Individuality and Escapism Reigned Supreme on London Fashion Week SS20 Runways

Burberry, JW Anderson, and Richard Quinn were among our buyers’ faves

New York Fashion Week set the stage for a sartorially buoyant spring 2020, and London Fashion Week picked up where it left off. Designers sought to combat the gloom of current events with collections that created excitement and a sense of escapism. There were also nods to feminism from Victoria Beckham among others, celebrations of the environment from Christopher Kane, and a celebration of individuality across the board. Prior to London Fashion Week, we consulted the buyers from our partner boutiques in Italy to find out which shows capitavated their interest. Each named a number of designers, but Burberry, JW Anderson, and Richard Quinn were on everyone’s list. It’s no coincidence that the same three designers also seemed to end up on most editors’ lists of top London Fashion Week SS20 presentations. Here’s why: 

Burberry looked back to its founder’s roots

Previously, we pondered how creative director Riccardo Tisci would marry Burberry’s heritage iconography with the youthful spirit for which he is known. To start, he looked at Thomas Burberry’s Victorian roots and referenced them in the form of white lace, ruffles, rounded sleeves, and corset details. Then he applied his expert tailoring to jersey suits and added long fringe to shirt cuffs, dress hems, and hand-sketched animal print scarves, with crystal embellishments throughout. The result? New takes on the classic trench, long mesh dresses that twinkle in the light, and sophisticated suits and separates that work for both the office or an elegant outing. Tisci created a collection that bridges the generation gap— there really is something for everyone. The scarves, with and without fringe, will surely be a hit, as will the dresses. Also, keep an eye out for the ruffled lace shirts and blouses with draped, rounded sleeves.

Shop luxury streetwear, classic trench coats, and accessories featuring Burberry’s heritage check at italist.

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Luxury JW Anderson asked how we perceive thing gift ideas that spark glee

We also wondered whether JW Anderson’s spring 2020 collection would continue his penchant for playing with paradoxes, while infusing his clothes with a sense of elegant ease. As it turns out, he did just that, taking cues from conceptual artist Liz Magor, and noting that with this collection he wanted to “explore the idea of how we perceive things.” His beautifully draped long dresses with uneven hemlines were accented by tubular crystal-encrusted belts and figure eight necklaces. His pants were cut wide and cinched at the ankle by sandal straps. Sweaters and bags featured fringe created by long strings of yarn, and sweater dresses bore tassels made from tufts of yarn. There were trenches, too—double-breasted with wide sleeves and exaggerated lapels. And then there was the bag. Slung over models’ shoulders or across their bodies, it comprised three small, fringed bucket bags affixed to a wide strap.

Richard Quinn created a fantasy garden

The power of flowers has never been lost on Richard Quinn; no matter the season, he always finds a way to make them groundbreaking. For spring 2020, they were splashed onto dramatically poufy mini dresses, flared tea-length dresses, and flowing capes and maxi dresses. Polka dots also joined the mix in the collection, as did a cartoonish leopard print and feather accents. In addition, Quinn added bridalwear to his collection for the first time, introduced by a parade of flower girls dressed in pastel roses with feather headpieces. His intent this go-round was simply “to transport people, to create fantasy and escapism so it’s almost like a dream.” Show attendees seemed to agree that he was successful. While much of the collection skewed more editorial than everyday, the body-skimming mermaid dresses and caped jumpsuits will likely be popular on red carpets. And the pink cross-front gown, one of two solid pieces in the lineup, is totally gala-friendly. 

Shop fun, lively florals by Richard Quinn at

Get a headstart on your London Fashion Week SS20 look

The maximalism, exuberance, and celebratory mood of London Fashion week gave way to a few key trends, among them: feather trim and dramatic sleeves. But you don’t have to wait until spring to incorporate them into your wardrobe. For feathers, try separates by P.A.R.O.S.H., sweatshirts by Valentino, or dresses by Gianluca Capannolo. If dramatic sleeves are more your style, Isabel Marant, Ganni, and Nanushka have some amazing options. They’re all available on italist.

Be sure to check out our runway wrap-up of New York Fashion Week SS20, including our buyers’ faves Tom Ford, Ulla Johnson, and Zimmermann.

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By: Nafeesa Saboor

Nafeesa is the founder and editor of Shoes N Booze, a blog that pairs shoes with cocktails and provides shoe and cocktail-related tips, trend information, and reviews. Her writing has also been published in The Source Magazine, xoJane, Sisters from AARP and other publications.