nothing stark about Osman’s pared back aesthetic. Powder-pink crêpe dresses with big, sculptural bows and cobalt-blue silk and leather strapless tops, worn with perfect, slim, black trousers (a chic alternative to the LBD), proved drama doesn’t have to be loud. Some in the audience wanted more smoke and mirrors, but if you like clothes that flatter he’s your man. (LA)