Basso & Brooke, Gareth Pugh Keep London’s Freak Flag Flying

From left, Basso & Brooke, Giles Deacon, Gareth Pugh.Photo: Imaxtree

Lacking the big names of New York, Milan, and Paris, London Fashion Week is always about creativity. Once designers make a name there, they can move on to New York, as Preen and Jonathan Saunders have recently done. But aside from spotting future stars, the fun of the week really lies in the fact that “creativity” is often just another word for “freak show.”

Which is why we felt let down early in the week. Where were the rat wraps? The see-through vinyl shower curtains doubling as dresses? The Mad Max–inspired makeup? Was it possible London had become … respectable? Paul Smith, who last season offered up lesbians in twenties tenniswear, this time sent out perfectly lovely cocktail dresses. Nicole Farhi’s collection of outerwear — cropped jackets and cocooning coats — was … nice.

And then Basso & Brooke came to the rescue on Tuesday, sending Masha Tyelna out with a giant egg on her head. An egg! Our hopes were raised. They elevated further when Gareth Pugh’s ghoulish robots reminiscent of, yes, Mad Max, stormed the catwalk. London was back, we decided.

In between the blah and breathtakingly insane, there has also been the beautiful. Christopher Kane ditched the bright colors of his last collection in favor of a stunning mix of paillettes and sheer panels. Giles Deacon, the man who would be the new king of British fashion, mixed a long, lean silhouette with volume up top. His gowns were the best looks of his collection. And we’re still waiting for Vivienne Westwood, who returns to London later today for the first time in years. —Amina Akhtar

Basso & Brooke, Gareth Pugh Keep London’s Freak Flag Flying