Right now, London is about 40 degrees warmer than New York — which means that the street-stylers who bundled up under huge puffers last week arrived across the pond ready to reveal a corresponding amount of bare skin. But the weekend also brought a few torrential downpours, which meant a few editors had to stand in the rain while Kendall Jenner and Cara Delevingne were escorted into a show. From fluffy bunny rabbits to faux bangs, and, of course, a Kanye appearance, read on for the 12 highlights from London Fashion Week so far.
1. Friday began with a moving memorial service at St Paul’s Cathedral for legendary Central Saint Martins professor Louise Wilson, who died in May at age 52. Alber Elbaz delivered a eulogy, in which he spoke of the many graduates Wilson had sent to Lanvin, and explained, “I trusted her with my eyes shut.” Those who came to pay their respects included Victoria Beckham, Donna Karan, Phoebe Philo, Sarah Burton, and Kanye West, who reportedly met Wilson in 2011 to request — unsuccessfully — a place in her M.A. fashion course.
2. Gareth Pugh came back to his hometown to mark the tenth anniversary of his label, and presented a warrior-themed collection that was all about women marching in a blaze of crusader glory. Models’ faces were painted with the St George’s Cross (England’s flag) and they wore all black — from somber, floor-sweeping robes to armorlike breastplates. Lindsay Lohan sat front row, no doubt absorbing the fierceness.
3. At the polar-opposite end of the spectrum, the Cutest Show of the Weekend Award almost went to Fyodor Golan’s My Little Pony–themed show, at which we had to step under a cardboard rainbow to gain entry. But then Markus Lupfer’s presentation happened: In a “secret garden” setting, models wore foliage prints and petted actual, living, fluffy bunnies. Adorbs.
4. The week has had some strong hair looks already. Holly Fulton’s models wore spiky faux bangs (looking a little Winona-in-Beetlejuice), while the models’ real hair was swept back into half-beehives. But the real theme seems to be that greasy, flyaway look that, in most of us, would trigger a “I can’t go out without washing this” crisis. It popped up at David Koma and at Topshop. On the runway, of course, it looked fabulous — but we remain unconvinced.
5. As usual, Vivienne Westwood brought the anarchy. Her Red Label show started almost an hour late, but we were kept entertained by the unusual bunch in the front row. Westwood’s friends include punks and new romantics from her heyday, some of whom wore clothes they’d made themselves. Philip Salon, a 1980s club-scene fixture, was there in a boilersuit bearing the message “UKIP=NAZI,” in protest against far-right British politics.
7. Temperley London gets our prize for the best casting — Caroline Winberg and Jacquetta Wheeler, both five months pregnant, made appearances in the show. But perhaps the most surprising presence was Sophie Dahl, who hasn’t appeared on the catwalk for a decade.
8. Vivienne Westwood Red Label featured one of the most original beauty looks of the week. Makeup artist Val Garland created an interesting look with smudgy lines and circles in red and black around the models’ cheekbones and into their hairlines. She also scored a creative hit at Mary Katrantzou, where she gave the girls a doll-like burst of black lashes under the center of each eye.
9. J.W.Anderson’s show was an energizing celebration of glittering lurex, primary-color prints, and all things irresistibly ‘80s. Alexa Chung was front row in one of his pre-fall designs — a cute blue dress that reminded us all how successfully Anderson straddles the line between avant-garde on the catwalk and totally wearable in real life.
10. This week’s “shoot me!” street-style tactic seems to be: form alliances. We saw one inseparable trio who wore identical box-fresh Adidas sneakers, and others who coordinated colors with their friends. It’s very photogenic, but in fashion there’s something to be said for being a lone wolf. (See how everyone ranked on the the Cut’s Street-Style Olympics Rankings in London — and tune in tomorrow for the final round.)
11. The No. 1 topic of discussion on Sunday was how far apart the shows were. Cars carrying international editors zigzagged across the city all day, moving from northeast to southwest and back on an hourly basis. Heavy rain didn’t help, and guests at Topshop Unique had a sense of failure when they were asked to wait in the downpour to allow Kendall Jenner and Cara Delevingne their moments with the photographers (safely under umbrellas, of course).
12. Shoe designer Sophia Webster attracted hordes of editors despite a Chinese New Year parade happening right outside her presentation. She showed shoes and bags emblazoned with “Just Saying” and “Freak Like Me,” along with a Coca-Cola collaboration that is both sugary and delicious.