Beckham looks to '70s, Westwood turns catwalk into protest

By Marie-Louise Gumuchian
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Models present creations at the Victoria Beckham show during London Fashion Week Women's A/W19 in London

Models present creations at the Victoria Beckham show during London Fashion Week Women's A/W19 in London, Britain February 17, 2019. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls

By Marie-Louise Gumuchian

LONDON (Reuters) - Victoria Beckham looked back to the 1970s at London Fashion Week on Sunday, while Vivienne Westwood turned her catwalk into a stage to protest issues ranging from climate change to Brexit.

In front of an audience including Beckham's husband David and their children, models wore dresses and skirts slim fitted over the knee, some with abstract chain patterns.

In a collection rich in vibrant colors and patterns, Beckham stuck to her signature silhouette of fitted skirt suits, which were checkered, and wide-leg trousers.

The former Spice Girl turned fashion designer used to present her line in New York during the catwalk season, but moved to London in September to celebrate the 10th anniversary of her eponymous brand.

"For Autumn/Winter 2019 I have been thinking about what women want, about modern femininity and about how to curate those ideas into a collection for today," Beckham said in a statement.

"There are touches of retro, pinches of the '70s. Yet it's all brought together into something encapsulating what we call the modern feminine alphabet."

The designer used colors such as lipstick red, teal, pink, absinthe and lilac and her footwear consisted of high-heeled stretch open toe boots, in vibrant blue, red or leopard print. Heels came in hot pink or yellow.

Britain's dame of fashion Westwood gave models a voice on her "homo loquax" catwalk.

The 77-year-old, known for her environmental activism, allowed her models, which included actress and anti-harassment campaigner Rose McGowan and other campaigners, to address various issues as she presented an eclectic mix of creations.

"We need more heroes," McGowan declared on the runway.

Sustainable fashion, Britain's looming exit from the European Union and climate change were addressed as models presented oversized checkered coats, tailored jackets, silk dresses, fitted knitwear and clashing prints.

Loose tops bore playing cards Westwood said she designed to "illustrate a plan to save the world from climate change".

Both women and men took to the catwalk. Some wore Pinocchio-like long noses. Knotted headscarves were worn back to front.

Dozens of protesters from the Extinction Rebellion group also sought to shine a spotlight on climate change by temporarily blocking roads. Carrying flags and a "Rebel for Life" sign, they briefly stopped traffic outside the main London Fashion Week venue.

At Preen, designer duo Justin Thornton and Thea Bregazzi said they were "inspired by the culture of dance and music and the impact it has had on us."

The show opened with floral prints on outerwear and asymmetric layered skirts, before moving on to 1980s-style silhouettes - open neck décolletés and exaggerated shoulders.

The outfits were accessorized with a type of harness on top, with rosette decorations and ribbons flowing at the side, sometimes with small backpacks.

Patterned silk shirts were frilly, fitted tops revealed mid-riffs and knits were also cropped. Coats were voluminous.

Models wore blue tights and clog-like shoes. For the evening, shiny black or lace dresses were on show.


(Reporting By Marie-Louise Gumuchian; additional reporting by Henry Nicholls, Jayson Mansaray and Mike Davidson; Editing by Susan Fenton)