London Fashion Week has a reputation for producing raw, avant-garde ideas. And although the pandemic has altered the present spring / summer 2021 season almost beyond recognition, it is reassuring to see that this streak of subversion is still very much alive.
The presentation by Iranian-British designer Paria Farzaneh on Sunday was a case in point. Despite being one of the few shows to happen in front of a (much reduced) live audience, Farzaneh abandoned the runway setting, and instead unveiled her latest collection in a field on Missenden Farm in leafy Amersham, north-west of the British capital.
Models trudged across the field, clad in utilitarian wear and sturdy boots, as firecrackers exploded and coloured smoke drifted across the open space.
Multi-pocketed cargo pants and field jackets were the inspiration behind the entire collection, with practical, zippered pockets scattered across everything from rain coats to midi skirts. Shades of camouflage, lifted with the occasion blast of chartreuse and plum, dominated, shifting through sand, taupe and army green, as cuts stayed loose and comfortable for both men and women.
Waterproof nylon and hardwearing canvas were the fabrics of choice, here cut into high-necked windbreaker jackets, zip-through shirts and waisted midi dresses.
While offering looks for both genders, the clothes themselves were largely gender-less. Instead, they focused on practicality over frivolity, echoing the present state of the world.
Known for folding elements of her Iranian heritage through her work, Fazanheh this time kept things almost Spartan, with only a hint of metallic coinwork appearing wrapped around the laced-up boots.
With models all walking shoulder to shoulder across the field, this show had no ‘finale’ look. But if I had to pick, I would choose one outfit for the traditional bride spot.
In billowing sand-coloured nylon, one huge skirt came sweeping to the floor and adorned with pockets. Worn with a hooded kagoul, this was evening wear for the apocalypse, and although the TV series The Walking Dead is coming to an end, its inspiration on how to dress for the end of days appears to be proving eerily prescient.