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London Fashion Week: behind the scenes with RIXO founders Henrietta Rix and Orlagh McCloskey

They previewed their AW23 collection 'Goddess of the Nile' on February 20 at the Booking Office 1869.

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Lauren Ramsay
Lauren RamsayOnline Writer
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Rixo’s journey from its 2015-founded origins to present day is formidable. The vintage-inspired brand has established a cult following thanks to its reputation for bold yet timeless modus-operandi that outlives trends; their inclusive, contemporary take on British fashion, and preserving their most coveted silhouettes from season to season. Not to mention a royal seal of approval from the Princess of Wales.

The brand founded by Henrietta Rix and Orlagh McCloskey has gone from strength to strength since their debut London Fashion Week show in 2018. Henrietta admits preparing for London Fashion week season after season is ‘challenging’, but the two are experts at going above and beyond with their apparel. She explained “we style all the lookbooks and Fashion Week shows ourselves, so Rixo imagery always feels true to our DNA.” They were the only designers to showcase an inclusive size range at LFW SS23 last September.

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Rixo's AW23 catwalk and presentation of 'Goddess of the Nile' 

It’s a monumental year for the London-based duo who’ve been awarded numerous accolades over the last eight years, including Premium Brand of the Year at Drapers Awards in November 2018, and featuring on the eminent Forbes 30 Under 30 list in March 2020. 

Hello! Fashion caught up with Henrietta and Orlagh to discuss all things LFW, inspiration behind their latest collection ‘Goddess of the Nile’, style predictions for AW23 and inside details of their flagship store opening on the King’s Road this April (FYI: it includes a bar…)

What was the inspiration behind the new collection?

Orlagh: “We drew inspiration from the techniques, symbols and colours found in ancient Egyptian times and used this inspiration to build out the key prints in the collection. Rixo is a vintage-inspired brand, and as always, vintage inspiration runs throughout – whether it’s something found at Portobello Market or seen on Kate Moss. We took some key elements of ancient Egypt and combined it with our brand DNA so you’ll see lots of true Rixo elements.

This collection is all about bringing the focus back to what Rixo does best – amazing feel-good pieces at great value. We create special pieces for big moments for our customers, whether that’s weddings, job interviews, important meetings or first dates, this collection is filled with Rixo true-occasion staples.”

Rixo doesn’t focus on trends, how do the themes of this season differ from the last?

Orlagh: “We have predicted opulence and glamour for AW23. We pictured our wearers out enjoying themselves whilst designing the collection. I’m excited for our #humansofRIXO to feel confident and empowered whilst wearing the collection.”

How would you style your favourite pieces from the new collection?

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The Samira dress, AW23

Henrietta: “The metallic print Samira, the perfect party season piece for a black-tie ball or Christmas party. I’d style it with metallic heels and a sleek bun.”

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The Kiki dress, AW23

Orlagh: “The Kiki – the shape is inspired by a style Kate Moss has previously worn and the print is a new fun, conversational print, a true Rixo take on Egyptian hieroglyphics. I would style with black platform heels and vintage jewellery.”

Why is it important for you to have an inclusive size range?

Orlagh: “We want all women of all ages and stages of life to feel good and empowered whilst wearing our clothes. Fit is so important to us and working with specialists in the extended sizing space has helped us perfect the fit across our collections. It's taken a few years, but we wanted to make sure it was right. Rixo is all about making women feel amazing, and we hope even more #humansofrixo feel the best version of themselves whilst wearing our pieces.”

How do you want people to feel wearing the new collection?

Orlagh: As always, our mission at Rixo is to empower people to feel the best version of themselves in our clothes and this collection is no different. We’ve gone back to our roots and core brand DNA with this collection with ‘true occasion’ pieces and gowns which will hopefully make the wearers feel incredible and glamorous. 

What’s the most challenging part of preparing for LFW?

Henrietta: There’s such an excitement and buzz over London Fashion Week, it’s a busy time but we love the chaos! Securing all our models and casting is challenging as you get girls confirmed the day before so it’s hard to be as fully prepared as you’d like! 

How important has LFW been to the progression of the brand?

Henrietta: London Fashion Week is a great way of showcasing our new collections to international press, buyers and influencers that attend. It acts as an incredible global platform, and we noticed a big difference after our first show in 2018. 

What does it mean to you to be a part of LFW?

Henrietta: There are always so many other amazing brands that show at London Fashion Week, so it really feels like a pinch-me moment to be part of it.  It’s always so nice to catch up with the international press, buyers and influencers that come to our presentation, both existing and new contacts, and we love seeing our collections come to life. 

How do both of your individual styles complete the RIXO brand?

Henrietta: Our styles are pretty similar; we love layering vintage with our Rixo pieces and mixing prints up in a relaxed way. We style all the lookbooks and Fashion Week shows ourselves, so Rixo imagery always feels true to our DNA.

Orlagh: We’ve always loved going to vintage flea markets, especially when we’re travelling. We love finding one of a kind pieces which we can take inspiration from for our collections.

What else can we expect from Rixo in 2023?

Henrietta: There are so many exciting things to come in 2023. Our 5,000 square ft flagship store opens on the King’s Road this April, which will be the true House of Rixo! It will have the full Rixo collection (RTW, bridal, bridesmaid and accessories), a coffee shop, bar, Rixo re-loved and a true vintage collection, curated by Orlagh and myself. We can’t wait to open the doors.

We recently moved away from selling weekly drops, in favour of monthly drops. We wanted to encourage our customers to buy less and wear more, launching our collections in one go allows them to see exactly what is available this month and choose their purchases more wisely, rather than buying something new every week. It’s important for us to set an example of not over consuming, Rixo pieces are special purchases.

We’re also excited to launch a new Bridal and Bridesmaid collection in April as well as an incredible Spring Summer collection, it’s such an exciting year for the brand.

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