London Fashion Week: From austerity protests to $2000 backpacks

Published 22nd September 2015
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London Fashion Week: From austerity protests to $2000 backpacks
After five days of catwalks, parties and showrooms, London Fashion Week has drawn to close, and the fashion pack is heading to Milan for the next batch of surprises and innovations. Here are the most memorable moments from the fashion week that was.

Vivienne Westwood's catwalk crusade

Whether she's stripping down for PETA or supporting Scottish independence, you can always count on Vivienne Westwood to stand up for her beliefs. Her latest stunt: a demonstration against climate change and austerity ahead of her show. Westwood and a group of young protesters took to the streets with signs declaring "Austerity is a crime" and "Politicians R Criminals," before finishing up on a landing above the runway.
This isn't the first time fashion has toyed with the idea of protests. Recently, Chanel staged a faux feminist protest for Spring-Summer 2015. But given her track record, there's no question about Westwood's sincerity.

Burberry brings back the backpack

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Burberry Prorsum hit viral gold last fall with $2000 monogrammed ponchos. Shown as part of the Autumn-Winter 2014 collection, they were seen on everyone from Alexa Chung to Sarah Jessica Parker. Next spring, it looks like Burberry may try and replicate that success with their latest monogrammed accessory: a $1,295 nylon backpack.
It may sound unlikely, but it's not. Prada's nylon backpacks were ubiquitous in the '90s, and the current cultural obsession with that decade doesn't seem to waning. Think of it as an It Bag for the Instagram Age.

Giles all-star model lineup

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This may be the first time outside of the red carpet that giant feather hats, laser-cut bodices and ball gowns supported by layer upon layer of ruffled petticoats were outshined by megawatt models. The list of girls walking at Giles read like a who's-who of the modeling world, with veterans like Karen Elson, Lily Donaldson, Eva Herzigova, Alek Wek, and Erin O'Connor, and newcomers like Bella Hadid, Andreja Pejic, Molly Bair and Georgia May Jagger. Poppy Delevingne, model Cara Delevingne's older sister, also made a rare runway appearance.
#Squadgoals, anyone?

Gareth Pugh's ode to Soho

In February, British designer Gareth Pugh returned to the London schedule after seven years in Paris. This season, as if to further prove his allegiance to the city, he presented at the official British Fashion Council's new show space at Brewer Street Car Park in the heart of Soho.
His glamorous disco-inspired collection -- white fur, dangerous necklines, dresses completely covered in pennies -- was inspired by the neighborhood's historic ties to the gay and creative community, once gritty party scene, and on-going commercialization.

Zandra Rhodes returns to the runway

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The day before her 75th birthday, Zandra Rhodes showed at London Fashion Week for the first time in almost a decade. The fuchsia-haired designer, who's been working since the '60s, delivered on her signatures: eccentric prints, lots of pink, and a lot of spectacle. (You've got to respect an artist for sticking to their guns.)