Fashion Week SPACE

SPACE Favorites from London Fashion Week

“A lot of times what I feel when I’m here watching the shows is that I’m so honored to be in the company of these women—women like Simone, Molly, Ashley,” says Olivia, after we duck into a Mexican restaurant out in the East End. It’s the last day of London Fashion Week, and we’re between appointments, so now’s the time to take stock.

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Olivia Kim with buyer Raul Becerra at lunch.

Each season, in every city, there are one or two collections—and a few key pieces and a few key moments—that stand out among the rest. Here are Olivia and Raul’s favorites from London.

Simone Rocha′s Graceful Strength

In a collection titled “The Marching Roses,” Simone Rocha wove poetic sentiment into layered lace dresses, bundled coats and the kinds of shoes and accessories you want with you every day.

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“I continue to be so completely moved by the elegance and meaning in her collections,” says Olivia. “There’s so much elegance, so much thought, and yet there’s this messiness and imperfection in the styling. It makes it feel so real.”

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Simone’s new material is velvet bonded to neoprene; she used it in military-like coats that “you could weather any storm in,” as Olivia puts it. The giant lapels and pockets conveyed both extreme style and intense strength.

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Military, in velvet, in the Simone Rocha showroom.

“She manages to be political and beautiful,” Olivia notes, adding that the older, beautifully gray-haired women (see above) who walked the runway added a sense of safety and reassurance. “They’ve been there, they know the way and they’re still every bit as beautiful because of it,” Olivia says. We know that the mother and the grandmother are powerful symbols for Simone, and the show’s lineup seemed to suggest that today’s women keep on keeping on, that the struggles and victories will add up and pay off.

Marching roses indeed.

Shrimps′ Illustrated Louise

If we had to pick just one coat for all of fall 2017, chances are good we’d settle on the exclusive-to-Nordstrom faux-fur intarsia topper from our favorite faux-fur topper maker, Hannah Weiland of Shrimps. Raul and Olivia worked with Hannah to secure the striped, “illustrated” style earlier this winter, so seeing it at the presentation on Monday was a high-five sort of moment.

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That’s our favorite—and exclusive—pink-and-white-striped Shrimps coat there in the middle. 

The coat, as well as the knit caps you see in the lineup, were inspired by the artist Louise Bourgeois. We’ve documented Simone Rocha’s studious devotion to the French-American artist in the past, and it’s interesting to see how another SPACE designer interprets her illustrations and her iconic presence.

Isa Arfen′s Harlequin Romance

Okay, okay, if we had to pick two coats for the season, we’d also include Isa Arfen’s colorful argyle patchwork style. Designer Serafina Sama seems to always track a quixotic court-jester club girl. She’s theatrical and dramatic, and she likes to stay out very, very late. This fall, in this statement-maker, she’s warm, cozy and impossible to miss.

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Our favorite Isa Arfen coat, in a dream and backstage.

Molly Goddard′s Good Times

“I loved Molly’s show notes and how they fit in with the way the collection was presented,” recalls Olivia. Two gorgeous, lushly laid tables sat in the middle of a grand circle, and after the models took their turn in the parade, they took a seat at the table—and proceeded to enjoy themselves thoroughly.

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This fit perfectly with the ideas Molly expressed in the one-sheet; ideas about nostalgia, and the way we, as children, looked forward to dressing up for parties big and small.

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“Her clothes are so fun—and she doesn’t take herself too seriously with all that smocking and tulle,” says Olivia. “Getting dressed up means something different to everyone, and you saw that at the end of the show; all the models in those different looks, sitting together enjoying the moment.”

Roksanda′s Blue Period

“Roksanda, Christopher Kane, Richard Nicoll—they were all coming up as designers years ago as the London scene was really taking off. And Richard was so sweet; that moment was so poignant,” says Olivia.

She’s referring to the first look, which came out alone for an extra-long moment at the beginning of Roksanda’s show in homage to Richard’s life. He passed away a year ago at age 39. The dress, and a few others, were made in Nicoll Blue, a new official Pantone selection made in the late designer’s honor.

There were many teary eyes, especially in the front row. It was a beautiful moment, not just because it came from Nicoll’s friend, but because it came from a friend who is uniquely gifted and expressive when it comes to color.

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Backstage with Nicoll Blue at Roksanda

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Explore: current season Simone Rocha | Shrimps | Isa Arfen | RoksandaMolly Goddard | all emerging designers

Go where we go, see what we see. Stay up to date with all our Fashion Week coverage and shop curated collections of our favorite designers at Nordstrom’s Fashion Week Central.

—Laura Cassidy