Emilia Wickstead took the potentially seedy concept of 1970’s


For her Spring/Summer 2017 catwalk show during London Fashion Week this afternoon, Emilia Wickstead, one of the preferred designers of the Duchess of Cambridge and Samantha Cameron, took the potentially seedy concept of 1970’s ‘love hotels’ and somehow turned it into a desirable wardrobe proposition for next Spring.
Love hotels started in Japan in the 1960s, offering themselves up as a place where illicit lovers could rendez-vous in privacy.
Wickstead was smitten by images of these hotels in South America in the 1970s and brought a rose-coloured romance into the scenario (literally: she used several shades of pink), imagining them as places young couples from conservative families could ‘be comfortable together’. Love the euphemism. Emilia Wickstead, like her ladylike clientele, is not the kind of woman to be smutty.
Out of this, the mother of two, who admitted to having had just three hours sleep the previous night, presented a youthful and fun collection of floral, polka dot, chalky orange, forest green and pink dresses, skirts and shirting with a light, summer-of-the-70s feel.
Cute circus-style spots were inspired by Alexander Calder, cut-out circles by the softer side of architect Frank Lloyd-Wright. Gathered balloon sleeves and frilled high necks, sheering details and sprig-printed cotton shirts, with flat basket-weave ballet shoes and slider sandals by Charlotte Olympia added to the butter-wouldn’t-melt feeling. So did the clever bands of Sweet-coloured Swarovski crystals that ran down the shoulder to emulate the idea of a teenagers back pack.
While the designer has in recent collections stayed with longer lengths, for this one hems shot up and down, with both baby-doll lengths and ankle-cropped gowns. For the first time she showed her own gold jewellery – swinging earrings and clustered necklaces – an area that both big design houses and smaller labels are developing as an entry point for customers. Young love is good but young customers are even better.