clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

All Hail to British Fashion

Racked is no longer publishing. Thank you to everyone who read our work over the years. The archives will remain available here; for new stories, head over to, where our staff is covering consumer culture for The Goods by Vox. You can also see what we’re up to by signing up here.

From the Queen's anniversary of 60 years on the throne to the one-year anniversary of Will and Kate, AND the summer Olympics, this has been a big year for England. Additionally, the theme for this year's Macy's Glamorama is the British Invasion. The country has been thrust into the spotlight for better or worse. But we know one thing good that's come out of all this Brit-mania, and it's the fashion. Normally, Italy and France gain all the notoriety when it comes to fashion, but British designers are truly the bee's knees. With their edgy style, we want to pay homage to the best of European fashion, whose provenance is just across the pond. The fashion world is still reeling over the 2010 death of genius designer Alexander McQueen. He epitomized what's come to be known as flagship Brit style: tough, but ladylike. Though he's no longer here, the torch has been passed to a worthy successor and McQueen's longtime assistant, Sarah Burton. Burton even had the distinguished honor of designing Kate Middleton's wedding gown.

Amanda Wakeley is not a household name like McQueen (yet), but her designs are worthy of a mention. Her specialty seems to be in flattering cocktail and evening wear that moves with and accentuates a woman's body.

The quintessential British lines of Burberry and Burberry Prorsum (meaning "forward") never disappoint. Brit lines are known for their streamlined tailoring, dating all the way back to the early days of Savile Row, and the Burberry lines are no exception. From a basic trench with novacheck lining to a sheer silk-crepe gown, Burberry's versatility can outfit any style and personality.

RELATED: Burberry Bonanza 2012

A shoe is a statement-making piece all its own, and Charlotte Olympia's heels make THE statement. Her whimsical shoes are just as iconic as a red sole, with their fun prints, tall slim heel and exposed platform can be spotted a mile away.

The vertiginious heights and architectural shapes of Nicholas Kirkwood's heels have us wondering whether he was an architecture student in another life (or this one). He is incomparable when it comes to shoe design.

Preen is a newish line out of London in the last few years, and has taken the world by storm with their ability to colorblock in a timeless way, and their use of prints and delicate ladylike fabrics such as lace.

Though Roksanda Ilincic is not British, though she's based out of London, she's gotten British tailoring down to a T, having graduated from Central St. Martin's, the British design school that produces some of the world's best. Her signature is light draping and asymmetry in a style that's more ladylike than rough.

Former Spice Girl and David Beckham's missus, Victoria Beckham, is a fashion star in her own right. She's inspired by the 40s tailoring of Roland Mouret, so her pieces tend toward those types of feminine shapes. The lady certainly has an eye.

Vivienne Westwood is the grand dame of British fashion, in our opinion. She doesn't follow anyone's rules except her own. Luxurious fabrics, asymmetry, draping and British tailoring are de rigueur in every aspect of her three lines: Anglomania, Red Label and Gold Label.

As you can tell, the Brits have a stronghold on this industry, and when we're going to our next fabulous event, we're going to choose one of these fabulous designers to stun the crowd.


633 N Michigan Avenue, Chicago, Illinois 60606