London Fashion Week AW 18 Full Recap

All photos & edits by: Suzanne Spiegoski


Known for his deconstructed fabrics and feminine silhouettes, Xuzhi Chen's was born in Shenzhen but is based in London. Chen studied foundation art in London, then fashion in 2010, graduating in 2015. Having done internships with menswear designer Craig Green and J.W. Anderson, he's now part of that booming hub of designers based in Dalston in East London. Also, a semi-finalist last year for the prestigious LVMH Prize and Asia finalist for the International Woolmark Prize proves his wizardry when it comes to fabrics. Chen looked to Jane Morris, wife of the textile designer William Morris and the lover of Dante Gabriel Rossetti, who is one of the most recognised faces in art history for her famous pout, as well as the relationship between artist, muse and now, designer, which he states in the show notes in the relevancy of #TimesUp. The collection is filled with painting references, with the ankle length skirts and coats featuring a waxy finish, which mimics the sheen of oil paintings, while Chen’s yarn-braiding technique has been developed to make the fabric appear to have a brush stroke effect, and the deconstruction effects to the tailoring adds a textural element when paired with wide-leg trousers and pleated skirts. Definitely, a designer to watch out for - Xu Zhi will be a household name in the very near future. By far one of my favorite presentations during London Fashion Week.


Emerging designer Amy Thomson poses the question: What do a princess, baker and a hairdresser look like from a child’s perspective with her playful autumn/winter 2018 collection ‘Chasin’ Dreams’. With the models standing amongst floating clouds, the eight oversized pink outfits really brought the idea of fantasy and dreams - each showcasing the profession as seen by a child, with also the help from the designer’s larger-than-life hand-rendered drawings that produced charming prints, motifs, and illustrations to form the narrative of the collection, ensuring that no two garments are the same. Metallic based textures created a sparkling performance. Feminine silhouettes, with giant bow ties and illustrative frills made for a fun slumber party feel. The use of silks, faux fur, and leathers using a palette of fuchsias, baby pink, hot pink that contrast with the royal blues and lilacs. Illustrations upon metallic fabric are layered and stitched on the faux fur. Thomson also collaborated with headwear designer Katie Hamlett from Sassy Freak featuring a range of tiaras of iconic childhood toys such as Barbie heads and My Little Pony. Commenting on the collection, Thomson said: “Telling a narrative and connecting with an audience is very important to myself as a designer. Chasin’ Dreams is based on real muses, real stories and my own and there is no story truer than the one you are living.”


What do you get when you combine glamour with destructed textures? A dramatic yet opulent range. Debuting her collection in London at Fashion Scout's Freemasons Hall, Claire Tagg brought her inspiration from her travels as an air hostess. A graduate of University of Creative Arts, Rochester, Tagg was awarded the New Designers Hainsworth Statement Award, as well as being named the runner-up in the prestigious womenswear award at Graduate Fashion Week. Her AW 18 collection demonstrated Tagg’s signature layered aesthetic using digital printing to create rich textures of ripped paper alongside a cherry blossom print and elaborate embellishments, which were all placed by hand. There were structured jackets and blazer style dresses juxtapositioned with oversized full skirts and ballgowns created from Duchess Satin that really brought out sophistication and elegance. The accessories were also prominent with colorful earrings and fabric belts with plane seatbelt fastenings. Cute.   


I found it extra cool being able to visit the Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA) during London Fashion Week (LFW), where also the UNDERAGE AW18 present took place. The designer, Ying Shen was born in Beijing China, where she initially studied graphic design, using multimedia techniques from film, to animation and 3D modeling before moving to London to pursue fashion design studies at Central Saint Martins School of Art & Design. The collection transported us to the underground punk movement from the 70s and late 90s. The UNDERAGE AW18 collection titled “Riots of Our Own” comments on the rebellious and social disruption of the era – and what that means for someone of a similar mindset today. A celebration of self-expression, independence, and nonconformity, acknowledges the makers of change from the past and applying it to a personal, modern-day fight for the future. Real eye-catching presentation.


I'm not one to wear gowns, but if I had to (yes, how painful) I'd definitely go with San Francisco-based designer Mimi Tran. Her AW 18 collection consisted of a color palette with uncommonly rendered icy tones of gold, cool blue and dark pink among others. She is known for her artisan hand beading and the use of colors to full effervescent effect, the detailing of cutting-edge dimensional patterns evoked depth and with graceful movement. 


