London Fashion Week: Katie Ann McGuigan is a rising Irish design star
Sharon Wauchob, Roksanda Ilincic, Molly Goddard and Richard Quinn also shine
Katie Ann McGuigan: the designer from Newry is a rising star at LFW. Photograph: Isabel Infantes/PA
Sustainability was a recurring theme at London Fashion Week’s spring-summer 2020 collections, including in the work of the up-and-coming Irish star Katie Ann McGuigan, who showed today for her second season. The London-based designer, who is from Newry, in Co Down, took as her starting point the roller discos of the 1970s and the photography of Bill Yates.
“I like to look at things that are out of my environment,” says McGuigan, whose previous collections drew from subcultures at home and abroad. She used a chequerboard motif throughout, whether in leather, knit or crepe de chine, a textural mix all handcrafted in her small studio. She paired leather with organza and denim for a trio of pieces with a modern streetwear look that encompassed hoodies, tracksuit bottoms and dresses. All materials are sourced, printed and made locally, “because it is important to support other creatives and small businesses”, she says.
Another London-based Irish designer, Sharon Wauchob (who used to be based in Paris), displayed a very beautiful collection of ultrafeminine hand-dyed silks embellished with feathers crafted by small-scale English manufacturers and traditional makers, as were her tailored coats in updated classic, sharp silhouettes.
Elsewhere, both Roksanda Ilincic and Molly Goddard sent out memorable collections for spring; Ilincic’s long, elegant, stately offerings drifted along in both sunny and sober colours. Goddard, on the other hand, knows how to make killer tulle – literally... She was a little-known London designer until she shot to fame this year when her sugar-pink tulle dress was worn by Villanelle, the femme fatale played by Jodie Comer in the BBC hit Killing Eve. At the Seymour Leisure Centre, in Marylebone, her frothy tiers of daffodil-yellow and cobalt-tulle were the stuff of fantasy and an exuberant and joyful expression of femininity.
It was left to the designer Richard Quinn, talented son of an Irish scaffolder, to close London Fashion Week on a spectacular note. His collection, shown at a sports hall near his base in Peckham, featured the world-class Philharmonia Orchestra and Bach Choir to present a powerful dream world of fashion and escapism “from the nightmare of reality” to prove what can be achieved locally.
He pumped up volumes, enlarging and blurring prints and pushing what he terms a new “sexy-chic glamour”. There was huge applause at the end, but did the choice of music – Mozart’s Dies Irae – hint at a darker premonition of what’s to come?