LONDON (AP) — Dozens of designers showcased their latest creations Sunday at London Fashion Week, from retail giant Topshop and leather goods brand Mulberry to British design’s grand dame Vivienne Westwood and Alexander McQueen, which made a highly-anticipated return from Paris to the hometown of its late designer.
Some highlights from Day 3 of London Fashion Week:
MCQUEEN RETURNS TO LONDON
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The Alexander McQueen brand is back on the runways of London, the birthplace and hometown beloved of its late designer.
For the first time in more than a decade, the label, now headed by designer Sarah Burton, moved its womenswear display from its usual home in Paris to London Fashion Week.
Sunday evening’s showcase opened with a series of tough black leather ensembles embroidered with large shimmering butterflies, lip motifs and stopwatches — as if Alice in Wonderland was playing dress up.
Then came sharply tailored cream-and-black tuxedo jackets, and black feather skirts layered over flared trousers. That was followed by a flurry of barely-there lingerie and boudoir-inspired dresses: Frilly numbers with daring cutouts at the chest, slips with sheer-tiered skirts, corsets worn over delicate pieces.
Burton dialled up the decadence for the show’s last section, sending models out in the sheerest evening gowns and capes dripping with sparkly crystals and dazzling embroidery. Luxurious fur-trimmed capes completed the look, and the last outfit — a feather concoction of a gown — was pure glamor.
ELEGANCE, WHIMSY ON DISPLAY AT VIVIENNE WESTWOOD
Only the much-celebrated Vivienne Westwood, it seems, could pack a large fashion venue with a wildly appreciative crowd even though the invitation warns that humans face mass extinction if they don’t move to a green-based economy.
It’s politics and fashion as usual for Westwood, who has been sounding the alarm about climate change for many years, using her fashion shows as a springboard for her political concerns.
Westwood’s politics may be apocalyptic but her clothes are pure fun, and her makeup artists, hair stylists and accessories gurus add a warm, playful touch, including a number of burgundy porkpie hats.
The show Sunday had no single theme, leaning more toward a greatest hits collection. There were slouchy dresses and loose fitting jackets that gave their models an androgynous, Charlie Chaplin look. Other jackets looked like comfortable duvets. To top it off there were magnificent evening gowns, including one showstopper with a silver metallic glint at the top and a flouncy billowing look at the bottom.
It was another triumph for Westwood, who emerged with her models to loud applause.
HEAVEY METAL MAKEOVER AT MULBERRY
British fashion house Mulberry has given its famous handbags a heavy metal makeover, adding rivets and chains as part of a Shakespearean-themed collection at London Fashion Week.
Structure was the byword at Sunday’s show, with buttons, exposed stitching, shoulder-to-ankle slits and strong lines dominating the collection. Tudor-style frills and ruffs – as well as a dark, sparkly coat that shone like a moonless night – added a much-needed element of mystery.
This being Mulberry, all eyes were on the company’s trademark handbags, accessories whose appeal has faded a bit of late. New designer Johnny Coca appeared to be banking on his customers having some powerful biceps.
Although some Mulberry bags were small and minimal, with an unfinished look unlikely to get much attention beyond the fashion set, others were rectangular or severe-looking, with large chunky chains that might have seen better use as bicycle locks.
The metal wasn’t too much for Canadian designer Amber Hickson, who watched the show from a stand set up in London’s medieval Guildhall.
These bags “are for women who want to make a statement,” she said. “They can hear you coming.”
AHOY ME LASS! TEMPERLEY DO PIRATES
Pirates and sailors’ tattoos aren’t the most natural places to look for inspiration for elegant fashion.
But Temperley London managed to pull it off, with a new collection of supremely feminine, delicate outfits recalling everything from a wench’s tiered skirt to a captain’s frilly blouse and embroidered cape.
Designer Alice Temperley set the stage with a dark venue dominated by dramatic wooden ship masts draped with twinkly lights. Models wore clothes that perfectly matched the marine theme, though sometimes a tad too literally — some of the ensembles featured pussy bows, pantaloons and military jackets.
But sheer dresses embroidered densely with tattoo motifs— roses, hearts and birds— worked well and looked refined despite the source material, while cool studded rocker boots kept things modern.
FUNKY BOOTS AT TOPSHOP UNIQUE
Fur-trimmed biker jackets, super miniskirts, slinky little party dresses: Topshop Unique delivered all the hallmarks of its youthful, cool girl look. But the main lesson for shoppers may be this: It’s time to invest in a pair of funky ’70s disco boots.
Unlike the ubiquitous ankle boot, these are pointy, go up to the calves and come in eye-catching materials and colors like yellow velvet, bronze or white leather. Combined with grungy big hair and bright pink lipstick, the models look ready for a hell-raising night out on the town.
As for the clothes, it’s all about being chic in a nonchalant, seemingly thrown-together way. So a mustard outfit in fluid fabrics is worn layered with an oversized granny jumper, and a leopard print top and sheer fuchsia lace skirt get covered up by a slouchy big coat.
The evening wear looked particularly flattering and included a black velvet wide-leg trouser ensemble and floaty, slip-like black gowns with a thigh-high slit and matching velvet collar.
Models Lara Stone and Karlie Kloss were among those squeezed into the front row along with Topshop boss Philip Green and Vogue editor Anna Wintour.
Associated Press writers Raphael Satter and Gregory Katz contributed.