During the second round of London Fashion Week, designers opted for a darker palette that was more reminiscent of October foliage than May flowers. But as the spring/summer ’12 collections rolled out, a dominant theme emerged for women: suit up for spring!
Although canary yellow and shades of cream dominated many classic collections (as seen in Mulberry and Richard Nicoll), there was plenty of fall nostalgia in the air as well. Christopher Bailey’s collection for Burberry Prorsum most notably fell into this category with an outdoor catwalk that showcased violet and royal blue trench coats, navy and plum mid-calf skirts as well as oversized parkas in mustard and olive green. BFC/Elle Talent Launch pad winner Zoë Jordan, of Irwin and Jordan fame, took it one step further by creating leafy textures out of deep orange and bronzy silks. Elsewhere, Vivienne Westwood opened up with a trio of moody looks: charcoal silk tops, black check skirts and midnight leather.
For the new season, designers approached the female power suit with renewed enthusiasm—think: fewer boundaries and more flair. Inspired by Pierre Soulages’ paintings, John Rocha’s black-and-white collection of gothic headdresses and deconstructed gowns also included a sleek sleeveless double-breasted vest with fluid, wide trousers. Margaret Howell’s lightweight two-piece suit featured sailor pants with minute buttons down each side. The s/s ’12 suit was also taken to shorter and brighter heights. At Fashion East, Maarten van der Horst created short suits in cupcake green, peach and lilac, whereas designers Louise Gray and Peter Jensen opted for vibrant, graphic prints.