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Evening Standard
Evening Standard
Joe Bromley

Priya Ahluwalia charts her life in music with symphonic AW23 collection

To the sound of live jazz piano, a saxophonist and score that flittered seamlessly from Sadie’s Kiss of Life to Lauryn Hill’s Miseducation Of, the Saturday of London Fashion Week began.

Ahluwalia took over a restored concert hall on St John’s Smith Square, which was formerly a baroque church, and was a fitting pair to her AW23 collection titled Symphony.

Ahluwalia AW23 (Stefan Knauer)

The soundtrack, mixed by Woodgran studio, and brought to life by performers Solaaris and Insxght, was a nod to the men’s and womenswear that followed. “What would the soundtrack to my life look like?” was Priya Ahluwalia’s starting point for a collection that, more than anything, felt like a consolidation of the her brand.

“Now we are seven or eight seasons in, we’ve found the things people react really well to,” the designer of Indian and Nigerian heritage said post show. And the signature Ahluwalia pieces were all there.

Ahluwalia AW23 (Stefan Knauer)

Wave panelled suit jackets met saturated pink and red corduroy mini dresses, and bright orange, striped knitted collared maxis on the checkerboard floor. Along with the men’s sporty quarter zip shirts and tracksuit bottoms, the labels loyal followers will have plenty to stock up on.

New this season were the gradient style prints made from the sound waves of the tracks Ahluwalia chose to highlight. “I Will Always Love You by Whitney Houston is one, because my Mum always says it was on when I was born so she always cries when she hears it,” she says.

Ahluwalia AW23 (Stefan Knauer)

There was an out-out atmosphere to the whole affair, as well. Uplifting beats made Arlo Parks, Munya Chawawa and Leigh-Anne Pinnock bounce on the front row, and a standout, denim panelled skirt and train was made for a Britney-referencing red carpet moment.

And for the first time, Ahulwalia shoes finished each look. “I feel like we are levelling up in all areas,” she says. “We designed the heels so I could make a look head to toe for the first time ever.”

Ahluwalia AW23 (Stefan Knauer)

A Zebra print belt with bulky silver A logos will be the entry level, cult purchase when they hit shops later this year, though. “We’ve started using the A more, because there often isn’t space for the whole logo,” she says. “And with the A belts - I want to get to the point it evokes recognition in the street.”

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