Fashion giants light up the Big Smoke at London Fashion Week
Italian labels Versus Versace and Emporio Armani brought the darkness and light to London Fashion Week on Sunday, burnishing the city's reputation as a fashion capital.
Industry icon Giorgio Armani had not displayed in London for 11 years, ending his hiatus to celebrate the label's renovated flagship London store in upscale Mayfair.
The spring-summer 2018 show at Tobacco Dock, a former tobacco warehouse, was marked by playful creations including a lightweight windbreaker with printed crab design, small, round-collared dresses, pastel-coloured ensembles and flowing pants.
The label described the "frEAdom" collection as embodying "freedom as lightness of being and eclecticism of appearance".
The Italian fashion giant has about 3,000 points of sale worldwide, which the group is trying to consolidate. Armani, 83, said he had chosen London for its "dynamism, energy and cosmopolitanism".
Fellow fashion giant Tommy Hilfiger arrived in Britain on Tuesday in another coup for Fashion Week, which has always boasted audacious young designers but sometimes lacked big-name appeal.
Earlier, Versus Versace stuck to its roots with a daring and provocative show. Versus, the Italian brand's laid-back line, transformed the city's Central Saint Martins college, a hub of British design talent, into a temporary nightclub for its 2018 spring/summer collection, with bass-heavy electro music booming from a giant wall of speakers.
The collection celebrated the mini and the transparent with short dresses in mesh worn over the top of black bikinis and low-waist shorts with printed chain designs.
"Versus is about individuality, bravery and pleasure. This is for everyone who dares to express themselves in everything they do," said chief designer Donatella Versace.
The show was also the occasion to present the Gianni Versace scholarship for students of Central Saint Martins.
"Central Saint Martins educates and trains some of the best talents in the world of fashion and many of their alumni have come to work with me over years," said Versace. But not everyone is so enthused by the event's success, with dozens of animal rights protesters holding noisy demonstrations throughout the week. Many gathered before the Versus show chanting "You have blood on your hands" and demanding a ban on labels that use fur.
• This article was originally published in The Times.