Model Naomi Campbell took centre stage at London Fashion Week on Saturday night with a gala charity benefit at the impressive setting of the world famous British Museum.
The Campbell-hosted event was the latest “Fashion for Relief” fundraiser organized by the well-known model, whose efforts are supported by a wide array of friends and designers. The first charity show was in 2005 in support of victims of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans.
At the event, the British Museum’s steps and foyer became a red carpet staging area for fashionable elite who passed the time drinking chilled champagne and margaritas while last minute checks were made on the models’ makeup and outfits.
Campbell said this year’s benefit was to raise funds to protect vulnerable children throughout the world and help provide education and skills development. The black-tie event drew a huge and enthusiastic crowd, including many who stayed for a private dinner after the runway performance.
Actor Pierce Brosnan and actress Naomie Harris were among the star contingent, and the show was supported by a wide array of global fashion houses including Gucci, McQueen, Marc Jacobs and Vivienne Westwood.
Some of the outfits were clearly meant to be over the top, including mens’ looks that seemed to bare all: many outfits did not cover the chest and most of the tops were sheer. Double-breasted suits were meant to be worn without shirts and costumes paired white vinyl shorts with clear tops.
Women were given more variety, including floral jumpsuits, beautiful black, tight-fitting dresses, one dramatic black pantsuit with puffy pink sleeves and shoulders, and Conehead style veils. There were also spiky overcoats, kimono-inspired ensembles, Russian-styled Rasputin outfits for men and glittery silver elbow-length gloves.
The gala capped a warm day filled with shows and presentations, including runway offerings by Alexa Chung and House of Holland and millinery by master hatter Stephen Jones.
Chung attracts adoring fans
An early start couldn’t deter Chung’s legions of loyal fans, who flocked to a Saturday morning show which included outfits that offered variations on her classic feminine themes.
Chung greeted fans with a video message featuring a montage of what she described as “AC World.” She described the new styles as “clothes to feel empowered in” with a theme of “female solidarity” and said they were designed to “get over heartbreak.”
The TV personality also offered a pep talk to her mostly youthful audience. “Enjoy life, kids,” she said. “It’s great.”
The collection featured a number of longer coats, including belted variations. Some were worn over slip dresses or beautifully constructed longer dresses. The colours were muted, with many variations of green and gray, and Chung paid homage to the American West with a denim dress that seemed to conjure up open skies and endless vistas.
There was a well-tailored double-breasted suit and some 60s-style jumpsuits, but no sign of Dynasty-style shoulder pads or power-dressing. Chung doesn’t do flash, but she couldn’t resist a few faux-snakeskin pieces.
Models wore mostly light makeup and flowing hairstyles to allow for a style that looked simple, easy and elegant rather than fussy or overdone.
Big names are still coming up, with shows scheduled by Burberry, Victoria Beckham, Christopher Kane and Julien Macdonald as Fashion Week reaches its glittery climax.