The Look for Next Spring: Ladylike With a Subversive Streak

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A lady in the streets, but a freak in the sheets? Every fashion capital has its own distinct look, and the dominant mood floating around London is all-out femininity spiked with a sexy, subversive streak.

Simone Rocha and Molly Goddard are two must-see designers known for making frothy, utterly romantic confections that have a girlish charm—but are hardly virginal. Edie Campbell opened Goddard’s Spring show in a full-skirted white cotton dress with an off-kilter empire waist. Innocent enough, but she was dragging on an e-cigarette and clutching a glass of wine, her eyes smudged with kohl (leftover from the night before?).

There was something similarly twisted about Rocha’s latest collection inspired by the china dolls she played with growing up, which she’d dress in Victorian gowns then throw down the stairs. That naughty attitude came across in layers of gossamer tulle (all the better to show off frilly underpinnings) and vertiginous, lipstick red platforms for a femme fatale.

Nobody toes the line between whimsical and provocative like Christopher Kane. The designer was in peak form this season with a surreptitiously kinky lineup, which suggested a dutiful housewife who harbors a fetish. Black patent jackets gave off a dominatrix vibe, but were tampered with a doily lace collar and cuffs. A cheeky print of a woman’s bum appeared on t-shirt dresses etched in ruffles. Sheer floral dresses revealed a side glimpse of a thong for an effect that was pretty yet perverse.

Below, we’ve rounded up the top looks that capture London’s sexy-sweet trend.

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