9 historic london fashion week shows you need to see

Sit back, relax and take in the decadence and glamour of some of the 80s and 90s most seminal London fashion brands.

by Lynette Nylander
16 February 2017, 3:10pm

Bloggers peacocking outside shows, FROW celebrity sightings and lavishly sponsored after parties, London Fashion Week descends on the capital for another season to set the tone for how we will be dressing for the next six months. LFW has changed dramatically since the 80s and 90s, shows weren't so glossy but they were a whole lotta' fun. We've delved into the archive and dug out what were some of the most important shows of the last three decades, featuring some of the most important brands, sadly some who have come and gone, but whose influence (and fun) can be seen in the clips below. Enjoy!

1. Boy London Acid Collection from 1988
Stephane Raynor, creator of iconic fashion label BOY LONDON spent a lot of time in Ibiza during the 80s and was inspired to make this collection based around club life there and in London. A joyous celebration of the heyday of Acid House.

2. BodyMap spring/summer show from 1990
BodyMap was one of the 80s most important brands. Known primarily for its body conscious clothing, graphic prints and groundbreaking fashion shows, its founders Stevie Stewart and David Holah were all about shock and awe.

3. John Galliano's first show from 1984
At this point, we know the legend of John Galliano pretty well. But before the Dior days, the Margiela creative directorship or the public meltdown, John was a student of Central Saint Martins, Class of 84. With no money, but a lot of talent, John created his Les Incroyables collection that was inspired by the French Revolution. The collection was bought in its entirety by Browns and the rest, as they say, is fashion history!

4. Bernadette Corporation at The ICA
Party organisers turned underground fashion collective Bernadette Corporation disrupted the industry in the early 90s. It's members Bernadette van Huy, John Kelsey, and Antek Walzcak were elusive, shying away from the spotlight. Instead Bernadette Corporation were noted for their merging of performance, fashion, and art. They were known for taking charity shop finds to enrich their collections, which were always a reflection of contemporary culture. Watch here.

5. Katherine Hamnett from 1985 and 1991
Katharine Hamnett is one of British fashion's true pioneers. Her political T-shirts pioneering a 'wear it on your chest' activism in fashion which is still being seen today. T-shirts aside, Katherine also made some of the most extraordinary ready-to-wear that came out of that 80s and 90s, all while lobbying for a more ethical and sustainable fashion industry, less racism and nuclear disarmament. Legend!

6. Duffer of St George show from 1992
Duffer's founders Eddie Prendergast, Barrie Sharpe, Marco Cairns and Clifford Bowen, revolutionised streetwear in the 80s. Their store in D'Arblay Street in London's Soho that became a hub for the city's most important fashion talent. Relive the good times with this clip from their 5th Circle Catwalk Show at The National Theatre, with commentary from Barrie himself.

7. John Maybury/ Rifat Ozbek film from 1989
Before John Maybury was a big-time film director, he was a Saint Martins student collaborating with fellow student, designer Rifat Ozbek on his collection that was screened during London Fashion Week in 1989. Look out for i-D cover star Yasmin Le Bon, who was one of the models that entered its colourful kaleidoscopic galaxy.

8. Christopher Nemeth's Hard Work show in 1994
Christopher Nemeth was a key figure in 80s London's fashion scene, one that centred around The House of Beauty and Culture, of which he was a founder member. In his Hard Work show, Christopher collaborated with photographer Mark Lebon and stylist Judy Blame (with whom he created many one-of-a-kind garments) in Tokyo for this suit heavy show from 94.

9. Joe Casely Hayford autumn/winter show in 1991
Before Casely Hayford became a father/son duo, Joe was a celebrated London designer in his own right. His shows were a hot ticket, as exhibited in this clip from autumn/winter 91, with models dancing down the runway in black leather and red separates.

Read: From building the House of Beauty and Culture to redefining fashion's punk aesthetic through Buffalo, Judy Blame's DIY aesthetic continues to influence the next generation.


Text Lynette Nylander
As chosen by Max Clark

London Fashion Week
John Galliano
bernadette corporation
Katherine Hamnett
joe casely-hayford
boy london