London Fashion Week is never one to shy away from the bold and the beautiful or the eclectic and the experimental. Just look at its street fashion, which is a show and art form in itself. But with orders of around £100m placed during the week's five fashion fuelled days and the shows watched not only by the trend purveying style elite on the front row, but online to 190 countries around the world, what really matters is on the catwalk itself.
And this season, London's designers embraced the bold and beautiful through eclectic and experimental prints, patterns, colours and fabrics all inspired by the retro years, most notably the sixties and seventies. The eighties are also set to make a comeback next season. Designers including JW Anderson, Topshop Unique and Michael van der Ham all dabbled in the decade of excess with slouchy boots, thick black tights and velvet mini dresses all re-surfacing for 2015.
Burberry harked back to the folk fuelled and free spirited seventies, paying homage to luxe bohemian beauty. Christopher Bailey showcased swirling vibrant florals, a medley of animal prints, patchwork over the knee boots (as worn by Cara Delevingne front row) and fringed capes and coats. While suede and shearling were key fabrics, yes a suede coat is next season's must have piece of outerwear, bold patchwork and floral prints stole the show. Issa also joined the seventies brigade under the leadership of new Creative Director Jamie O'Hare with bold prints, fringing, animal print and the ubiquitous seventies staple, the jumpsuit.
Matthew Williamson is no stranger to a dash of bohemia himself, and he too let his print do the talking, with bold, beautiful floral maxi dresses, while high neck silk blouses and cozy and bright shearling jackets added to the seventies theme. Preen kept up with the seventies vibe with statement checkerboard shearling coats and floaty dresses, but it was his fabulous colourful florals – silk blooms all hand stitched and emblazoned across dresses, A-line skirts and tunics that gave this collection its edge.
Mulberry took a stroll down the artisan road too this season, but proved prints and colours needn't always be bold and colourful, but can be equally as impressive if understated and subdued. We saw muted folksy prints, subtle patchwork checked coats, soft shearling and dreamy pastels. And we cannot mention Mulberry without noting their bag of next season, which has to be the fluffy pink 'Roxette'. Paul Smith also went more under the radar with his prints, choosing sumptuous fabrics over statement colours and designs, with plaid and check prints but in subtle shades and muted tones.
Brocade saw a rebirth too across London. Erdem showcased gorgeous brocade dresses as part of his colourful and print heavy collection, and rising stars Marques ' Almeida also sent some unique and colourful contemporary brocade creations down their catwalk. Mary Katrantzou and Simone Rocha also gave traditional brocade a modern day twist.
Jonathan Saunders was certainly not afraid to play with colour and print this season with his op-art prints colourfully clashing together and culminating in a medley of riotous retro wonder. Henry Holland also took a walk on the bold side of style, with go faster stripes and chevrons, colourful dogtooth and check prints making their way down the catwalk, or conveyor belt should we say. Yes the outlandish designer had a conveyor belt for a runway.
Over at Roksanda, colour and texture were the key players, with the designer clashing and swirling autumnal forest rusts and burgundies with acid pinks and blues. The chubby furs, tweed and silk knits and dress coats were all awash with autumn brights at their finest.
The message couldn't have been clearer from London's leg of fashion month: colour, print and pattern take on a cool retro revival for the coming season. But there was one other prevailing thread (pardon the pun) running through the London collections - the polo neck, with many designers showcasing a high neck in some variety, shape or form. So taking your fashion cue from London, hang on to your polo necks or invest in anything with a high neck, layer over a tunic or team with some flares and make sure you invest in all things bold and bright and go heavy on the print.
READ MORE: New York Fashion Week: Review
Fashion Week has now moved on to Milan, you can watch all the shows streamed live: click here for more details.