Whether they’re steering the creative course of brands in New York or in Europe, the influence of London-educated design talent is undeniable. Maybe it’s something in the murky water of the Thames? Though undoubtedly rich in history, Londoners lack the tired tendency to rest on their laurels that plagues their neighbors across the English Channel. This is the city that gave birth to the Punk movement after all, where eccentricity is prized and the work of rebels a la Vivienne Westwood and Alexander McQueen can peacefully coexist alongside the dyed-in-the-wool traditionalists of Savile Row. Rest assured, there are plenty of new stars on the rise:
Leave it to Central Saint Martins grad Faustine Steinmetz to brilliantly rethink an American classic. For the last few seasons, Steinmetz has gained a cult following thanks to her artistic devotion to denim. Working with esteemed mills in her native France, Steinmetz applies couture-level techniques to the workwear staple. She often presents her collections in makeshift galleries rather than runways: the better to appreciate details such as carefully applied indigo strands that upon first glance look more like delicate ostrich feathers.
Buzzy Natasha Zinko took one of the more tried tropes of her native Ukraine, the floral scarf, but instead of knotting it around models’ heads, Zinko fashioned the colorful silks into flattering handkerchief hem dresses and kimono-style jackets. Prim, if not for the fact that the looks were tempered by stiff, camouflage separates and clunky, knee-high workboots.
At the opposite end of the spectrum sat perennial favorite Emilia Wickstead, whose ability to avoid the royal dressmaker label and become a red carpet favorite with her demure frocks, is noteworthy. Spring revealed a more adventurous side to Wickstead, with several gauzy (read transparent) numbers among the chintzy florals and structured, below-the-knee dresses. Anyone that can simultaneously outfit the Duchess of Cambridge and Alexa Chung deserves a pat on the back.