This archived news story is available only for your personal, non-commercial use. Information in the story may be outdated or superseded by additional information. Reading or replaying the story in its archived form does not constitute a republication of the story.
LONDON (AP) — It's time for London to enjoy its stint as the center of the fashion universe.
London Fashion Week kicked off Friday with catwalk shows by Bora Aksu and Mulberry, and headliners over the next few days include Burberry, Christopher Kane, Roksanda and other favorites.
Designer Vivienne Westwood, 76, shifted away from her usual role to be a model — this time in an anti-fracking protest.
MULBERRY MOVES 'BEYOND HERITAGE' BUT STILL BUILDS ON BRITISHNESS
Mulberry and its creative director Johnny Coca titled the spring and summer collection "Beyond Heritage" to emphasize that it's a modern house capable of innovation and surprise — even though the impressive show was built on English archetypes, including garden parties, Ladies' Day at Ascot and other traditions of the summer season.
It was a fun, breezy show, even despite being staged in Spencer House, a grand 18th-century mansion in the posh St. James district. The collection made stunning use of imaginative statement hats, even if a few were literally over the top and obscured the models' eyes. Many were simply spectacular, angular and birdlike, and added a touch of whimsy, and more than a few inches of stature, to the outfits.
Many of the ensembles were more revealing than would be worn at a typical garden party — with sheer bodices or very low cut fronts — but there were a few more classical dresses that would fit in well at Buckingham Palace. Some were reminiscent of the 1920s flapper era, and bold African-style prints were sometimes mixed in.
"I thought it was amazing," said actress Emma Roberts, who watched from a front row seat. "I like the feminine and the bedazzle."
BORA AKSU SHOWS FEMININE, FROTHY CREATIONS
For London-based Turkish designer Bora Aksu, a longtime Fashion Week favorite, it was time to emphasize romance in his autumn/winter collection.
Asku's show featured a collection of long, frilly dresses that were elaborately constructed and included a mixture of semi-sheer panels.
Favored colors were white with black detailing and shades of dark blue, lavender and pink.
Some of the outfits offered new interpretations of the traditional British prep school look. The jackets were androgynous, the skirts or leggings long and feminine. The looks were often asymmetrical, highlighted by a long, jeweled earring dangling from one ear.
The designer said the collection Friday was inspired by the story of a young Georgian-era woman who challenged stereotypes by becoming a prominent surgeon at a time when most doctors were male.
LAVISH COLOR AS FYODOR GOLAN TEAMS WITH MTV
Designer Fyodor Golan's catwalk show celebrated flight, with some outfits loosely modeled on hot air balloons and billowing parachutes.
He made raucous use of bold, contrasting colors — including bright red and orange, cobalt blue and ivory. His signature rainbow stripes were plentiful, giving the collection a youthful flair.
There were surprises: some athletic wear seemed purely functional, if elaborately constructed, but concealed delicately made silk layers. There were sexy white hoodie outfits — better for showing off on the street than in the gym — and slouchy knit tops.
A few models wore decorative, oversized backpacks, again more for show than for actual travel. Golan made extensive use of dramatic white makeup, often applied on the forehead or over one eye, and decorated some outfits with sparkles.
The collaboration with MTV also marked how long it's been since the video channel first took off in the Michael Jackson era. Golan said MTV has been the "voice of youth culture for decades" and that embracing this legacy brought back "memories of our teenage years."
Many of the casual outfits bore the familiar MTV logo or Golan's own FG imprint.
CURVY WOMEN PROTEST IN LONDON
Everyone knows most fashion models at catwalk shows are ultra-thin and very tall. That doesn't sit well with a group of self-proclaimed "curvy" women, who protested Friday outside London Fashion Week headquarters on the Strand in central London.
The group included Hayley Hasselhoff, daughter of the well-known "Baywatch" star David Hasselhoff.
"LFW — Where are the curves?" read one sign carried by a protester.
NEW ROLE FOR VIVIENNE WESTWOOD: MODEL, NOT DESIGNER
Designer Vivienne Westwood is not showing in London this season but she has already made waves by appearing as a model in an anti-fracking protest.
The 76-year-old designer wore a campaign dress and a placard denouncing fracking at an event Thursday. She has spoken out repeatedly on environmental issues and warned of the dangers of climate change.
FASHION: A BIG MONEY GAME FOR BRITAIN
Caroline Rush, chief of the British Fashion Council, said in her opening speech that the fashion industry now contributes roughly 30 billion pounds ($42 billion) to Britain's economy each year, making it a business of substantial importance.
Fashion officials released figures indicating that Chinese visitors have surpassed Americans as the prime buyers in the London luxury fashion field.
This story corrects the dollar conversion of the British Fashion Council's data to $42 billion.
Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.