Bold looks at Burberry Prorsum and a much-anticipated show by Tom Ford brought London Fashion Week to an exhilarating climax Monday, packed with starry front rows and catwalks awash in a riot of animal prints, contrasting textures and embellishments.
Burberry design chief Christopher Bailey and Ford delivered the goods, but strong showings by Christopher Kane and Erdem — both rising talents with an international following — helped round out day four of the style event.
Ford said after his show that he wanted his autumn collection to express exuberance and color. Aside from rich, saturated hues, he also featured bold animal prints, which happened to also dominate Burberry's catwalk.
Kane, who was showing his first collection since luxury conglomerate PPR bought a majority stake in his label, unveiled an extensive, assured collection that included everything from camouflage and kilts to velvet and feather trims.
Meanwhile, Erdem Moralioglu delivered his usual elegant looks, though surprising some with a dark and moody twist to his typically delicate pastel floral dresses.
His collection was mostly black, though the different textures (lace, velvet, mesh) and layers kept things interesting. Floral prints and feathers peeked out under black organza overlays, while sheer black polka dot layers were draped over abstract yellow florals.
The designers were the last major stars to show during London Fashion Week. Designers including Vivienne Westwood, Mulberry, Preen and Temperley London had already shown their latest earlier in the week.
The event winds down Tuesday, as editors, models and bloggers prepare for more catwalk shows in Milan and Paris.
Burberry's creative director, Bailey, has taken its classic trench coats on safari for a makeover.
In a catwalk show that drew actresses Kate Beckinsale and Michelle Dockery to its front row, the luxury British brand updated its coats with calfskin and mink in bold leopard and giraffe prints, cinched in with glossy gold belts.
Bailey said he stuck to elegant fabrics such as cashmere and a classic palette of camel, oxblood, black and white for his new autumn collection, but injected contrast with innovative fabrics such as plasticized leather.
Those certainly are not for the conservative dresser. A camel trench coat had its sleeves, gun flaps and skirt made of a brown rubber, while another trench coat is made in shiny wine-colored PVC. A tight translucent rubber skirt revealed flirty heart-print knickers underneath.
Python-printed leather joined the various big cat prints on skirts and jackets, and gold hardware gave the collection a luxurious sheen throughout.
Ford's show included lacy black tops, brightly colored metallic skirts, and long, form-fitting black dresses set off by explosive sunbursts of sequined, metallic color.
The American designer also made use of leopard-printed coats of varying lengths and — in a nod to the 1960s — soft black leather jackets with fringes in the back.
Other outfits emphasized a basic color palette of black and white in interesting contrasts, playing on a zebra-striped theme.
The outfits were not revealing but very feminine and flattering, with many jackets offering high neck collars and dramatic shapes.
Kane's latest display was so diverse and included so many creative themes that it seemed like several collections rolled into one.
The designer opened his show with oversized, boxy and buckled army coats, then moved on to develop the military theme with muted blue and grey camouflage prints on kilts and silky separates.
Off-shoulder dresses with big fur trims came next, and then it was a riot of different themes and looks: Short, sexy dresses in crochet, tight velvet numbers held together with crochet panels or adorned with ruffle-like feather trims, 3D flowers and organza patchwork.
The finale consisted of a series of sparkly party dresses embellished with wiry orange, green and cobalt tinsel-like material.
London designer Erdem Moralioglu has garnered a long list of fans with his delicate, ice cream-colored floral dresses, but this season he decided to put a darker twist on his romantic style.
The show began with all-black dress and coat ensembles, with a rich mix of textures to keep things interesting: Feather trims, boucle, exposed zips and shimmering sequins on sheer blouses.
There were deep burgundy and black lace dresses with a contrasting pale blue collar, followed by Erdem's signature florals in knee-length dresses. The frocks introduced pinks, purples and neon yellows to the collection's palette, though the color was largely subdued by the sheer black layers over them.
The final pieces of the collection returned to just black, playing on sheer layers of lace, velvet and polka dots — sometimes all together.
Associated Press writer Gregory Katz contributed to this report.