LONDON — Victoria Beckham doesn’t need celebrities at her fashion shows — her A-list family provides more than enough star power.
The designer’s husband, retired soccer superstar David Beckham, and the couple’s four children turned up as guests of honour Sunday to support her London Fashion Week show. The former Spice Girl was among the big names showcasing their latest designs in the British capital, alongside Vivienne Westwood, Burberry and Roland Mouret.
A look at Sunday’s highlights:
FAMILY AFFAIR AT VICTORIA BECKHAM
The front row at Victoria Beckham’s runway show has a younger average age than the VIP seats at other shows. The designer’s youngest, 7-year-old Harper, sat on her dad’s lap for a cuddle as he chatted amiably with American Vogue editor Anna Wintour.
Like everyone else, Beckham family members in the audience whipped out smartphones to take a picture of Victoria Beckham when she came out for a bow at the end of the display.
The designer said she wanted to channel “modern femininity” and cinematic drama for the collection and had in mind a particular image of the woman wearing her clothes.
“She’s proper but she’s definitely not prim,” Beckham wrote in her show notes.
The result was a mix of ladylike classics — tailored check blazers, tweeds, argyle jumpers, silky blouses neatly tucked into pencil skirts — with saucy, eye-catching details like knee-high, open-toed sock boots in lipstick red or leopard, or bright satin stilettos in citrus, bright fuchsia and chartreuse.
The bell-bottomed trouser, a style the designer has adopted as her signature, made an appearance. So did the trend for checks, which still appears to be going strong. One ensemble featured a wide-lapelled coat, trousers and a tote bag in the same brown check pattern.
SUITED AND BOOTED AT ROLAND MOURET
Roland Mouret, the designer once best known for his skin-tight “bandage” dress, has moved on. For the upcoming autumn and winter season, his clothes are all about oversized shapes and mannish suits.
Mouret, whose fans include Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, said he was interested in proportions and styling pieces without regard to traditional gender divides.
There’s a creamy white double-breasted trouser suit, and boxy wide blazers were worn over silky, flowing dresses. A slouchy, checked suit with drawstring trousers was paired with a low-cut Lurex top.
For those looking for a properly oversized piece, Mouret offers up a huge, shaggy faux fur coat that is sure to be the talk of the party wherever it goes.
There’s still much that’s traditionally soft and feminine, though. Asymmetric, handkerchief-hem skirts caress the calves and swish beautifully with movement. Strategically draped bodices slyly reveal a shoulder here and a collarbone there. The shimmering metallic Lurex adds luxury, and the show’s closing look, a pale blush gown worn under a matching faux fur coat, is made of a fabric so light it billows like clouds.
VIVIENNE WESTWOOD GOES GUERRILLA Theatre
The grand dame of British fashion, Vivienne Westwood, put fashion on the back burner Sunday and turned her catwalk show into a broadside against climate change, corporate greed and other ills.
Westwood has moved in that direction in recent years, but she went into guerrilla theatre mode for this latest show. It featured angry models stopping in the middle of the catwalk to denounce the planet’s problems, finding time to complain about artificial intelligence, robots, Brexit and a whole lot more.
The first model set the tone by announcing the world would be dead unless something is done this year. The models warned, to a percussive, threatening sound track, that humanity would soon go deaf and blind and have squished internal organs.
A free speech advocate wore a slogan-covered jacket, saying it was to honour Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks who in 2012 took asylum in Ecuador’s Embassy in London to avoid extradition.
One model with a microphone proclaimed “Hollywood has made us into zombies.” A wittier riposte came from the model who announced, “England is going to die from irony.”
The clothes on offer were distinctly androgynous. Many male models were outfitted in dresses or tops and skirts, though others wore beautifully made suits with distinctive draping and a very English look.
Westwood is a fashion icon dating back to the punk era who seemingly can do no wrong with her legions of fans. She was greeted with adoring applause when she emerged at the end of the show and sang that Britain can once again lead the way.
Sylvia Hui And Gregory Katz, The Associated Press