Style » Fashion

Fashion World Descends on London

by Gregory Katz .
Monday Feb 18, 2019
Matty Bovan at the Autumn/Winter 2019 fashion week runway show in London.
Matty Bovan at the Autumn/Winter 2019 fashion week runway show in London.  (Source:Grant Pollard/Invision/AP)

London is taking its turn in the style spotlight with the opening of London Fashion Week, an extravaganza that will feature up-and-coming young designers along with big names like Victoria Beckham, Vivienne Westwood and Burberry.

More than 100 catwalk shows are scheduled along with countless crowded, fizzy parties and dozens of presentations.

CENTRAL SAINT MARTINS
The students at one of Britain's most renowned art and design colleges — Alexander McQueen and Stella McCartney are but two of Central Saint Martins' famous alumni — put on a rousing show Friday night, using their "final projects" to set out their vision for fashion's future.

The results were anything but predictable and certainly didn't conform to traditional notions of beauty, or even gender. The result was a glorious mix, with some epic fails but more than a few memorable offerings, including menswear with unusual style.

Some of the men wore animal-themed facemasks, gnarly jackets, and off-the-shoulder, diagonally cut tops. Others wore three-quarter length frock coats, Russian style, cinched by bright red belts, or skintight superhero type outfits set off by billowy sleeves.

Womenswear was all over the board, with some bondage style outfits and very revealing, jagged tops. There was a series of brightly colored dresses with cutouts — the colors reminiscent of the Amazon jungle — and a sprinkling of more classic outfits that would have been appropriate in a 1958 edition of Vogue.

The overall effect of the show was tantalizing — so many ideas, so many colors, such a strong desire to flout convention. It's hard to tell who Britain's next breakout star will be, but it's quite possible their work was on display.


Bora Aksu at the Autumn/Winter 2019 fashion week runway show in London.  (Source:Grant Pollard/Invision/AP)

BORA AKSU
The London-based Turkish designer used his catwalk show Friday to display a series of layered, asymmetrical dresses in quiet shades of white, cream and soft blue. Many of the outfits had an ethereal, otherworldly look, set off at times by pale, almost Arctic makeup.

Aksu said the look of his show was inspired by Valentina Tereshkova, a Russian cosmonaut who was the first woman to fly into space. He said he was seeking a "mystical feel" that paid tribute to both her village roots as well as her space travel.

Some of the coats, boxed jackets and puffer jackets were meant to invoke space flight, and the use of iridescent organza and tulle at times gave the show a stratospheric glow. There were fun bomber jackets, some with knit cutouts in the back, and one outfit with multi-colored Nordic-style knit shorts.

Aksu outfitted many of the models in elaborate, butterfly-shaped masks. He only exhibited a handful of more traditionally cut dresses, but several had strong impact, including a purple, floral-themed dress and a few carefully embroidered black outfits.

BREXIT WARNING
London's diverse, up-from-the-streets fashion scene is thriving, generating about 32 billion pounds ($41 billion) last year, but industry leaders warn that Britain's planned exit from the European Union in March could jeopardize the flow of creative people and ideas between continental Europe and Britain.

British Fashion Council chairwoman Stephanie Phair said Friday that Brexit is a chief concern for British designers. She urged the industry to focus on "what is important" for fashion: the free movement of people, tariff-free access to EU countries, and intellectual property rights.


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