Unfazed by the London subway attack, celebrities, models and fashion editors flocked to London Fashion Week on Saturday to celebrate all things stylish.
Designers showcasing their latest visions included luxury heritage brand Burberry, fashion week veteran Jasper Conran and rising star Simone Rocha.
Remember the Burberry check, so ubiquitous and widely copied in the early 2000s that it became a fashion faux pas? It’s back this season, in a big way.
The vintage brown check is everywhere on Burberry’s new season runway: on baseball caps, oversized tote bags and belted coats for both men and women. And that’s just one of many themes designer Christopher Bailey featured this season. There’s tartan, reimagined military coats and riding shirts, plastic outerwear, sheer embroidered dresses, plus cosy pink faux fur coats.
If that sounds like a lot, it was deliberately meant to be so. Bailey said he wanted to celebrate the “sheer glorious eccentricity of the British way of dressing,” and delivered an unexpectedly sassy, street-wise mix of a collection in an 18th-century London courthouse, a fitting venue with its raw exposed walls and huge chandeliers.
The opening look had it all: Brown check baseball cap, pastel turquoise plastic raincoat, patchwork print knits, worn with a single huge earring.
Everything was worn with an air of “anything goes” insouciance — a delicate embroidered gown is paired with a loose T-shirt or slouchy scarf — and there is a throwaway sexiness in a tartan skirt that, when the model turns around, reveals the back was sheer plastic. Bailey said he had his models tell him if they liked the outfits, and adjust them if they felt they were “too done or too sophisticated.”
Supermodels Kate Moss and Naomi Campbell were among those who turned up for the show, which was staged together with — and inspired by — an exhibition of 20th-century photography showing portraits of British life.
Guests attending Burberry’s catwalk show have found their usual red carpet welcome replaced by heckling protesters.
Several dozen animal rights activists made a loud racket on Saturday outside the luxury brand’s show venue in London’s Clerkenwell area, crowding around the entrance and shouting “Shame on London Fashion Week!”
Some held devices showing animal cruelty videos and others held placards reading “Fur is passe.”
Police and security guards ended up forming two human chains to allow guests, including US Vogue editor Anna Wintour, to enter and exit the show.
While Burberry isn’t known to use more fur than other designers, it was likely targeted because it typically stages London Fashion Week’s most high-profile shows.
What to wear to counter the fickle, wet weather that England is so famous for? Jasper Conran has the answer: cheerful, bright rain macs and sheer sport-luxe outfits with colours plucked straight from the crayon box.
Conran, who heads a design and retail empire of everything from wallpaper to a hotel, chose a thirst-quenching palette on Saturday for his show at London Fashion Week. Vivid hues of cobalt clashed with yellow, chartreuse and grapefruit pink, balanced with shades of earthy mustard and warm ochre.
Anoraks and lightweight bomber jackets were layered over see-through dresses and separates. Conran made sure to keep things feminine by pairing the sporty clothes with ladylike handbags and pretty sandals.
Simone Rocha, one of London’s closely-watched emerging young talents, chose an austere wood-panelled hall with stained glass windows for her quirky take on childhood fantasies and innocence.
Models wore clothes that piled on everything a young girl may wish for her dolls: miles of elaborate white ruffles and Victorian lace, adorned with bows, pearls and sparkly embroidered flowers.
Some models even clutched slouchy bags like a child would cuddle its blanket comforter.
But Rocha nicely offset the saccharine bows and pearls with modern, sculptural silhouettes and clumpy, conventionally ugly shoes like “flatforms” and furry pool sliders.