London fashion: Beckham comes home; Mouret shows 'new sexy'

Victoria Beckham brought her fashion brand home to London Fashion Week for the first time Sunday to mark the 10-year anniversary of the label that solidified the former Spice Girl's status as a fashion icon. Her show was one of the most sought-after at the current edition of the British capital's twice-yearly style extravaganza, which also saw Roland Mouret and other designers show off their latest spring and summer creations.

Some highlights from Day 3 of the fashion week:



It's homecoming time for Victoria Beckham, and her family is right there with her in the front row.

Beckham, who normally shows in New York, celebrated a decade in business with a catwalk show staged in an elegant gallery next door to her store in London's tony Mayfair district.

While the designer said the show wasn't meant "as a retrospective in any way," the collection featured some of her greatest hits and signature looks. Beckham called them her brand's "codes": masculine tailoring offset by delicate lacy camisoles, fluid, minimal backless gowns and trousers that came in a slouchy wide leg or slim with mini flares. All the models wore their hair slicked back, the way Beckham likes to style hers.

The palette, like the shapes, was lean and pared down. A mannish cream wide-leg trouser suit opened the show; an all-black ensemble closed it. In between were neutral tones, subdued prints and flashes of red. An unusual combination of sky blue paired with mud brown effectively drew the eye.

When it came time to take a bow, Beckham walked up to her husband, retired soccer star David Beckham, and their children who were seated among the guests, giving them kisses, hugs and a thumbs-up.

Beckham was visibly excited and proud to be showing on home turf among her nearest and dearest.

"I have family members who have never seen what I do," she said afterward.

While she has dressed everyone from Melania Trump to Lady Gaga, boasts sales in dozens of countries and has been honored by Britain's Queen Elizabeth II for her services to fashion, Beckham said she's still got a lot of work to do.

"I'm probably more and more nervous each season," she told reporters.

After the show, a dozen or so animal rights activists shouted "Shame on Victoria Beckham." Sunday's show didn't appear to include fur.



French designer Mouret's theme this season is liberation and female independence. So what better way to reflect that than by taking the whole runway show outdoors?

Guests were delighted the designer chose for his setting the rooftop gardens of the Thames-side National Theater. London's famous landmarks were visible in the background as models sashayed to "(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman," the tune made famous by the late Aretha Franklin.

A mild breeze helped accentuate the movements of romantic, fluid shoulder drapes, handkerchief hemlines, tops that fell off the shoulder and loose palazzo pants — all part of a modern way to celebrate the female body and sexuality, Mouret said.

It's all a far cry from Mouret's best-known creation, the body-sculpting "Galaxy" dress from a decade ago. This season, it's clearer than ever he's moving away from that tucked-in, trussed-up look.

Instead, everything was about freedom of movement and the power of suggestion: slits offering a glimpse of thigh, draped blouses and coats exposing a sliver of back.

Referencing the "MeToo" movement and the 1970s French erotic film "Emmanuelle," Mouret said it was time for new ways to empower women. With the right design, he seems to say, relaxed, comfortable pieces like a pair of drawstring trousers can be sexy, too.



Designer Peter Pilotto turned the subterranean Trader Vic's in central London into a crowded, retro-style celebration of feminine beauty with his spring and summer 2019 show. It crackled with new ideas that were fully realized. The venue was crowded, and it was sometimes difficult to see, but the fashion crowd seemed mesmerized by much of the collection.

The long dresses were sexy, some with halter tops, others set off by unusual soft-color combinations. The designer admitted in his show notes to "an obsession" with French glass patterns that informed the look of "frosted splendor."

Some of the outfits produced gasps from the crowd, with elaborate organza, painted jacquard and hammered satin. The suits were highlighted with metallic twill, and clutch bags were decorated with pearls.

The overall look was both decadent and fresh. Pilotto's shows are generating more excitement each year as he breaks new ground.



Rising London Fashion Week standout Simone Rocha displayed her latest collection at Lancaster House, a stately government building usually reserved for top level diplomatic receptions or complicated peace talks involving warring factions. The show took place under the stern gaze of formal portraits of British nobles and notables, quite a gilded setting for an indie type designer.

The show had a distinctly Asian theme, with long, elaborate dresses topped with fanciful hats and exquisite veils. The show notes called them "hat towers" and that wasn't far off. Some were literally over the top — there was no way the models could see through them, because of the elaborate embroidery on the veils — but others were striking in their simplicity.

The colors of the long dresses were dark, many with red floral patterns and red detailing. The collection had imaginative flair and drama, even if some of the outfits were not completely practical. Some that were quite wearable included beautifully made suit jackets paired with mid-length trousers cut just below the knee.

Some of the footwear seemed floppy and silly — like upscale slippers that wouldn't really work — but some helped set off the outfits. There is an emerging Simone Rocha look: elegant, distinctive, playful and full of surprises. She is certainly not predictable.