A very wet and windy edition of London Fashion Week (14-18 Feb.) came to a close on Wednesday night. Buyers deemed it a particularly strong season, as the event successfully bridged the gap between creativity and commercial viability. The inimitable Claire Barrow entered the NewGen stable this season, thus leaving Fashion East behind. The lauded maverick’s signature hand paintings had been digitally applied to sateen bomber jackets and long dresses as well as a smattering of accessories such as gold tassel adorned clutch bags. Faustine Steinmetz’s wares also impressed; the label’s raison d’etre is to reproduce old wardrobe favorites such as  “the forgotten denim found in your dad’s wardrobe”– this particular item had been resurrected with the help of hand weaving techniques resulting in a pair intriguing pair of soft and floppy jeans.

The play on texture and the use of unexpected materials underpinned many collections. Christopher Kane fused nylon and mink, while JW Anderson used jumbo cord to give bias cut pieces a less than fluid appearance. Meanwhile, Sibling’s modern take on Irish traditional knitting methods materialized in dramatic webs in which crochet, gauge and hand knitted elements were brought together to form single garments such as floor sweeping dresses. These proved challenging for the models to walk in–a couple of them struggled to make it off the catwalk in an upright position. Sibling’s denim pieces– such as wide cropped trousers and cap sleeve jackets– were much more user-friendly.

Hunter Original made its LFW debut this season under Alisdhair Willis’ creative direction. The outerwear range spanned everything from classic rain garments to duffle coats and metallic padded jackets in various lengths. Fittingly, the wellington clad models waded through a water logged catwalk, which served as an extension to the sopping streets of London. Paul Smith once again chose Saint Martins’ school as  show venue and sent out his trademark mannish tailoring as well as a series of silk shirt dresses featuring prints drawing on Persian carpets and wallpapers.  Equally decorative, Burberry Prorsum’s painterly affair paid homage to the Bloomsbury girls – those bohemian and intellectual souls of early 20th century London.

The International Fashion Showcase is becoming an ever more important part of the week. It was established in 2012 to celebrate London’s status as a global melting pot of creativity and its knack for nurturing new talent. This time, the exhibition was held at 180 The Strand a few doors down from the LFW’s hub Somerset House. 14 individual showcases presented the wares of emerging designer from countries including Argentina, Austria, China, Czech Republic, Estonia, Georgia, Hungary, Nigeria, Paraguay, The Philippines, Portugal, Slovakia, Switzerland and Vietnam. “It’s been interesting to take part as the designers of each different country tend to do their own thing to introduce their respective cultures aside from showing the actual collections – some serve food and others play music,” said Franziska Fürpass of Femme Maison, a highly worthwhile label working with drapery and in-house designed prints such as the tapestry inspired ones that formed part of the F/W14 range. Sarah Mower MBE presented the award associated with the initiative on Sunday 16 February – Estonia was crowned winner with a special mention for the exhibitions of Paraguay, Portugal and Qatar.