London Fashion Week‘s SS18 season is already weighing in as a heavyweight against New York Fashion Week’s decreasing flyweight. NYFW was once the matriarch of Fashion Month, a beacon held aloft for the lesser three to aspire to. Well those days are long gone, since the division of Fashion Month and The Big Four as a whole, New York Fashion Week has become the diluted and less aspirational sister to the European Three, and Vancouver Fashion Week is hot on its heels.
Back to London and we’re on day 2 with John Herrera’s Amanda collection for SS18. Herrera launched his brand just two years ago when he was chosen to participate in the British Council and British Fashion Council’s International Fashion Showcase, keen fashionistas will remember that he went on to win at the London Emerging Designer Awards at Somerset House, showcasing his Agila collection at MBFW in Tokyo. That’s a whirlwind career for a designer who set up his namesake label just two short years ago.
Last season Herrera put together a presentation of looks on the runway for Fashion Scout, his first runway show. This season he’s back and he’s upped the ante with Armada; a 30 piece collection of digitally printed haute couture fashion, designed to turn heads. Building on Agila for FW17, Herrera was inspired by the accidental discovery of the Philippine Islands by the Spanish; Diogo Ribiero’s World Map from 1529 set the pace for Spring Summer 2018’s prints and the linear fabric manipulation techniques. All pretty spectacular when you see it in real life.
Models walked the runway complete with a strong beauty look of whited out faces with burgundy or black lips topped with bag veils fashioned from voile and tied at the neck adding a gothic opulence to the show. Shapes were stronger this season, if Herrera carved out his niche in FW17, he’s closer to perfecting it in SS18. Wing tipped shoulders and cinched in waists were the stalwarts within the collection, with a ruffle frilled Little Red Riding Hood-esque cape that defied these shapes to become the stand out piece in the collection.
The show was fluid and told a story, if you’ve followed Herrera’s career to date you’ll know that he employs women from challenged upbringings and communities and has produced a work ethic that’s unrivalled. He’s a designer who cares about the origins of his collection and how it makes its way on to the runway as final pieces. The Armada collection features a nod to the Spanish monarchy with regal ruff necklines and hourglass body shapes with a touch of fetishism brought in.
Herrera’s second mainline runway show at London Fashion Week definitely upped the drama and proved that he’s more than a presentation designer. With 30 key looks produced in the last six months between seasons, I can’t wait to see what Herrera brings us for FW18 in February.