London Fashion Week kicks off, hot on heels of New York

A model wears an outfit by designer Eudon Choi during the Autumn/Winter 2015 show at London Fashion Week in London, Friday, Feb. 20, 2015. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)

LONDON (AP) — It’s time to kick off those snow boots and pack the brolly.

After battling sub-zero temperatures at New York Fashion Week, fashionistas are decamping to London for another whirlwind week of catwalk shows, champagne and parties. The London event, which opens Friday, features new designs from almost 80 designers, including from powerhouses like Burberry and Topshop Unique and young names Christopher Kane and Erdem.

Here are some of the highlights from Day 1:

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FERGIE AT NAOMI’S BASH

What’s fashion week without a supermodel?

Naomi Campbell kicked off proceedings in style late Thursday with her Fashion for Relief show, a charity event that aimed to raise money for efforts to combat Ebola.

Campbell and her friends sashayed down the runway wearing pieces donated from designers, including Alexander McQueen and Stella McCartney, and items were put up for auction.

Fellow model Jourdan Dunn was among those sharing the stage, as well as a more unexpected guest: Sarah Ferguson. The former wife of Prince Andrew, who donned a sleeveless floor-length black evening gown, grinned like she couldn’t quite believe she was model for a night.

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FIFTY SHADES OF NOIR AT JEAN-PIERRE BRAGANZA

Jean-Pierre Braganza’s winter collection is all smouldering film noir and war-time glamour. The show was invoking the 1940s even before the clothes came out: Air raid sirens pierced the silence and searchlights lit the room before the first model emerged.

Braganza’s models wore curve-hugging, seductive wool dresses in dark green, purple burgundy, high-waisted culottes in camel, bomber leather jackets with fur trim, and luxurious fur coats with big gorilla arms.

The opening number, though, took guests to fashion’s favourite decade this season: the 1970s. Black flared trousers with a horizontal grey stripe, were paired with a black cape coat trimmed with jewels.

Also very of the moment were the stiff leather accessories and stiletto boots, which — whether he intended or not — brought to mind the popular book and movie “Fifty Shades of Grey.” The thick black leather chokers, complete with large belt-buckle, are not for the faint-hearted.

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BORA AKSU DOES DARK AND STORMY

London-based Turkish designer Bora Aksu has ditched the sweet, girly feel of recent seasons for a more moody, grown-up look.

Aksu opened with a series of outfits in head-to-toe navy, layering sheer chiffon skirts and blouses with capes and jackets. The color palette mostly stuck to subdued shades, from greys to faded gold, putty to lilac.

There was still plenty of romance in his signature frills, crochets, floral appliques and blowsy, pussy-bow blouses, but they were paired with more structured tailoring, from hip-length blazers to shorts and pencil skirts.

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FURRY, FURRY HIGH HEELS AT SHRIMPS

Opulent real animal fur coats may be a no-no, but faux fur is definitely enjoying a fashion moment – and the bigger, shaggier and quirkier, the better.

Bright, cartoonist faux fur coats in rainbow colors were everywhere this season on London’s streets, and at Somerset House, London Fashion Week’s headquarters, dozens of men and women were seen sporting head-turning furry gear.

Shrimps, a young brand specialising in “British humor” and everything faux fur, has been riding the trend with great success. For the coming winter the label has come up with more attention-grabbing shaggy coats, stoles and evening bags – all inspired by Star Trek and the Wizard of Oz’s Emerald City, with a good dash of ’70s style thrown in.

The result is a fun collection dominated by clashing forest greens and warm terracotta tones, adorned with embroidered cartoon characters, glitter and crystals. It’s all less Great Gatsby, more Saturday night on the town.

But it’s the elf-like pointy heels, trimmed in teal or mustard fur that really stole the show. Look no further for next season’s statement shoe.



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