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Bubble Skirts, Mutton Sleeves, And Other Highlights From London Fashion Week Fall 2020

LONDON, ENGLANDFEBRUARY 17: Bella Hadid walks the runway during the finale at the Burberry show … [+] during London Fashion Week February 2020 on February 17, 2020 in London, England. (Photo by John Phillips/BFC/Getty Images for BFC)

Getty Images for BFC

Of all the cities on the designated fashion week calendar—which include New York, Paris, Milan, and London—it is the latter that lodges the most creative talents. And for the Fall 2020 season, three labels in particular drove this point home, presenting collections that, simply put, wowed. 

Richard Quinn

In just two years, Richard Quinn has achieved more than other designers who have been in the industry for decades. Then again, having the Queen of England seated at your second show, the first time the monarch had ever attended a fashion week event, can bring about an overwhelming surge of attention. Some might buckle under the pressure, but Quinn, with his Fall 2020 collection, proved that he is not a flash in the pan. 

He’s remained consistent, offering up short, floral-printed dresses with voluminous shoulders and bubble skirts, and larger-than-life gowns that rival those found in Gentileschi paintings. Quinn is making it known that he’s an eveningwear designer—one of the best working today. He is reinforcing his aesthetic, making sure that the industry and, most importantly, consumers are aware of what sets his brand apart from the rest. 

LONDON, ENGLANDFEBRUARY 15: A model walks the runway at the Richard Quinn Ready to Wear … [+] Fall/Winter 2020-2021 fashion show during London Fashion Week on February 15, 2020 in London, England. (Photo by SAVIKO/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images)

Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images

Burberry

Riccardo Tisci has gelled nicely into his role as the creative director of Burberry. Indeed, his output as the head designer at Givenchy was so prolific that helming England’s best-known brand, one that has such a distinguishable aesthetic, could have been a disastrous affair akin to Raf Simons at Calvin Klein. But, as evidenced with the fall 2020 collection, he has avoided this pitfall, presenting looks that honor Burberry’s heritage while also leaving infusing his own streetwise sensibilities.   

This sentiment was most visible in Tisci’s interpretation of Burberry’s iconic trench coats, which were cast in sandy hues that featured dune-like dyes and exaggerated portrait collars. He also played with plaid, giving some pieces a grunge vibe and others a preppy one. All appeared  youthful, elegant, and, even for an Italian native, very British.  

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LONDON, ENGLANDFEBRUARY 17: Models walk the runway during the finale at the Burberry show during … [+] London Fashion Week February 2020 on February 17, 2020 in London, England. (Photo by John Phillips/BFC/Getty Images for BFC)

Getty Images for BFC

JW Anderson

As far as British designers go, few can compete with the ardour that Jonathan Anderson has accrued with industry insiders. He’s done this by consistently presenting collections that push the boundaries of fashion, while simultaneously keeping to prescribed notions of chicness. Take, for example, the larger-than-life coats he showed at his Fall 2020 collection. Under less-than-deft hands, they could have appeared gimmicky, but Anderson kept the colors neutral and fabrics smooth so as not to distract from the silhouette, proving his dexterity. 

He also showcased plush textured gowns with bubble hems, origami-style dresses, and toppers with mutton sleeves, and capelets made of, as he said, “antique celluloid.” As outré as all this may sound, there was elegance that permeated with each look—an aura that, for the guileless, could be kitschy, but for erudites, completely artful.  

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LONDON, ENGLANDFEBRUARY 17: A model walks the runway at the JW Anderson Ready to Wear Fall/Winter … [+] 2020-2021 fashion show during London Fashion Week on February 17, 2020 in London, England. (Photo by Victor VIRGILE/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images)

Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images

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Follow Barry Samaha on Twitter ( @barry_samaha ) and Instagram ( @barrysamaha ).