Posted by Fashion Junior at Large

 As the shows of London Fashion Week get well under way, I have noticed something decidedly spooky in the air. It seems that in their quest for inspiration, designers have thrown away their sketchbooks and turned to spellbooks instead!

The devil is definitely in the detail with this trend, as Maria Grachvogel sent models out in swathes of draped black silk, with decidely deathly makeup (black lipstick, pallid skin with an ethereal glow) and chunky, talisman-style silver jewellery. A ruff of jet back feathers appeared to have been plucked straight from a raven's back.

Maria Grachvogel AW11
This mysterious theme continued at Bora Aksu,where sheer black chiffon was gathered around heavy stitching which gave the impression of voodoo dolls, accompanied by bandages as hair accessories. This intriguing, severe look has distinct echoes of images of the Salem Witch Trials in Massachusetts, USA in 1692.

Bora Aksu AW11

 Detail of “Salem Witch Trial Courtroom Scene”
© Bettmann/CORBI

The Puritanical fashions of 1692 are obviously having an effect on designers in London today...

My suspicions were further confirmed at PPQ's brilliant show, closing day one of LFW. The Salem inspirations continued, with crisp puffed sleeves, fabric combinations of starched cotton and gothic black velvet, Quaker style high collars and gold buttons, not to mention the spooky cat hats (everyone knows a witch isn't worth her salt unless she has a black Familiar)


It was impossible to miss the style icon that provided the reference for the hair in their show; none other than my childhood heroine, Mildred Hubble, of the Worst Witch books by Jil Murphy. I'd recognise those plaits anywhere.
Mildred Hubble, off for a day at Miss Cackle's Academy for Witches. What a style icon.
We had a feeling something witchy was going on ever since Meadham Kirchoff's show invite dropped through our letterbox. No doubt their Tuesday show will have more spookiness to add to the (cauldron) mix.

Meadham Kirchoff show invite

After day one of the shows, it is clear that this Autumn is going to be the Season of the Witch*.

*No relation to the utterly rubbish Nicolas Cage movie of the same name.