A week of hellos and goodbyes
Queen Elizabeth II has always dressed with style and flair — but Tuesday marked her first visit to the showy catwalks of London Fashion Week.
The monarch squeezed in the front row, chatting with American Vogue editor Anna Wintour and presented an award recognizing British design excellence.
It was an unusual outing for the 91-year-old monarch, who seemed totally at ease at the type of event usually frequented by stars like Kate Moss and Sienna Miller.
She was elegant in an Angela Kelly duck egg blue tweed dress and jacket detailed with tiny aquamarine Swarovski crystals set off by formal black gloves. She carried a matching handbag and wore her mostly white hair swept back.
The royal family has often hosted Fashion Week receptions but the new award — and the queen’s visit — added a new dimension to its support.
The recipient was Richard Quinn, a recent fashion graduate of Central Saint Martins who started his own label in 2016 and has quickly earned recognition as part of the next wave of talented young British designers.
From classic check baseball caps to shell suits, Christopher Bailey raided the Burberry archive for his collection at London Fashion Week, while looking to the future with the rainbow flag.
The affection was for Bailey, who is leaving Burberry later this year after serving as creative director and chief executive. His final show was a milestone for him and for the company he helped revive. He dedicated his farewell show to organizations that support the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities.
“There has never been a more important time to say that in our diversity lies our strength and our creativity,” Bailey said.
It was part fashion show, part performance art and part laser lighting display. It ended with Bailey walking down the fog-filled runway to a prolonged standing ovation from a crowd that included Kate Moss, Sienna Miller and Chelsea Clinton.
“It was exquisite,” said Miller, near tears moments after the show. “It was brave and it was political and it was beautiful.”
Christopher Kane went “old school” for his London Fashion Week show with a collection that overtly referenced two 1970s classics: “The Joy of Sex” and “More Joy of Sex” books.
“I have never shied away from sex in the collections and this one is no different,” said Kane. “Since the beginning, I have found it fundamental to our idea of women. Women with their own power who create their own worlds.”
Anyone who missed the point was reminded by the none-too-subtle voiceover on the soundtrack encouraging people to experience more joy, more play and more sex.
Many of Kane’s dresses were semi-sheer and lacy, in simple but effective blacks and reds, along with some relatively demure knitwear, including an impressive deep purple dress. Kane made very effective use of black set off with silver, as well as primarily black outfits that seemed to shimmer with color.
Pants were sometimes ripped or had fabric cut out and some blouses and dresses sported horizontal “peekaboo” slits.
Mulberry and its creative director, Johnny Coca, titled the spring and summer collection “Beyond Heritage” to emphasize that it’s a modern house capable of innovation and surprise — even though the impressive show was built on English archetypes, including garden parties, Ladies’ Day at Ascot and other traditions of the summer season.
It was a fun, breezy show, even despite being staged in Spencer House, a grand 18th-century mansion in the posh St James district.
The collection made stunning use of imaginative statement hats, even if a few were literally over the top and obscured the models’ eyes. Many were simply spectacular, angular and birdlike, and added a touch of whimsy, and more than a few inches of stature, to the outfits.
Many of the ensembles were more revealing than would be worn at a typical garden party — with sheer bodices or very low cut fronts — but there were a few more classical dresses that would fit in well at Buckingham Palace.