Topshop, Vivienne Westwood showcase at London Fashion Week

Staff Writer
Columbus Monthly

LONDON (AP) — The sun came out for an unseasonable warm autumn day as London Fashion Week heated up Sunday with a busy line up of runway shows from Topshop and Vivienne Westwood, among others. Here are some of the highlights from Day 3:



Giant polka dots, leopard print, fur stoles: The '80s are back at Topshop Unique.

The label, which is the retail giant's higher-end line, sent models down the catwalk with a youthful, cheery collection of summery floral print dresses with thigh-high splits, leopard blouses and fluffy fur jackets. Marabou fur kitten heels, fur grab bags and oversized jewel earrings complete the sassy ensembles.

A key look was long-line, boyish blazers — pinstriped or double-breasted — worn over a flimsy dress and cinched in with a colorful thin belt. The show was rounded up with a series of dainty lace dresses embroidered with pretty strawberry vines, which the brand says is inspired by prints on Wedgewood china.

"It's very vintage, very throwback," said U.S. singer Ciara, who squeezed in the front row with Topshop boss Philip Green and U.S. Vogue editor Anna Wintour. "Those leopard print moments were awesome, and the high splits. High splits always work."



A Vivienne Westwood fashion show isn't complete without some kind of political message. But this time the grand dame of British fashion has stepped things up a gear.

Westwood, who is known for her activism as much as for her designs, placed about two dozen placard-waving protesters in a gallery overlooking the runway at her Sunday show. As the lights came on, the focus was on signs like "Austerity is a crime" and "Climate revolution," and only after a few moments did models wearing the new season's designs begin to strut out.

Guests cheered as the 74-year-old designer, who looked feisty in a metallic brown outfit, closed the show by leading her models and protesters down the runway in a spirited march. She also led a brief demonstration on the streets outside the venue just before the show began.

"These people are model and activist friends of mine. They have asked me 'what can we do?' and I said to them 'you've got to demonstrate! Let's build demonstrations,'" she wrote in her show notes.

Westwood has embraced diverse causes in recent years, campaigning to raise awareness for climate change and the release of WikiLeaks chief Julian Assange. She made headlines last week when she drove a tank to Prime Minister David Cameron's home to protest fracking, the controversial process of extracting oil and gas.



Westwood's politics may have upstaged her fashion, but her designs are no less covetable to fans.

On Friday, she showcased a collection of floral print kimono dresses, monochrome leaf prints, cropped cigarette trousers and opulent draped lace evening gowns.

The unmistakable Westwood signatures, which fans know and love, were all present: Corsets, scooped necklines, tartan, and tiny waistlines created by artfully nipped-in jackets. Fetish-inspired accessories, like plastic chokers and crystal body harnesses, kept things interesting.

Boy George and Lily Allen were among the celebrities attending in the front row.