I never thought I'd attend a secret Zen garden during my time in London a couple of weeks ago, but I did for Edeline Lee's presentation. Inspiration from holistic practices of the East infused within her collection with technique draping and most especially, my favorite, tassel trimmings that were similar to Ayurvedic robes. It refined a traditional cape coat with subtle sophistication. There were even gong players to immerse guests and a set dotted with serene topiary-style sculptures. Dark floral jacquards were in respects to the Garden of Eden, naturally along with Pilgrim collars, origami pleats, and an overall monastic tone. This collection is very appealing for those looking for a modest option but with a fashion-forward slant. Just lovely. 


Self-taught, Taiwanese-born designer, Malan Breton, demonstrated strong and seductive pieces in his AW 18 collection titled, 'Omega.' His unusual colors, textures, and silhouettes pair a playfulness with drama - a consistent love of contrasts like my favorite: Hard leather silhouettes pressed up against soft Taiwanese florals. Plum, navy blue, and bright orange colors stuck out, especially a men's patent leather orange jacket. Think lavish splendor with theatrical fashion. Breton's numerous awards, including the FGI Rising Star Award 2016 and the Taiwan Tourism Award for contributions to Fashion and Media, along with some pretty impressive showbiz credits, including costuming Breaking Bad and MTV’s VMAs, speak for themselves. 



steventai’s AW18 presentation brought the neon streets of Macau to London Fashion Week with a unique digitally augmented experience. Created in collaboration with San Francisco film tech experts ILMxLAB (Lucasfilm’s immersive entertainment division), the presentation carried us into a hyper-real world inspired by the ‘Las Vegas of the East’. Models dressed in softly structured velvet and corduroy pantsuits and flowered dresses with trench coats, and my favorite, the accessories such as clear grocery tote bags and clear umbrellas, elevated the workwear with luxurious detail and lavish material. Among the models was an avatar, generated with real-time CGI and dressed in digitally formed garments as part of the collection. Perhaps this is a new way we will see and shop fashion in the future?


Aadnevik is a London based luxury label directed by Hila & Kristian Aadnevik renowned internationally for their characteristic feminine, opulent, alluring designs. Presenting their new Swan Lake inspired collection at London Fashion Week AW18 in an opulent historical setting of a grandiose library at One Whitehall Place, the collection is inspired by the classic story of Odette and Odile, where light and dark contrast each other, like good and evil, and romance and tragedy. A woman can be strong and soft at the same time and makes no difference when it comes to undying love. And you can sense this form of unconditional emotion through the pieces, intricate beadwork with silver metal and pearls, delicate French lace was adorned with black and red hearts, beads, crystals, stars, feathers, and flowers. Sensual yet ethereal. Hair by Moroccan Oil, makeup by Bellápierre Cosmetics, nails by Candy Coat. 


Paul Costelloe presented to us, volume and print for this year's AW 18 collection. For his collection, he used quite neutral colors like shades of browns, greens, greys and a pop of colors like the yellows and pinks. A variety of fabrics like tweed looked terrific in a cinched-in jacket over floaty layers of chiffon and also in a flattering A-line dress with a contrasting top with peplum. Striking yellow and blue fabric in the generous oversized formal skirt which stood out from the 60s-look show.


Hollywood glamour can be badass too. A sensually powerful collection, Paula Knorr's AW18 Collection was full of body-hugging lamé and seductive sparkles. With clashing fabrics and dramatic shapes, the looks drastically push the boundaries of evening wear into abstract realms, all the while keeping the looks as glitzy and glamorous as Hollywood’s elite. From emblazoning flares with an abundance of sequins to layering block color on block color fearlessly (hello, to the power of red), to even bringing back sheer materials, the collection was vibrant and unforgiving. And what brought it all together was Jazz singer, Laura Totenhagen, who set feminist poetry to music, using her voice and a loop pedal, made it an exceptionally atmospheric experience.


The catch of the day. St. Ives, Cornwall inspiration // plush fisherman vibes with traditional technique and a touch of rugged romanticism. By far one of my favorite collections of London Fashion Week, Korean-born designer Eudon Choi, translated the relationships between these Cornish artists and their environment to create a collection that pays homage to St Ives as a muse to so many artists and a place of artistic pilgrimage. He celebrates the abstract art and Cornish light as well as paying homage to the brave fishermen who worked the harsh sea and the tin and copper miners who were once such an important part of the Cornish way of ilfe. Since launching his eponymous label in 2009, Eudon has become a regular fixture at London Fashion Week. He has received numerous accolades for his work, most recently support from the British Fashion Council and the Fashion Trust through the Fashion Trust initiative, for the second time. Hair by Stephen Low at Neville for L'Oréal Professional // Makeup by Lucy Bridge for Streeters and the MAC Cosmetics Pro Team // Nails by Jessica Nails. 


