19 September 2012
Westwood highlights gala London fashion shows
Lexington Herald Leader reported
London Fashion Week kicked into high gear Sunday, with a hectic day of shows that culminated in Lady Gaga taking a starring turn on celebrity milliner Philip Treacy's catwalk.
Earlier in the day, punk queen Vivienne Westwood upstaged her own models in a finale that saw her strutting down the runway with a climate change slogan T-shirt.
Fashion doesn't get more theatrical than this.
Day Three of London's twice-a-year style extravaganza was packed with runway previews by some of the capital's most popular designers: Westwood, Paul Smith, Jonathan Saunders, Mary Katrantzou and Alice Temperley.
But Lady Gaga, in a hot pink, floor-length shroud, stole the show when she opened her friend Treacy's Michael Jackson-themed comeback show. Treacy, who has designed fanciful hats for Gaga as well as countless royals and celebrities, has not shown at the fashion week for a decade.
Raising her arms and looking up, the pop icon announced: "Ladies and gentlemen, the greatest milliner in the world: Philip Treacy."
She was joined by fellow celebrities Kim Cattrall, Grace Jones, and Nick Cave in the front row at the show, which featured Jackson's legendary stage costumes paired with Treacy's headgear.
The outfits, which included the original red "Thriller" jacket - were lent from a collection held by the King of Pop's costume designers. They are set to be auctioned in California in December.
The spectacle topped a long day of shows that featured onetime punk priestess Westwood, who championed her favorite cause - climate change - as she closed her runway preview.
The orange-haired designer used two models to unfurl a banner proclaiming a climate revolution, then strutted down the catwalk herself in a "Climate Revolution" T-shirt, shorts and makeup that looked as if she had a giant black eye.
"I loved it," former model Jo Wood said. "There was so much there that I wanted. And I love Vivienne as a person. She's the one show I won't miss."
Some of Westwood's severe outfits looked like they were from just before the "Mad Men" era, when U.S. first lady Mamie Eisenhower helped set conservative fashion trends.
Some outfits looked silly, others - evoking the Jackie Kennedy era that came a few years later - appeared wonderfully retro and chic.
Did the ensembles work? Westwood, ever the iconoclast, claimed she simply didn't care, insisting she was only interested in using fashion as a way to air her views on the environment.
Westwood wasn't the only person looking to the '50s and '60s for sizzle and spice. Sophia Loren was the inspiration behind Alice Temperley's London catwalk show Sunday, an elegant concoction of '50s full skirts fit for a royal garden party.
Temperley, a favorite of Kate and Pippa Middleton, said she wanted to update the 1950s couture look and make it accessible.
The designer said the conical hats the models wore exemplified the classic couture feel of the spring collection, which was set in a grand chandeliered hall.
"I wanted to create something modern and sleek, something that gives the feeling of the dream of couture," she said of the hats, which were similar to the style worn by Audrey Hepburn in "Breakfast at Tiffany's."
Working from a soft palette dominated by powder blue and ivory, Temperley showed off flirty, tea-length circle skirts and dresses that accentuated a tiny waist. A theme was skirts with semi-sheer horizontal organza stripes, which Temperley said was to show a bit of leg and make the retro look more fun.
Textures were luxurious and soft with lace, silk, brocade and tulle with flower appliques.
Temperley is best known for her romantic evening and bridal gowns, and is launching a more affordable line at British department store John Lewis.
On Friday, Kate Middleton, now known as the Duchess of Cambridge, wore a Temperley ice blue dress with white lace sleeves to a tea party in Malaysia.
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