It was a battle between the retro and the futuristic on the first day of London Fashion Week.  

The day started with a delightfully retro-futuristic presentation by Newgen designer Sadie Williams. Titled “Off-Piste,” the collection had a skiing theme, with a faux snow-covered mountain installed inside the Institute of Contemporary Arts. Sadie’s signature metallic fabrics and sporty 1960s silhouettes, mixed with primary colours, were ever present. We fell hard for the padded totes with metal buckles as handles – I, for one, would love to swing them about my arm all year round.

The futuristic theme persisted through many other collections on show yesterday. Fyodor Golan took “futuristic” to a whole other level, giving us Venus de Milo prints on shiny fabrics, clashing neon colours, Coca-Cola logo dresses and giant, almost comical frill details.

For shoe designer Charlotte Olympia Dellal’s debut runway show, the future was a rose-tinted vision from the past, as she took inspiration from 1940s sci-fi and film noir. Models slunk around the circular catwalk in North London’s Roundhouse in chic black tuxedo suits and dresses, with sparkly shoes, and playful bags and jewellery that could have come from Ziggy Stardust’s closet.

Some designers chose the comfort of a bit of retro nostalgia with a mix of vintage-inspired fabrics and colours, and old-fashioned  craftsmanship, including Steven Tai. His “Freaky Friday” presentation (in reference to the 1976 film) was full granny chic, with models wearing pastel duster coats, white silk tops and corduroy jackets, while embroidering in rocking chairs. I felt as though I was on a film set – perhaps a Wes Anderson movie referencing Jane Austen and “The Virgin Suicides”?

Alice Archer’s new collection which took inspiration from Kew Gardens looked to the eighteenth century with beautifully lavish floral embroideries on feminine silhouettes, including high-waist pencil skirts and floor-length dresses that will be instant heirlooms.

Ryan Lo’s invitation – showing a soft-focus landscape populated by pandas and bamboo trees – perfectly encapsulated what to expect from his show. The soundtrack to Disney’s “Mulan” played as flower-print eiderdown coats and tulle dresses adorned the catwalk, in a collection strewn with Lo’s romantic, nostalgic take on China.

Another beautiful invitation came from Le Kilt – a label founded by Samantha McCoach in 2014 that applies a modern touch to her family’s kilt-making heritage. This AW16 knitwear collection used an old Scottish weaving technique called Sanquhar – the mohair miniskirts and pleated midi skirts were my personal highlights.

John Smedley’s knitwear also has a storied history, having originated in Lea Mills, in Derbyshire, over 230 years ago. In a distinctly contemporary collection, the casual, loose silhouettes and deliciously deep burgundy hues were a particular highlight.

Two Korean designers, J. JS Lee and Eudon Choi, had catwalk shows yesterday – both featuring clean-cut, expertly tailored clothes that would work beautifully in any professional woman’s wardrobe. At Eudon Choi’s show, unexpected details, such as slits in trousers and knitwear, showcased the designer’s sophisticated play with abstraction. J. JS Lee’s expertise in tailoring and pattern cutting was evident in her AW16 collection, especially in the sleek suiting, coats and separates with abstract surface techniques.

Jersey bodysuits in black, red and white featured in Newgen designer Marta Jakubowski’s autumn collection, “Super Hero.” Citing circus performers as inspiration, Jakubowski displayed some of her creations inside metal cages made by jewellery designer Juliette Van De Kerchove.

Closing the day’s events, the CSM MA show provided a glimpse of fashion’s bright future, which – if the full-on glitter, zany prints and tailored menswear are any guide – proves that while designers are still looking to the past, the present is the perfect place to be.