nostalgic yet futuristic | london fashion week ss24 roundup

image. Genevieve Leah

Reflecting on the past to shape the future of fashion is something that London Fashion Week (LFW) has always encouraged. This spring/summer season is no different, with brands presenting collections that expertly walk the line between nostalgic and futuristic—something that isn’t easy. Over five hectic days—September 15 to 19—the streets of London were bustling with editors, influencers, and photographers, all eager to witness what designers had to offer. Collections from Mark Fast, Bora Aksu, Eudon Choi, Edeline Lee, Malone Souliers, 8ON8, and Apujan were an exciting look into the London fashion scene and where it’s headed in seasons to come. 

The beauty of the desert is mirrored in Mark Fast’s latest collection, “Dawn to Dusk”. Focusing on the way the desert landscape changes from vibrant mornings to serene evenings, Fast incorporated elements that resembled nature and could be worn in the same environment. Flowy linens and lightweight denim offer versatility, paired with fringe detailing, maxi skirts, and silky scarf tops. Wanting the collection to feel vintage with contemporary elements, Fast works with electric purple, lime green, and an array of neon tones, keeping it modern with muted charcoal and tan. The colour palette represents the desert sky perfectly, as it changes throughout the day. The brand’s signature monogram accessories made their way back onto the runway, joined by new canvas shoes. As Fast explores nature’s beauty, he marries the past with futuristic details.

Going back to his roots, Bora Aksu brought pieces of himself to life with his spring/summer 2024 collection. Taking place in the gardens of Goodenough College in Bloomsbury, the designer dazzled spectators with babydoll silhouettes, layers upon layers of tulle, and handcrafted embroidery. While the collection feels true to Aksu’s previous designs, there was no denying the strong connections to his culture and family. Blanket squares his mother had knitted found themselves alongside intricate crocheting, ruffles of organza, and black embroidered trim. Upon taking a trip home to Turkey, Aksu found inspiration in the Ottoman Empire, including dusty pink and duck egg blue in the more neutral colour palette. Mixing nostalgia with modern elements made the collection feel both incredibly on-brand and surprisingly fresh.

In the gardens of St. Paul’s Church, Covent Garden, Eudon Choi presented his spring/summer 2024 collection, “Chasing Butterflies”. Referencing work by Berthe Morisot, the French 19th-century soft-focus painter, Choi uses a muted colour palette of soft brown, baby blue, and light pink. Structured tan blazers blend into sunshine yellow maxi dresses while ruffles of bright coral are contrasted against crisp black trousers. His expert tailoring shows through with structured double-breasted blazers and pleated trousers but continues to maintain an air of nonchalance. Floral printed flowy button-ups and trousers give the collection a more feminine feel and tie into the theme of nature present throughout the show.

Housed in a glass display in Mayfair, Edeline Lee’s “Future Lady” spring/summer collection caught the attention of LFW attendees and passers-by alike. The presentation captured the essence of a woman who is cool, calm, and collected on the outside but simultaneously busy with thoughts and ideas on the inside. As models draped in fluid fabrics weaved through each other, Fuschia, saffron, and lime-coloured garments danced before the eye alongside navy, ivory, and gold. Powerful strides saw one-shoulder sequined dresses sparkle and floral bodices catch the light. With each look fighting for onlookers’ attention, it was difficult to look away from the marvellously designed collection.

Malone Souliers’ “Ethereal Reverie” collection reimagines Victorian-era dressing through exquisite footwear and bags. From romantic slingbacks with oversized knot details, pointed-toe mules with bows, and pumps with corset-inspired lace-up ribbons—not to mention crystal mesh knee-high boots—the collection oozes opulence. A multicoloured floral canvas, reminiscent of Victorian floriography, appears in both footwear and bags, complementing the bright lilacs, pea greens, and timeless neutrals of the collection. Shoulder bags and clutches are adorned with shiny hardware and crystal-encrusted buckles, which add even more glamour to the collection, successfully reviving the Victorian style in a way that feels contemporary—making it a must-have for fashion enthusiasts.

Focusing on retrofuturism throughout each collection, Li Gong of 8ON8 explores both the past and present, blending them seamlessly. Returning to LFW after the Pandemic, Gong presents “Peak Time Forest”, expanding on rush hour in the city, tranquil forest landscapes, and an unparalleled expression of the daily commute. The city aspect is first brought through with the location of the show, taking place in the heart of Westminster at the newly built Orchard Place. Pinstripes, half-suit linings, silk ties decorated with abstract patterns, and vintage timepieces all nod to businesswear. Sportswear elements, including drawstrings, ASICS runners, legionnaire caps, and water vessels, are combined strategically, building a high-performance, tailored collection. Fine wools dyed in bright pink and blues are striking against black, charcoal, tan, and cream. Gong has discovered a way to infuse nostalgia into a collection that exudes a remarkably futuristic mood.

After a three-year hiatus, designer Apu Jan returned to LFW with his spring/summer 2024 collection titled “The Casebook of Kaiju” for his eponymous brand, Apujan. Inspired by monsters and their impact before their arrival, the collection depicts the fear and anticipation of society. As the looks entered the runway, it was easy to follow the story, with monster symbolism, ‘investigators’ wearing protective clothing and uniforms, and newspaper prints strewn over jackets. Fine-knit garments, evening gowns with mesh cutouts, and printed matching sets are introduced in soft pink, golden yellow, and sky blue. Other details included models holding newspapers and puzzle pieces painted onto models’ faces. Set at Somerset House with music from DJ so lonely, the runway show conveyed a tale of uncertainty and the unknown.

Despite London Fashion Week coming to a close, the avant-garde collections that graced the runway will undoubtedly leave a lasting impression on fashion both locally and globally. 

words. Amber Louise
images. Iker Aldama (Mark Fast), Genevieve Leah (Bora Aksu + Eudon Choi), Eva K. Salvi (Edeline Lee), Rowben Lantion (Malone Souliers), Maja Smiejkowska @ Chris Yates Media (8ON8), + Chris Yates @ Chris Yates Media (Apujan)

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