As of 2009, British fashion entails British fashion designers such as Burberry, Alexander McQueen, Vivienne Westwood, Stella McCartney and other designers. British music and British culture heavily influence the fashions in England. Some looks include the punk look inspired through punk music with plaid kilts, chains, safety pins and combat boots and the more elegant tweed horseback riding outfit (jodhpurs, shirt, vest, jacket and riding boots). Other looks may include a tailored suit from London’s Saville Row for men or the ubiquitous trenchcoat, umbrella and rain boots, made popular by Burberry due to the constant rainy weather in England.
Music and British Fashion
Music has influenced the British fashion trends throughout the decades, from the Beatles to The Sex Pistols to Amy Winehouse. Vivienne Westwood contributed to the punk movement of the late 1970s and 1980s in conjunction with the famed punk band, The Sex Pistols. Westwood’s designs are heavily influenced by the Elizabethan Age utilizing corsets and the orb, referencing England’s royals. Stella McCartney, daughter of the Beatles’ Sir Paul McCartney, has a fashion line under her own name, which she started in 2001. Her designs are very tailored and cutting edge and are worn by celebrities like Madonna and Gwyneth Paltrow.
Classic British Fashions
On the more classic side of British fashion, Burberry has been an influence with its checks and classic trench coats for those rainy English days. Rain boots also are popular due to the very wet weather. Saville Row is a famous street in MayFair, London lined with traditional men’s tailoring. Other classic brands include Pringle of Scotland, who specialize in luxury fashion knitwear (particularly cashmere) and Liberty of London on Sloane Street, who specialize in printed men’s shirts and women’s accessories.
Punk and Alternative Fashions of England
On the flip side, Camden Town, London is the famous shopping area where punk and Goth fashions can be found. Handmade fashions and jewelry by local designers can also be found in Camden Town. Vivienne Westwood’s first boutique called “At World’s End” on King’s Road in London, where she dressed Malcolm McLaren of the Sex Pistols in the late 1970s, still stands, but with her Anglomania collection. Westwood’s Anglomania collection is a more casual and reasonably priced collection compared to Westwood’s other fashion lines.
British Designers Designing for French Fashion Houses
Alexander McQueen designed for Givenchy from 1997 to 2001. He received the British Designer Award four times between 1996 and 2003. He designs his a line under his own name. McQueens designs are heavily goth influenced with state of the art fabrics. His designs have been worn by Tilda Swinton, Madonna and other celebrities.
John Galliano was the first British designer to head a French Fashion house–it was for Givenchy in 1995. Galliano now designs for Christian Dior since 1997. Galliano’s inspirations draw from everything from the French Baroque-Rocco era to the Dutch painters from the 1800s. His designs helped Dior propel back into the high realm of fashion since he joined the famous couture house in 1997.
Stella McCartney designed for Chloe from 1997 to 2001. Previous to McCartney, French fashion house Chloe was headed by the multi-talented Karl Lagerfeld (also the designer for Chanel). When McCartney took over in 1997, Chloe was then geared to a younger clientele. Hollywood starlets began wearing Chloe, thus making the fashion house popular among the trendy, hip crowd.
Department Stores Only in England
Although the world is standardized in terms of fashion due to the Internet and chain boutiques across the world, several stores remain exclusive to England. TopShop is a fairly inexpensive trendy shop aimed towards the fashionable teen in England. Harrods is a British landmark luxury department store and food emporium in the heart of London. Harvey Nichols is a department store throughout England carrying the latest in fashion for both men and women. Another British department store is Selfridges & Co. with stores throughout England.