London Fashion Week saw a flurry of shows Monday emphasizing romance and femininity, often with exquisite workmanship and dashes of mystery and drama.
Dresses dominated the runway. Christopher Kane offered a strong collection of very feminine, sometimes very revealing dresses at his catwalk show at the Tate Britain museum.
Canada-born designer Erdem Moralioglu turned the National Portrait Gallery into a showcase for his contemporary designs, which featured long, elaborately made dresses, many with floral themes offset by black backgrounds.
CHRISTOPHER KANE CHANNELS 'THE JOY OF SEX'
Kane went "old school" for his London Fashion Week show with a collection that overtly referenced two 70s' classics: "The Joy of Sex" and "More Joy of Sex" books.
"I have never shied away from sex in the collections and this one is no different," said Kane. "Since the beginning, I have found it fundamental to our idea of women. Women with their own power who create their own worlds."
Anyone who missed the point was reminded by the none-too-subtle voiceover on the soundtrack encouraging people to experience more joy, more play and more sex.
Many of Kane's dresses were semi-sheer and lacy, in simple but effective blacks and reds, along with some relatively demure knitwear, including an impressive deep purple dress. Kane made very effective use of black set off with silver, as well as primarily black outfits that seemed to shimmer with color.
Pants were sometimes ripped or had fabric cut out and some blouses and dresses sported horizontal "peekaboo" slits. Kane used a wide variety of materials, including cotton canvas coats, raw wools and crushed velvet.
FALSE ALARM AT TATE SENDS MODELS INTO DRIZZLY RAIN
There was an unexpected evacuation of the Tate Britain Museum several hours before the Christopher Kane show, sending visitors — and models — into a light rain outside while a fire alarm was checked.
The models were rained on for about 20 minutes before the alarm was lifted, creating some challenges for makeup artists and stylists preparing for Kane's showcase event.
ERDEM BUILDS ON A DELICATE, VEILED THEME
Erdem's London Fashion Week show made heavy use of veils — and black veil material — not only to shade the faces of many models but also as the fabric for leggings, long gloves and some shawls and capes.
The veil material was detailed with black polka dots that became a design motif throughout the show, giving the models an unearthly and sometimes off-putting look when their faces were totally obscured.
A few outfits had retro flair, including some silver metallic skirts that evoked the flapper era, and some fused Asian designs that gave the show an international feel. Colors were rich and vibrant and the floral designs were complex and evocative.
The show, with American Vogue editor Anna Wintour in her customary front-row seat, showed a remarkably uniform approach to design, each piece reinforcing and building on the look.
GLAMOUROUS NIGHT AT BUCKINGHAM PALACE
Prince William's wife, Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge, co-hosted a fashion reception at Buckingham Palace with Sophie, the Countess of Wessex and wife of Prince Edward, William's uncle. The two were acting on behalf of Queen Elizabeth II at the glittery event.
Among the guests Monday night were model Naomi Campbell, designer Stella McCartney and Edward Enninful, the new editor of British Vogue.
The event was a celebration of the Commonwealth Fashion Exchange, launched earlier this month to foster partnerships between established and emerging talents in the Commonwealth countries ahead of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in London in April.
BLAST FROM THE PAST: PAULINA PORIZKOVA RETURNS
Almost overlooked in the flood of attention paid to Christopher Bailey's farewell show at Burberry was the return of Czech-born Paulina Porizkova, one of the original supermodels.
She made a rare catwalk appearance Saturday to support designer Jiri Kalfar.