The top shows from fashion week

While New York was a muted affair, British brands embraced colour and everyday decadence in a big way

L ONDON FASHION Week is a third of a century old and this season: it showed. There was a maturity and a sense of optimism, both in the way the clothes were presented and in the collections themselves. And, while some of the outfits might seem daunting on the runway, many of the pieces could easily be paired with wardrobe staples. Here is the inside track on our four favourite shows.

Ford, who usually shows in a private, intimate presentation, placed his catwalk in the aristocratic splendour of Lancaster House, which was once part of St James’s palace. It was a fitting background for his collection, which included embroidered Chinese-inspired coats and graphic prints on floor sweeping gowns; bold, block coloured fur jackets and leopard printed bombers. The message was clear: the clinical, austere spirit that has permeated collections in all four fashion capitals since the onset of the recession is over. Next winter is all about embracing luxurious fabrics, colour and decoration.

This optimistic aesthetic was also apparent at Mulberry, albeit in a conservative way. The label’s fantastical sensibility gave way to something more grown up; more accessible and daytime-appropriate. Talking after the show, designer Emma Hill explained she wanted to focus on “new luxe”, which translated into a, brooding tone. While the colour palette was black with the odd flash of white, Hill went to town with quality textiles and dynamic prints. Oversized checks appeared on wool coats, dresses came in rich-toned winter florals and the range also included thick, textured fabrics, especially on outerwear. Even the label’s iconic Bayswater bag wasn’t exempt from the image overhaul. Its new incarnation, called the “Suffolk”, comes with added hardware and framing, which lends itself to a more sophisticated look. This will no doubt result in a higher price tag than its predecessor. With bags still forming the lion share of the brand’s revenue and older women continuing to be amongst their most important customers, the change seems like a logical next step.

A willingness to embrace a new everyday glamour was apparent at L’Wren Scott’s collection. The American, who is the long-term partner of Rolling Stones star Mick Jagger, staged her first London show in the grand hall of Westminster’s Institute of Civil Engineers. Gold was everywhere, particularly adorning the white everyday coats that opened the show. It worked best when woven into sophisticated tweed skirt suits, ideal for making a statement in the office. Embellishment also appeared on knitwear, which served as one of the more manageable ways to incorporate the trend into your every day wardrobe next season. The plush jacquards and brocade tailored jackets are a good way to embrace it too.

Bailey had already moved away from minimalism last season with the bright coloured neons he showed for spring, but for winter the colour palette is more traditional, with many of the looks coming in oxblood, which is shaping up to be a key colour. The new take on the brand’s crown jewel, the trench coat, came with rubberised sleeves and storm flaps, while metal hardware appeared on the belt, epaulets and collars. Rubber also featured on pencil skirts, along with leopard and zebra prints and thick stripes – proof that Bailey isn’t afraid to take a risk.