LONDON, United Kingdom — Ali McGraw’s character in Love Story is one of those cinematic figures that will always be a perennial lodestone for fashion designers and their fall collections. That’s because it’s quintessential American prep — belted tweed coats, tartan skirt, suede boots and cosy-looking turtlenecks. And turtlenecks — any kind of modest dressing, in fact — are right up Emilia Wickstead’s street. So little wonder she looked to the 1970 film for inspiration. The Kiwi designer said that she was also thinking about the character beyond the wardrobe — a bolshie, unapologetic feminist who falls in love — and how she resonates with women who are expressing themselves today more than ever before.
Wickstead transposed many of the movie’s sartorial moments into ladylike iterations without losing their casual feel. What stood out were the sweeping coats: a dramatically full-length houndstooth on, surprisingly buttery plastic leather trenches in white and blue (they’re vegan!), a belted python-print one with puffed sleeves, a turquoise brushed-wool overcoat worn with sweaters tucked into high-waisted jeans. There were also pretty-in-pink dresses that Wickstead is known and loved for — a fuchsia turtleneck one with gathered sleeves; a marshmallow crape number with perfect ruching across the neck and sleeves, a white and blush striped sundress with a shawl draped over. Nipped-in gowns with boating stripes and exaggerated pilgrim collars were less convincing.