LFW AW20: 16Arlington

INSPIRED by the intricate work of the late Ren Hang, 16Arlington‘s AW20 collection emphasised power, beauty and diversity with regard to the female form. Nodding acutely to the annual celebration of romance, the luxury British brand welcomed each of its guests into the warmly lit venue with a crimson coloured rose, while encouraging them “to give love, to welcome love and to share love”.

Renowned for sexually explicit imagery intertwined with complex connotations of delicacy and sensuality, the collection toyed heavily on Hang’s native China and its representations of sexuality within a censored society. Elaborate knots composed of supple black leather alluded to the twisted atrocity of the natural world, while a carmine coloured dress cut out to seductively reveal the models bra teased Hang’s combined concepts of modesty and seduction.

Actor and writer Lena Dunham made her catwalk debut at London Fashion Week, strutting with grace down the runway in a daring creation comprising a one-sleeved leather top half with a black skirt embroidered with gilded florals and finished with a striking red hem. A vocal campaigner for body positivity, Dunham notably embodies all of the qualities the cult label stands for, such as spirit, vitality and intelligence.

The oversized signature collar reappeared for AW20, alongside boxy ensembles of sharply tailored shirts and sleek trench coats with exaggerated sleeves to highlight the evolution of the modern 16Arlington woman. 

The brand continually explores the themes of minimalism and maximalism, juxtaposing Swarovski crystals and delicate lace against marabou feathers and tightly twisted leather bodices. Make-up was kept to a minimum with the exception of a bright red lip to enhance natural beauty, with hair slicked back and sculpted for an androgynous edge.

Although 16Arlington has evidently developed new shapes and silhouettes, reworked signature archive styles and experimented with clashing fabrics and textures, they have fundamentally maintained their trademark combination of elegance and exuberance, at the very heart of AW20.

by Cara Jenkins

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