NYC lifestyle blog



City Ballerina



Friday calls for a mixup on ballet-like trends and a bit more feminine chicness! Today's post features two designers from my most recent post (check it out here - major Parisian feels) who are both extremely talented in their own rights. The pleated skirt linked sweatshirt by saku New York is a great staple piece to have in your closet. The adaptability of this piece is incredible, as I can see this being worn all-year round. It's a great combo for layering or just by itself. The vest (comes separately) scalloped collar and lace work are just gorgeous! I layered it with an insanely beautiful dusty rose sleeveless trench by Rhoda Wong, with intricate pocket and collar details. What really caught my eye was what's within the pocket, a handkerchief holder! Like chivalry, it is a rarity - a dying breed if you will... 

These Matt Bernson ballerina flats are my latest shoe obsession. You can wear these flats with or without the lace-up straps, whether tying them further up the legs to bring a gladiator/ballet-like feel to a look or even just around the ankles for a more definitive structured look, these versatile flats will be all the crazy this spring/summer season. And you bet I will layer these beauts with some sort of socks/tights come this fall! If you're looking to invest in a really good pair of flats, I really recommend these comfy and chic pair!

What's everyone up to this weekend? I will be working on more content for you guys - coming up on Monday will be a new cocktail recipe with one of my favorite liquors I've been drinking a lot of this year :) I can't wait to show you this spring-y, yummy and refreshing drink! Next week will also feature more sporty athleisure wear, but think more high-fashion, folks! And much more exciting projects in the works, it just keeps getting busier and busier! #forevergrateful 





An American Girl in Paris


Happy Wednesday! The weather has been rainy and awfully gloomy here in New York City, so I'm bringing you Paris today! Just kidding, this shoot did take place in New York, but I bet I'd have you fooled if I told you I was in the La Ville-Lumière. And even though we're not in Europe, today's post is definitely Parisian-chic inspired!

Brown Hat is a Seoul-based hat brand with handcrafted hats inspired from classic designs, yet with a finishing touch of wit. The collections are defined by founder and designer Ji Hyang Park’s signature design in creating flexible and sometimes experimental silhouettes, and her mixture of use of the finest fabrics. The navy blue lace hat from this look is so great because I could wear this at a resort but at the same time, I could also be wearing the heck out of it in Paris! Brown Hat aims to offer timeless hats for men and women. Some hats are also available at NYC boutique, Dreams On Air. 

Another talented emerging Korean designer is Lissa Koo, for saku. The motif for saku is both the chic New York sense and the easy, breezy West Coast atmosphere. While being a unique, never-seen-before style, saku offers clothes that are ready-to-wear and easily approachable for anyone. Pursuing both sportiness and femininity simultaneously, saku showcases silhouette apparel that greatly emphasizes woman’s beauty along with comfortable fabrics that allow easy movement. The black layered with white lace blouse is by Lissa, and is only one of many more pieces I just can't wait to show you in the next coming weeks! You can find some of her designs at DOA as well.

Last but not least is this crazy gorgeous jacket by Rhoda Wong. What makes Rhoda special is not just her age (which is twenty(!)) but her deep understanding of structural pieces when it comes to fashion. Aesthetically-pleasing with good detail playing on a variety of textures and materials, Rhoda's talent is off the charts! The baby blue oversized jacket is perfect for spring, Paris and/or both, plus more. It's a wonderful color with beautiful metal buckling and subtle yellow stitching on only on side of the jacket. 

Watch these women closely, guys. I guarantee you will be hearing a lot more about these emerging designers in the coming years. Lastly, while shopping the look, please note some pieces are not available online yet and need to be inquired within. Have a great rest of your Hump Day! 







I was surprised by the absence of florals and prints, unlike last season's show. Talented designer Dan Liu kept with warmer colors, including makeup and hair, while still maintaining a light, whimsical-like fairytale amongst his collection. I appreciate the focus on winter wear. My favorite? The half up half down look with soft ringlet curls to fit the theme. And also Mr. Liu's singing abilities. Yes, he performed live singing a beautiful melody! 


I have to say, this was was my utmost pleasant surprise of the week! Going in I wasn't at all familiar with Turkish designer, Hakan Akkaya, but be sure about this – you'll be seeing a lot more of him in the future! His entire collection was all about freedom and the art of sporty couture. He played only in black and white with tons of strappy belts, ruffles, and patent leather. I loved how several designers this season, including Akkaya, embodied their feelings on the current times. The political landscape is a vast one so it is completely refreshing to see that come through in the light of fashion. It isn't only about clothes, and this collection proved just that. (Even though I want EVERYTHING from this collection, regardless if it's for men or women!) 


