September saw another show-stopper of a London Fashion Week where, once again, the Toni&Guy Session Team created high-impact hair for the season ahead

Though no less beautiful than previous seasons, SS19 felt a little more restrained. Which isn’t to say that there’s going to be a return to the dark and dull days of normcore anytime soon, Halpern’s sequin-filled show proved that much at least. But where the struggle to balance commercially viable clothing with creativity can sometimes be felt, this season’s catwalks saw designers walking that tricky tightrope with aplomb. There was no relying on gratuitous wackiness to grab headlines, rather the capital’s designers sought attention for all of the right reasons, as the catwalks blossomed with cleverly constructed clothing in gorgeous hues.

The most overtly political statement was at Richard Quinn, but even this was measured defiance rather than the obvious wailing of a slogan T-shirt. While last season saw Her Majesty The Queen sit on the front row of Quinn’s show, this season she was replaced by students from the schools he attended as part of a protest against government cuts to arts education. Yorkshire’s superstar Matty Bovan left mouths gaping with the sheer beauty of his work, which saw the young designer cocoon models in sumptuous shapes and towering millinery crafted from bundles of tulle.

London has always prided itself on being an incubator for raw talent, and this season saw the city’s fashion scene reaping what it had sowed as its young designers came of age. Case in point was Xu Zhi’s grown-up glamour as imagined in floor-sweeping suiting and softly structured dresses in shredded satin.

Things were equally elegant at Tata Naka, where the sartorial siblings presented a collection inspired by classical statues, translating the uniforms of Roman soldiers into strong-shouldered silhouettes and powerful prints. Taking those influences into the hair, Toni&Guy’s International Artistic Director, Cos Sakkas created statuesque curls piled high and tight on the head.

Toni&Guy and label.m collaborator, I-Am-Chen was expected to have a spectacular debut solo show, and the Merit Award winner and International Woolmark Prize semi-finalist certainly didn’t disappoint. It was a typically bright and bold affair, with the designer not straying too far from the colour-clashing knitwear that she’s fast becoming famed for. Reflecting the 30s styling served up, Toni&Guy’s International Artistic Director, Indira Schauwecker created the kind of loose-knotted bun that female tennis players would have worn in that decade. Over at Starsica, Schauwecker translated the brand’s youthful collection into sophisticated glamour with slick finger-waves. While at Osman, Sakkas elegantly complemented the drama and magic of the designer’s trademark architectural splendour with beautifully natural hair.

The future looked bright for A-Jane, who presented a confident collection that played around with ideas of volume, repetition and flashes of colour. To complement her structural pieces, Toni&Guy’s International Artistic Director, Sophie Springett created subtle curls reimagining them in different styles for each model. Meanwhile, glamour reigned supreme at Malan Breton with a collection that paid tribute to the designer’s grandmother’s days as a showgirl and opera singer. Toni&Guy’s International Artistic Director, Philipp Haug created high-octane ponytails to enhance the show’s hyper-feminine feel.

  • Words: Miriam Bouteba