Review of KNWLS

Spring 2022 Fashion Show

Review of KNWLS Spring 2022 Fashion Show

Nostalgia, debauchery and a heavy hit of adrenaline at KNWLS

By Anna Ross

A throbbing baseline reverberated around the underbelly of a dimly lit car park in the heart of central London, setting the scene for Charlotte Knowles and Alexandre Arsenault’s first independent show with KNWLS, having been previously represented by fashion incubator Fashion East. 

“Adrenaline” felt like an apt title for the KWLS girl, who stomped ferociously between the shadows as if emerging from the after party of a London warehouse rave.

Brazen, brash and beautifully dishevelled, tendrils of handkerchief chiffon dresses danced around the ankles of sheer flared pants slung low around the hip, offset with the arching frame of sensuous bodysuits, revealing a heart-racing hip to waist ratio.

Now a KNWLS signature, bustiers, bralettes and bodysuits came cut in sinuous, body-skimming lines, offered in contrasting checks and barely-there sheers, sometimes framed with clouds of mesh creating an off-piste elegance against the disarray.

Hardened textures gave these girls their grit; doming cracked leather bomber jackets looked like they’d seen a party or three, while grease flecked silks and weather-beat and bleached denim looked straight out of a 90’s thrift shop.

Indeed, the 90’s lexicon came out in full force, spotted in the Cavalli-esque lace up tops, python prints and bohemian head scarves, while shrunken accessories made one reminiscent of Tom-Ford-esque-Gucci.

Thrown into the melting pot for (very) good measure; Western references were cited throughout, from the desert soaked browns and dusty golds of the collection’s palette, to the knowingly dipped cowboy hats by Anja Maye, perfect for hiding the signs of a night of debauchery. Elsewhere, a collaboration with jewellery Marco Panconesi saw giant, glistening, cascading earrings and bangles catching the light of the sunrise, while snake-eyed sunglasses came licked in sustainable acrylic, developed in collaboration with Andy Wolf. More is definitely more, when it comes to accessorizing a KNWLS girl. 

As the crowd left, there was an energy in the air that encapsulated what it meant to be back and a live venue at London Fashion Week.

The aftermath felt akin to leaving a gig; heart racing, blood pumping and certainly, full of adrenaline.