Fashion makes a playdate with Spring
London Fashion Week designers showed their fun side with bondage boots, girly lines and sunny African styles
Orange-haired Vivienne Westwood refused to be pinned down to any one style Sunday, wowing London Fashion Week fans with a strong show marked by its variety and beauty.
The clothes were all different – and for the most part sophisticated and alluring – but the models' makeup all had something very much in common: Blue and other bright colors, streaked on more as a watercolour than as a beauty aid.
"I told the artists to be dangerous, to be expressive, not to be careful, to act like they were painting," said makeup director Gordon Espinet. "I didn't want it to be perfect, I wanted them to express themselves."
The results were impressive, even if the models looked a bit strange after the show walking in London's crowded theatre district with their faces still smeared light blue.
"I just think her work is very beautiful," Baywatch actress Pamela Anderson told The Associated Press after the show. "I love all the short stuff, and the bags. Everything she does is gorgeous, she knows how to dress a woman, that's for sure. I'd rather wear nothing, or Vivienne. She knows how to work it all in."
Anderson said she has a "Vivienne closet" in her home filled with a variety of outfits.
Westwood was showing her Red Label collection for spring and summer of next year. There was no single style: One outfit had ripped leggings and bondage-style boots with oversize straps, others were girlie floral prints, and there was an off-the-shoulder orange and white checked dress with ruffles.
She paired sculpted jackets with hot pants, and used push-up bras on some of her evening dresses to create exaggerated cleavage that would look right in music videos.
Some shoes had unmatched colours and headgear was eccentric, with one model sporting a turban-style piece and another wearing a seemingly solid helmet-style hat that looked to be made of blue shimmering metal.
It was a confident, fun collection. When the show was over, the soundtrack switched to a slow Elvis Presley ballad played at top volume and Westwood strolled out to rapturous applause.
After the show, she sat backstage contentedly. Westwood, who since the 1970s has been among Britain's most prolific designers, said some ideas were based on concepts she developed in the last year, while others went back much farther. She said there were still hundreds of new ideas still left to try out – but for now it was time for a bit of a rest.
"I'm always glad when the show's over," she said.
The setting was the historic Banqueting House in the heart of ceremonial London, but the mood was a racy midsummer's night fantasy Sunday as designer Julien Macdonald unveiled his spring and summer collection for next year.
Many of the outfits seemed to intentionally blur the line between evening wear and boudoir wear as Macdonald used sheer fabrics, cutaways and extreme mini dresses to give his models an ethereal sensuality.
Women in black dresses paraded down the catwalk moments before the show started, arms aloft as they sprayed the air with perfume to help set the proper ambience for the clothes.
The first few models wore frilly, lacy outfits in cream and off white colors, with their hair pulled back. One outfit came with a full-length cape attached. Next came a few bursts of color, including a yellow dress that resembled a baby doll nightgown. Others came in dark blue ensembles.
Macdonald's daring display came on Day Three of London Fashion Week, which has so far been an upbeat affair marked by splashes of colour and originality. He seemed to please the crowd: There was strong applause before and after the show, with supermodel Elle Macpherson zipping backstage afterward to congratulate the designer.
Sun, sand and sea: Matthew Williamson has described his spring/summer 2011 collection as a wardrobe for the shipwrecked.
Sunday's show was all about billowing, dreamy maxi dresses in the colors of sand dunes and tropical waters, thigh-skimming shift dresses in lizard or leopard prints, and khakis and neutrals glammed-up with tribal metal embellishments.
Models wore their hair down and beach tousled. Military green jumpsuits had a relaxed, loose-fitting cut, but gilded copper details, fringed skirts and shoulder bags – as well as killer platform sandals – injected a bit of glamour. It was an understated, luxury look that will no doubt find favour at celebrity cocktail parties.
Television presenter Cat Deely said the show was gorgeous. "I really liked the iridescent snakeskin-like material on the skirts," she said.
The elephant tusk-framed catwalk and tribal soundtrack at Kinder Aggugini's show scream “Out of Africa”, but the jungle theme is surprisingly subtle in his clothes.
Inspired by an early 19th century story about a Scottish explorer's adventures in Africa, the Italian designer's show told the tale starting with prim, tailored suits and pleated skirts in a severe white-brown-black palette before moving on to bright prints, playful headpieces and draped dresses.
Even then, the African colours were understated: Silk maxi dresses were printed in faded, earthy hues of brick red and burnt umber, and safari shirt dresses are black with only a glimpse of leopard print at the shoulder or hem.
Aggunini's punk aesthetic married with the African theme only in the accessories, which included oversized leather hoop earrings and stacked choker necklaces and chunky metal bangles.
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