London Fashion Week roared into its fourth day on Monday with Christopher Kane showing his signature sexy style, Erdem emphasising retro glamour and Emilia Wickstead giving modern women outfits meant for dancing, nightlife and fun.
In previous days, the spring-summer 2018 womenswear shows in the British capital saw the return of Giorgio Armani, Burberry reviving and emphasising its traditional plaid and Versace pushing the edge of its rock chick look.
Industry icon Giorgio Armani had not displayed in London for 11 years, an eternity in the world of fashion, ending his hiatus to celebrate the label’s renovated flagship London store in the upscale Mayfair neighbourhood.
The spring-summer 2018 show at Tobacco Dock, a former tobacco warehouse, was marked by light and playful creations including a lightweight windbreaker with printed crab design, small, round-collared dresses, pastel-coloured ensembles and flowing pants.
The label described the collection as embodying “freedom as lightness of being and eclecticism of appearance”.
The Italian fashion giant, more accustomed to the Milan catwalks, has around 3,000 points of sale worldwide, which the group is trying to consolidate.
Armani, 83, said he had chosen London “for its dynamism, energy and cosmopolitanism”.
Fellow fashion giant Tommy Hilfiger was to arrive in Britain on Tuesday in another coup for Fashion Week, which has always boasted audacious young designers but sometimes lacked big-name appeal.
Their presence is “proof that our city is an international crossroads of creativity and culture”, said Caroline Rush, director of the British Fashion Council.
It is also a positive sign for the British economy, which is on uncertain foundations ahead of its departure from the European Union.
Earlier, Versus Versace stuck to its roots with a daring and provocative show, a daring appetiser ahead of Armani’s return.
Versus, the Italian brand’s laid-back line, transformed the city’s Central Saint Martins college, a hub of British design talent, into a temporary nightclub for its 2018 spring-summer collection, with bass-heavy electro music booming from a giant wall of speakers.
The collection celebrated the mini and the transparent, the provocative and the daring, with short dresses in mesh worn over the top of black bikinis and low-waist shorts with printed chain designs.
The label remained faithful to its cherished black, which it embellished with lime green earrings, handbags and belts with geometric and mottled prints of American classic cars.
“Versus is about individuality, bravery and pleasure. This is for everyone who dares to express themselves in everything they do,” said chief designer Donatella Versace.
On a more demure note, Versus presented a range of comfortable trousers, jackets and dresses in grey tartans, enlivened by flashes of bright colours.
The show was also the occasion to present the Gianni Versace scholarship for students of Central Saint Martins.
“It is with great pleasure that we are funding a yearly scholarship at the College as a tribute to my brother Gianni, and in his memory we wanted to nurture the creators of tomorrow,” Versace said.
“Central Saint Martins educates and trains some of the best talents in the world of fashion and many of their alumni have come to work with me over years.”
But not everyone is so enthused by the event’s success, with dozens of animal rights protesters holding noisy demonstrations since Friday.
Many gathered before the Versus show chanting “You have blood on your hands” and demanding a ban on labels that use fur.
The Fashion Council said that it “does not dictate what designers can or cannot design” but encouraged designers to “work with reputable organisations that supply ethically sourced fur”.
Christopher Kane mixed it all up Monday at London Fashion Week, showing a wide array of outfits, with some emphasising florals to others that were sheer, lacy and revealing.
He described the show as built on “ideas of the prime and the perverse” — referencing 1940s housecoats, using lingerie as outerwear and creating a new silhouette that blended the 1940s with the 1970s.
The outfits used strong colours — reds, pinks and yellows, among other hues — and showed off whimsical touches, including ones that seemed to be held together by metallic clothes pins.
The celebrity filled audience loved it.
“I loved it being so English, being about washing machines and clothes pegs and everything like that,” top hatmaker Stephen Jones said. “British. Domestic.”
Actress Salma Hayek called Kane’s new collection sexy and appreciated the “slip dresses that were so feminine.”
“It was great,” she said. “It was glittery romantic, but at the same time it had drama and sophistication and not too sweet, sweet, sweet. You know, it has a little bit of a punch. And sexy, sexy.”
Canada-born designer Erdem Moralioglu has turned the Old Selfridges Hotel into a glamorous speakeasy for his London Fashion Week show.
With song classics Stormy Monday and My Funny Valentine playing in the background, the Erdem fashion house displayed glamorous, full-length evening gowns with long jewelled gloves and sparkly accessories.
Many outfits had floral themes and remarkable detailing, adding to the show’s exuberance and opulence. Some even had feathers carefully attached. The palette embraced bold greens, pale pinks and yellow, strongly using colours throughout. There was no hiding behind solid black for Erdem.
While many designers are showing more and more skin, Erdem opted for a subtle celebration of feminine beauty. There were some sheer and lacy outfits, but most were more modest, with either high necklines or sweetheart ones.
The effect was entrancing. Nostalgia was in the air — the programme featured a photograph of Queen Elizabeth II meeting Duke Ellington in 1958 — and the dramatic presentation artfully evoked the Big Band era.
Emilia Wickstead’s show was high on romance and freedom, a celebration of femininity and possibility.
It opened with beautiful black-and-white ensembles with white tops that were almost completely sheer. Later outfits included elegantly draped, almost classical gowns that evoked ancient Greece.
Wickstead set off her signature ultra-high waisted trousers with a white quilted mini-dress, a floral playsuit and oversized white hats. Several looks were asymmetrical and the entire show had a dreamy, fantasy feel.
“It was all about the bows and the ties and just kind of a happy, elated feeling,” Wickstead said backstage after the show. “I like to keep things very pretty. That’s what I love to do. The trousers were quintessential high-waisted, they were loose. It felt you could dance, you could play, you could have a great time. That’s my modern woman.”