London Fashion Week: Weekend recap
Saturday, Feb. 16
Inside Rihanna’s debut collection for River Island it feels like we’re up in the club. The pop star’s super fans are dancing, hard. Model of the moment Cara Delevingne is body-rolling to Drake. Her bestie, model Jourdan Dunn, is getting down right beside her. They take a seat beside Tyson Beckford. Kenya hunt
Kanye West’s “Clique” is playing. Rihanna gets extra points for the soundtrack. But the clothes? I’m having flashbacks to Kanye West’s debut in Paris, which was a much more intimate affair. The critics raked his line over the coals, but at least he put in a real effort, even if he did try too hard. Rihanna and her co-designer Adam Selman, on the other hand, seem to be banking on the fact that plenty of women out there want to look just like her. So rather than showing us something new and creative, like the platinum-selling albums she turns out yearly, these clothes seem a bit last year. That’s mostly because these tank dresses and sheer tops are replicas of things she’s already worn, and that clearly seems to be the point (it worked for the Kardashians). The Row or Victoria Beckham, this collection is not. Can we get a sartorial equivalent of “Diamonds” instead? KH
Sunday, Feb. 17
Onto the Vivienne Westwood Red Label show. There’s chatter about whether Daisy Lowe or Georgia May Jagger will walk at the show — hmm, no sign of the baying paparazzi, so perhaps not. The opening burgundy and navy striped coat teamed with a painted face and knee-high socks is a standout. The collection feels more subdued this season, with cinched waists, asymmetrical tailoring, drape dresses and skirt suits — all quintessentially Viv. But there’s some naughtiness, too, in the (male) form of a holographic phallus on a clutch bag. —Richard Peckett
The cocktail hour at Topshop’s Unique show is in full swing. This year it’s being held in the Tate Modern museum and the tourists who are in the building to view some art are getting another kind of show instead. As I walk in, there’s a bearded man in a dress posing for photographs with Pixie Geldof. KH
Um, just how many shows is Cara Delevingne walking in this season? That girl is inescapable. And where you see her, Jourdan Dunn is not far behind. Last night, they were partying at Rihanna’s show together. Today they’re opening Unique like two impossibly lean partners in crime. KH
This is one of the best collections Topshop has produced in a while. A few takeaways:
1) Skirts are longer and fuller this season. Unique’s, which come in leather and shimmery sequins, are particularly good.
2) Satin is trending. But the key is to make it young, cool and casual. Witness the navy jumpsuit, which was a show highlight.
3) The more oversized, the better. This collection epitomizes the overall slouchier, roomier and comfier feeling of the season. KH
5 questions for Vivienne Westwood
The Saatchi Gallery in swanky Chelsea is about as punk as Prince Charles these days, but it used to be home to Vivienne Westwood and Malcolm McLaren’s “Sex” shop in the ’70s. Anyway, I’m on my way to speak to Viv. Easier said than done, seeing as the publicists have obviously taken tips from North Korea when it comes to media access. Ninety minutes pass by and the excitement amongst camera crews and reporters begins to wane (there are no chairs) — and then she arrives. — Richard Peckett
What statement are you making with this collection, particularly in relation to Julian Assange?
This collection’s not got any strong political statement in itself — it’s just here to help people look more attractive and more glamorous. I expect the message for the fashion is “Quality is more important than quantity.” Buy less, choose well, make it last. The other thing is, I always use my fashion as a platform to talk out against the problems we face. The most important thing is public opinion, which makes politicians change — particularly the message about climate change. Climate change is caused by the rotten financial system we’ve got and we can all see what it’s doing now. It’s making everybody poorer, it’s making a few people richer and that’s what this system is designed to do. It destroys the earth.
Are you anti-capitalism?
Er, I don’t know. This is something we have to work out. I mean, for example, there’s far too much manufacturing in the world of total rubbish. If we want money to circulate, you could pay people not to work, which we do anyway, or you could make more money by paying teachers, for example. And yet, we are cutting down on all those things so that we can continue our old way of doing things which is to manufacture so a few people can cream off the profits, destroy the earth and destroy the livelihoods of everybody else in the world.
How much does sex play a factor in your work?
Well, my husband would love to have all the models naked just like the photographs of Helmut Newton. He just thinks they’re amazing.