What can I say about this amazing designer? Project Runway winner from Season 5, Leanne Marshall never disappoints with her ethereal collections. Effortless flow with a touch of contemporary this season, I loved the cream lace tops and skirts that mixed in beautifully with monochromatic, old world glam gowns. And I couldn't take my eyes off the earrings (Hello tassels) and the pop of red from the lips of the models! Lastly, silk has made numerous appearances in several collections. Major trend alert. Just breathtaking. Always such a gorgeous show.


An Indonesian-inspired D'Jakarta collection, models wore hijabs for each look, clearly demonstrating uniqueness and the freedom in expressing other forms of style & beauty. Each detail is rich in culture. I especially loved the glittering silvers and sparkling golds, the fierce, energetic music and knockout pieces such a ball gown composed of rose gold tulle made in the shape of roses paired with bronze and black, and the closing piece, an all black gown and cape stitched with Hasibuan’s signature “A” in gold. The perfect collection for any Super Woman! The show was completely filled with passion and empowerment. 


Bright and eclectic, Tam's collection was inspired by the electrifying energy of Hong Kong nightlife, with bursts of neon fuschias, greens, purples and midnight blues inspired from omnipresent neon signs and grids that light the skyscrapers. Iconic signage, traffic lights, and contrasting dark tunnels are translated into neon prints, alluding to modern city life. I adored the evening bags that doubled as travel kits (how cute is the airplane one?!) Such an amazing collection for the cultural explorer! I may need a piece (or two) for my upcoming travels... ;)


First time seeing Mimi Prober and 'Hallelujah'! The models walked down the runway as the familiar tune played in the background. What was interesting was the play on lights. Each step further led to the room becoming brighter and brighter. And with a limited play on color, only using off-white, black, grays and beige, this collection was all about sustainable luxury and growing maturity. I loved the stress on lace and crochet, but more so, the small touch of details, such as the last look with emerald and gold embellishments. Absolutely spectacular! And don't even get me started on the coats! 


The Nolcha Shows at New York Fashion Week just wrapped the Fall/Winter 2017 season at Artbeam Studios, featuring 9 runway shows.  The platform for indie brands remains the go-to downtown destination for discovering fresh designs during fashion week. I attended the “Ones To Watch” show which kicked off spotlighting emerging brands including: Mariana Valentina (Arabian Architecture-inspired statement dresses), Son Collection (Vietnamese womenswear), Just In Case (men’s and women’s streetwear from Taiwan), Chèlbè (made especially for tall women 5ft11+), and Stevenson University (a collective of students debuting their take on the little black dress).  




NYFW Backstage with Aveda – Hellessy, Tibi, Public School & Tome


Backstage makeup vibes at the Hellessy AW2017 show at Highline Studios in New York City, Aveda Artist, Janell Geason, used NEW Aveda Petal Essence™ Face Accents in Seychelles Sand (infused with aromatic floral notes) to illuminate and contour cheekbones in a more natural-looking way and NEW Aveda Nourish-Mint™ Smoothing Lip Color in Coral Sands (with a certified organic peppermint and vanilla aroma) to give lips a warm, soft peachy color. Definitely such a fresh, dewy look!


Aveda Artist, Frank Rizzieri, created thick, healthy and face-framing hair for the TIBI AW2017 show –inspired heavily by menswear – held at Skylight Modern in New York City. Aveda Thickening Tonic) with a pure-fume™ aroma with certified organic rosemary, geranium, cinnamon) helped expand strands from root to tip, while Damage Remedy™ Split End Repair sealed ends instantly. No matter the length, each model had full and super plush strands. (Not to mention the tonic spray is my favorite Aveda hair product! Keeps my new fringe bangs intact without the hassle!)


Aveda Artist, Allen Ruiz, created weightless body and volume for the Public School AW2017 show held at a packed Milk Studios in New York City. Aveda Phomollient™ Styling Foam (with a pure-fume™ aroma with certified organic peppermint, ylang-ylang, bergamot) helped make the most out of what each model had already without weighing the hair down. The bigger the better. 

Male models received matte texture with a pliable hold from Aveda Artist, Allen Ruis. All-star Aveda Control Paste™ (with a pure-fume™ aroma with certified organic ylang-ylang, clove and clary sage) was worked into dry hair for a loose and piece-y high texture style. 


Aveda Global Creative Director Antoinette Beenders honed in on natural hair textures to create an array of individual styles for the Tome AW2017 show – celebrating confident, strong women – held at Clarkson Square in New York City. Dry Remedy™ Daily Moisturizing Oil was used to instantly add moisture and bring hair back to life. The sleek ponytails and curly styles were then set with Air Control™ Light Hold Hair Spray featuring the Pure-Fume™ aroma with certified organic lavender, bergamot and palmarosa. And one of my favorite makeup looks from this fashion week was their simple white-lined eyeliner. Minimal yet extremely powerful. Just gorgeous!