Peter Lowe captures an uncharacteristically quiet London Fashion Week

The photographer's vibrant images document the week's three traditional catwalk presentations

Few designers are willing to go through the pains of staging a physical show right now, one upside being that photographers were able to capture them in an uncharacteristically peaceful atmosphere backstage. Case in point: Peter Lowe, who photographed the Spring/Summer 2021 collections of the select few designers that opted for a traditional catwalk show during London Fashion Week. While the collections varied wildly in theme and content, Lowe’s pictures impart a unified message of hope for what the future might look like, grounded in valuable acknowledgments of the past.

Boru Asku Spring/Summer 2021 collection presented in London during London Fashion Week.

Bora Aksu’s Spring/Summer 2021 ready-to-wear collection tells a tale of destruction and renewal, coated with a taste of sweetness that makes that kind of story easier to swallow.

Divided into three loose sections, the collection’s structure was designed to mirror the phases of the hardship and healing that followed the outbreak of World War I and the devastating flu pandemic of 1918.

For the show’s opening chapter, Aksu was inspired by those who dedicated their lives to the fight against overwhelming suffering and sickness. An orderly procession of immaculate white dresses, tightly laced Edwardian boots, and gauzy masks and nurse’s caps suggested a uniform of eternal caretaking.

Next, Aksu presented a series of darker, less structured looks that marked a clear shift into the period that followed, one of mourning those lost to tragedy. This passage was dominated by garments in a quiet, dusty blue—a color that feels like it lives next to the heart of grief.

The show closed with a parade of fluttery pastel dresses, with airy, layered skirts that looked impossible to weigh down with sadness and secrets. An homage to the carefree, optimistic spirit of the 1920s, the collection’s finale was an effervescent toast to the hope of a future worth celebrating.

Pronounce Spring/Summer 2021 collection presented in London during London Fashion Week.

Pronounce’s Spring/Summer 2021 collection is about finding balance— between modernity and tradition, understatement and exaggeration, and fixture and fluidity.

Inspired by time spent in Tibet, Yushan Li and Jun Zhou, the duo behind the Chinese brand, set out to create a collection that pays tribute to the region’s harmonious approach to design, while offering unconventional takes on its traditional silhouettes and symbols.

The result is a collection built on exaggerated geometry and conspicuous textures, thoughtfully offset by pockets of well-placed softness. For every hyperbole that Li and Zhou sent down the runway, whether in the form of a mile-wide, brick-shaped blazer or a supersized knotted belt, there was an act of perfect restraint found close by—in the delicate weave of a fishnet slip dress or the easy flow of satin cut on the bias.

Mark Fast Spring/Summer 2021 collection presented in London during London Fashion Week.

The two current moods of the moment in fashion are fantasy and escape, and at this point, none of us really need an explanation why. But just because everybody’s doing it, doesn’t mean it’s easy to pull off—unless you’re Mark Fast. The designer’s Spring/Summer 2021 collection is totally immersive—featuring a full run of his signature knits, this time in a collage of dayglo colorways.

Fasts’s fascination with the (oft unjustly maligned) fashions of the ’80s lives on in his latest set of easy-to-wear party looks. Stripey, colorblocked mini-dresses served as a foundation for much of the collection, topped with stone washed denim jackets and sweaters covered in neon graffiti or distorted typography. Fast’s pairing of stretchy, body-hugging base garments with relaxed outerwear is consistent with the iconic genre of activewear that flourished in his favorite decade.

Models accessorized with puckered, heavy-bottomed shoulder bags, smudgy purple eyeshadow, and hair swept into super deep side parts—all in faithful accordance with the preferred styling of the coolest girl at any party during the Reagan administration.