Fashion-goers attending the House of Holland Fall 2017 presentation at the Topshop Show Space were immediately met with the sounds of Southern singer, Miley Cyrus’ seminal album, ‘BANGERZ’, a clear choice foreshadowing what models would soon be seen wearing. The press notes further hinted at the American invasion with this season’s girl touted as she with “a hip hop attitude with a country heart”. Whilst Henry Holland’s semi-eponymous label is often cited for being a little bit tongue-in-cheek, this season’s collection was a heartfelt outputting of support and self-confessed love letter to the US after his road trip there last summer. Some have recently criticised other runway shows as being too political, however, it’s reassuring to see provoking pieces which are somewhat self aware of the bigger picture. “It’s very difficult not to be looking to America at the moment so the collection was kind of my love letter to America. What I wanted to do was celebrate the culture of the country,” said Holland.
Despite the serious side of this collection, as always Holland has provided his unique twist on flirty humor and classic glamour, with checkered cow-girl hats worn with slogan t-shirts in kawaii colors. Sweatshirts too were adorned with Instagram buzzwords like ‘DADDY’ and ‘BITCHES’ in glorious shades of pastel pink and lilac, proving this season’s selection of Ready-to-Wear pieces were just as noteworthy as the nods to the wild west. However, one can hardly look past the stunning array of fringe jackets, and star printed trench coats paired with denim. So much denim. It was as pervasive on the runway as it is in America’s heartland itself. Yet even the jeans were deliciously over the top, I’m talking more specifically about the super-flared jeans which billowed at the bottom.
If you’re wondering where the fabulous shoes came from, look no further than Rocketbuster. They’re a company based in the US creating stunning custom cowboy boots and leather goods in an eccentric brick warehouse in the historic Union Plaza District in downtown El Paso, Texas. Their mantra? "We do it by hand, the old-fashioned way.....it's not fast.... and it's definitely not easy.... but we are always up for the challenge and YES.... We're just that crazy!" I think we could all learn a thing or two from Rocketbuster – especially during these times of uncertainty. The boots came in a range of colours from camo to baby blue (all paired with matching dresses, statement furs and trench coats) as well as classic snakeskin. Admittedly, you’d have to be a little bit mad to create something as crazily good as those cherry emblazoned boots, the flame-licked mules or those amazing guitar themed mid calf boots. Just about shoe we saw on the runway was pure gold, and was worn with such swagger that they in part, helped bring much needed attitude to what could have been a sombre and stifling London Fashion Week.
While many would jump to the conclusion that House of Holland's special guest was the inimitable Kate Bosworth, it was in fact none other than Woody Woodpecker. Yes, the anthropomorphic 70-year-old cartoon bird with the unmistakable laugh. Holland was already well into designing this collection when Universal contacted him to ask if he would like to collaborate on a capsule with the Minions. I think we can all agree that we dodged a bullet, with those little yellow creeps much too common in our day to day lives. Instead, Woody fit well with the aesthetic Holland had already spent so much time working on. "Visually, he fit perfectly because the color palette was already done, but also just stylistically, we wanted to do that element in the collection anyway," he says. "I was really grateful that it was him; it fit and it didn't feel like I had to put a square peg into a round hole for the purposes of a collaboration. It felt very organic."
If there's one thing Holland can do, it's combine two unlikely heroes and make them a match made in heaven. In this case it's Woody Woodpecker and checkerboard print, 90s inspired silhouettes and the era's hip hop artists interpretation of classic cowboy looks. There have been some complaints the Woody Woodpecker collaboration seemed to drag on, however, the bold and brash combination of pimped shaggy shearling jackets worn with fishnet tights and cowboy looks were tempered with more subdued elements. In an ode to the more grungy aesthetic of the 90s, there were dresses accented by a cobweb lace and etched with large fringed stars in muted shades of khaki and mauve.
Images 1-4,8 via House of Holland Twitter, 5-7,16-18 via House of Holland Instagram, 9-15, 19-39 via Vogue.com