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Halpern kick-starts LFW with spectacular blast of colour from the Royal Ballet

·2-min read
 (Disco feel: dancers from the Royal Ballet and Birmingham Royal Ballet appeared in designer Michael Halpern’s fashion week film)
(Disco feel: dancers from the Royal Ballet and Birmingham Royal Ballet appeared in designer Michael Halpern’s fashion week film)

Stars of the Royal Ballet were the focus of designer Michael Halpern’s latest collection as London Fashion Week launched today. Halpern, who last year featured frontline workers in his fashion week presentation, celebrated the arts in his spring-summer 2022 collection.

This morning he debuted a film shot in the Royal Opera House featuring Royal Ballet and Birmingham Royal Ballet dancers including Fumi Kaneko, Sumina Sasaki, Marianna Tsembenhoi, Leticia Dias, Katharina Nikelski, Céline Gittens, Sae Maeda and Marcelino Sambé.

Halpern said he devoted the collection to a technical study of movement brought to life by the dancers, with the dresses and tailoring showcasing types of movement seen in dance.

The collection was one of the first to be shown on the first morning of LFW, which runs until Tuesday. Halpern is one of more than 80 designers presenting their latest work digitally this fashion week, while 79 will exhibit in physical shows.

Top designers that will feature include Emilia Wickstead, Erdem, JW Anderson, Roksanda, Roland Mouret, Simone Rocha and Richard Quinn. Described by head of the British Fashion Council Caroline Rush as a “digital physical hybrid”, this LFW will have the greatest number of live shows since the pandemic began.

It launched this morning with a live show from British menswear designer Saul Nash at the new TikTok Show Space in The Old Selfridges Hotel.

The designer took inspiration from his schoolboy years for his debut solo show, splicing uniform references with sportswear and daywear.

“I remember school in fragments, and this collection is about piecing them back together, facing the past and, by doing so, being able to move forward,” said the north-east London-based designer.

Waterproof trenches came with removable sleeves and hoods, and magnetic front-fastenings, while a short-sleeve uniform shirt was reworked as a zip-up jacket in crisp papery nylon.

Elsewhere, gym kit references came via vests cut from dead stock pique worn over technical short-sleeve tops.

Tracksuits and jerseys with inset V-necks nod to the end of the day uniform modifications made on the bus ride home and customised Nike Just Do It backpacks and Nike Dunks were the preserve of the cool kids sitting at the back.

For Nash — who originally trained as a dancer and is still a much-celebrated choreographer — ease of movement is pivotal and his use of technical fabrics, zippers and armhole ventilation gave his streetwear-inflected designs a practicality of purpose.

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