Polish Meets Promise At Emilia Wickstead, JW Anderson And Conner Ives

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The Runway Rundown: LFW Day ThreeHENRY NICHOLLS - Getty Images

On the third day of London Fashion Week, designers Emilia Wickstead, JW Anderson and Conner Ives found a rhythm to celebrate the everyday, reworking classic wardrobe items with an alternative, exaggerated attitude to add fresh intrigue for autumn/winter 2024.

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Here's everything to know the Sunday shows of London Fashion Week.

The Influences

‘This season, I looked at the collection through the lens of photography, specifically street style photography in mid-century New York during the late 1960s and 1970s,’ said Emilia Wickstead of her collection. ‘I was looking at the black and white street photography of Gary Winogrand, who captured native New Yorkers in public spaces during the time. His photographs have such vibrancy and such a sense of candid character to them – you feel the rich tapestry of New York and its many characters, which inspired me to think about designing for characters, or groups — I like to call them “girl gangs” — of women who come together to form an eccentric, melting pot of colourful style.’

When thinking of how this idea could then be rerouted to focus on a singular woman for the season, Wickstead said that her AW24 woman has a: ‘rebellious, handsome, metropolitan essence.’ Find her in the mix where Wickstead’s signature polish comes rephrased with a grungier, edgier mood, underscored by a touch of the tomboy in execution. ‘Our woman is owning her environment with extreme confidence this season,’ she added.

It's worth noting the influence of her new collaborator, too. So much has it been the talk of the week that it was mentioned on the BBC News, as Wickstead called upon Harry Lambert to style the show for the first time, delivering up his off-kilter signature — best known for dressing Harry Styles and Emma Corrin — here in the addition of a more boyish factors than before now.


In his autumn/winter 2024 collection for his eponymous label, Anderson riffed on the quotidian, calling upon familiar pieces which now come rephrased in avant garde proportions that speak to his usual design hand. Everything came laced with a British sensibility, but not the Cool Britannia kind that often finds its way onto the runway, instead the, dare we say. 'normal' characters that we see on old-school sitcoms or simply around the cul-de-sac. 'Instead of nostalgia, colloquialism,' read the show notes, speaking to how the collection looked at the everyday, rather than yesterday.

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In a pre-show preview, Ives explained that his collection is titled The Swans, a reference familiar to most of late after Ryan Murphy's telling of Truman Capote and the high-society women that swarmed him. Ives has his own. 'It's an homage to the women who have supported me since I started making clothes: Adwoa Aboah wearing my first year Central Saint Martins white show project to the Met Gala when I was 21, Tish Weinstock commissioning me for her wedding dress and Alex Consani is the eternal Conner Ives muse,' he said. 'All of these women have left such a mark on my life. I hate using the word muse, but there’s not many other explanations for the relationship that develops there. This is my love letter to my girls, my swans.'

The Clothes

'We are forever inventing a new wardrobe for our woman; I don’t want her to stay still and it’s important that she feels intrigued by our vision,' Wickstead shared. While on first thought the brand might call on an idea of florals and all-things A-line, here was a pivot to a journey towards a new sartorial space. (Though there were some fantastic options for those looking for them, some even styled with a leather belt further down at the hip.) This came through especially in soft tailoring, inspired by Teddy girls, who now wear their Grenson loafers with brocade coats or natty floral dresses with fluffy hats. Florals weren't abandoned altogether, they now came in 3D protruding from evening gowns and miniskirts, which were then juxtaposed with splay-collared shirts and knits.

Palette was a key communicator of this new mood, where pairings were unexpected with sober brown and pewter grey, meeting Kodachrome hues of mustard, candy pink and electrifying lime green.

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'I always say that simplicity and ease can make a garment or a look, and this is central to my design philosophy,' said Wickstead. 'I’ve stayed true to these values as designer. Whilst there will always be a strong sense of femininity to my work, I’d like to think we offer something for all women, from all walks of life, for all occasions. I want women to fall in love with the world we create.'

Though the influences were commonplace, it would be impossible to credit Anderson for creating a collection that too heavily relied on banality that it would then become boring. Far from that idea were his exaggerated knit jumper dresses that supersized a plain stitch, or those more wearable knit moments that will sure be a must-have for the editors compiling their next-season wardrobes, here styled with baggy shorts falling above the knee in a silhouette intentionally labelled as dowdy. The most compelling — and comical — piece might just be however the wigs, or were they hats? Think Shirley Temple aged, where you could almost smell the perm solution from the front row.

Far from the familiar, sheer pastel dresses floated the catwalk, prized for one of the Bright Young Things sat front row to try on for size. Or, perhaps the May-pole like belts that saw ribbons fall from waistbands filled with floral brocades.

Ives' signature of reworking pre-loved pieces and rakish eveningwear proved to be a welcome, unchanged formula once again, here offering up a total wardrobe from hoodies, to denim, coats to particularly fab party dresses at the opener.

As ever with Ives, who clearly has a talent that could sit outside of the constraints he often sets himself, he has a conscience that knows what it means to create with both purpose and an awareness in 2024, The Swans hinted more than once at his design ability to take things to the next level. For those of us who have long-loved Ives' work, it's a pleasure and a privilege to see him work at his own pace, growing, building, evolving with every season.

The Sets

Wickstead set the mood early on by choosing to show her collection in the pitch-black setting of a Covent Garden basement. Though the lights soon went up as catwalk exits began, there was still a stark, defiantly minimalist mood that felt new and forthright for the designer.

By contrast, the fledgling sunlight of a drizzly February day lit the sports hall setting of JW Anderson's show. It felt apt, considering the collection's 'grotesque everydayness'. Is Anderson so mighty powerful he can even command his show-day weather? Most likely.

Ives debuted his collection for the first time in a setting away from NewGen's hub. Setting the bar high, guests filed into the ballroom of The Savoy, which felt particularly buzzy considering the show's shared date with the BAFTAs and the hotel being packed with A-listers. 'What I’m most excited about currently is the scale of this show,' Ives told ELLE UK. 'I was insistent this season on doing a show I used to dream of. It's an honour to be showing in The Lancaster Ballroom at The Savoy, which is crazy really.' It was a fitting place for Ives' clothes that riffed on the debutantes that once would have danced there, equally giving his jersey pieces an elevated context.

london, england february 18 a model walks the runway during the conner ives ready to wear fallwinter 2024 2025 fashion show as part of the london fashion week on february 18, 2024 in london, england photo by victor virgilegamma rapho via getty images
Victor Virgile

The Front Row

Wickstead attracted a typically glossy crowd to her 10am show. There was recent front-row favourite and Gossip Girl actor Kelly Rutherford dressed in black and white florals, sat alongside Katherine Waterston, Morfydd Clark (who later wore a dress by the designer to the BAFTAs) and Janicza Bravo, all of which gave their own spin on Wickstead's polish.

Next to JW Anderson, which competes as London's most well-attended show. Here was the likes of Barbie actor Hari Nef, Charli XCX, Alexa Chung, Asa Butterfield, Honey Dijon dressed in full looks. Though it was Cat Burns, Kai-Isaiah Jamal and Richie Shazam that seemed to be having the most fun.

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Ives, though at the precipice of his career compared to Anderson, has quickly assembled a Conner Crew, though many were missing from the front row. The reason? They were cast in the show instead. Tish Weinstock, Ella Richards, Kai-Isaiah Jamal and Stevie Sims traversed the catwalk with Ives giving clear direction to bring back the fabulous, personality-lead walks of yesteryear to the ballroom floor.

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