LONDON – Fashionistas struggled to stay dry and composed Sunday as driving wind and rain hit London Fashion Week, but the miserable weather wasn’t the only thing that caused some to lose their cool.
Reality TV star and model Kendall Jenner whipped up a mini storm as she arrived for Topshop Unique’s show, trailing dozens of paparazzi and fans desperate for a glimpse of her. Elsewhere, designers including Vivienne Westwood, Pringle of Scotland and Jonathan Saunders showcased their latest designs.
Some highlights from Day 3:
PUNK AND POLITICS AT VIVIENNE WESTWOOD
Vivienne Westwood displayed mannish tweed coats, beautifully tailored jackets and draped dresses, her signature tartan and lots of animal print. But that’s not what she wanted to talk about.
The grand dame of British fashion has one message for her guests, and it’s written loud and clear on her show invitation: Vote Green.
The flame-haired designer, 73, has a reputation for using her fashion shows to promote causes dear to her heart, from campaigning for WikiLeaks chief Julian Assange to protesting against fracking (a controversial method of extracting natural gas.)
Moments before her show opened Sunday, Westwood railed backstage about capitalism and inequality. She told The Associated Press that mainstream British politics was a shambles, and the only party worth voting for, come election day in May, was the small, left-wing Green Party.
“It’s the only vote that’s non-wasted,” she said.
On the runway, the attitude was just as feisty: Westwood had her models don spiky hairdos, and some wore huge chokers with silver chains and harnesses. All sported bright eccentric makeup consisting of red paint dabbed across their faces.
Front row guests included actresses Noomi Rapace and Gwendoline Christie, of Game of Thrones fame.
KENDALL, CARA COSY UP
Sometimes the off-stage action at a show can draw as many camera lightbulbs as its runway – if not more.
Kendall Jenner, of Keeping Up with the Kardashians reality TV fame and a budding model, attracted reporters and fellow guests like a magnet when she appeared at Topshop Unique’s front row. She squeezed next to the retail giant’s boss Phillip Green, and the two were soon joined by model Cara Delevingne, who rocked up with her own entourage at the last minute.
The trio huddled close to chat and laugh throughout, and brought traffic outside the venue to a standstill as they left amid a melee of scrambling photographers.
PARTY ON, RETRO STYLE AT TOPSHOP UNIQUE
From the periwinkle blue corduroy trouser suit to the shiny dark green leather coat, this Topshop collection is made for a good party – and a retro one at that.
The British retailer, which specializes in fast, fun fashion, opened with a luxurious version of the hardy duffel coat, trimmed with thick fur at the cuffs and collar. Then came a series of retro pieces: sleek flared trousers, pinafore dresses, leather mini skirts in coffee and green, and plenty of chocolate plaid. With fashion’s current obsession with all things ’60s and ’70s, it’d be hard to avoid brown and autumnal shades come the new season.
The party dresses that came at the finale were more modern: Black cocktail numbers with a subtle sheen, adorned with puffs of playful ostrich feathers.
PRINGLE CELEBRATES 200TH BIRTHDAY
Few fashion houses get to celebrate its 200th anniversary, and fewer can boast of evolving as much as Pringle, the Scottish brand best known for its diamond-patterned cardigans.
The brand, now a luxury knitwear company with stores around the world, traces its origins back to the pre-Victorian era, when it started as a humble manufacturer of hosiery and underwear — long johns, in today’s parlance.
The company told its story in an exhibition launched Sunday, displaying historic pieces from a pair of 1920s “gentlemen’s silk and wool trunk drawers” to its famous twinsets, worn by everyone from Queen Elizabeth II to Brigitte Bardot.
A runway show of its latest designs brought things back to the present, with models wearing understated dresses, capes, vests — and of course, sweaters — all in a pared-down palette of black, nude and oxblood.
Most items were knitted, and the devil’s in the detail. Wool came in a huge variety of rich and innovative textures, from cable knits to oversized braids and leaf patterns — and there was not a twinset in sight.