London Fashion Week Royal Panties


You’ve gotta hand it to Betty Jackson. She’s got chutzpah for sticking King Henry VIII’s mug on the crotch of her catwalk model’s hotpants. This act of impudence pretty much sums up the attitude reflected in the veteran Fashion Weeker’s show on Tuesday: flamboyant, colourful, unconventional, fun.

THE BFC tent was packed to the gunnels on Tuesday afternoon with Jackson’s old skool front row fashion set: Jennifer Saunders, Victoria Wood, Laura Linney – all looking relaxed and understated, despite the large scale event. Expectantly the odd ex-pop star and supermodel loitered around, and the papz had an overwhelming presence, but it wasn’t a pretentiously glam affair, which made for a welcome change.

The collection was chock-full of contrasts: the classic and contemporary, the casual and elegant, with clashing colours and differing fabrics and fits: a ribbed polo neck with a satin dress; an oversized jacket with tights. The models donned sequinned bonnets and strutted down a catwalk blanketed with patterned rugs.

Knitted jumpers and cardigans were beautifully crafted for everyday wear; the evening dresses were divine. One little strapless number threatened to fall off the tiny frame of its fragile model, barely concealing her cleavage as she worked the room of expectant fashionistas.

So what’s next for Jackson? Will she bring her royal-wear to the present day? Prince Chuck handcuffs? Queen Betty’s face emblazoned across bare breasts? Watch this space. In the meantime Jackson has designed an exclusive campaign t-shirt for the Environmental Justice Foundation (EJF), which is 100% organic and fairly traded.

The EJF’s residence at the London Fashion Week exhibition at the Natural History Museum forecourt is again thanks to estETHICa, London’s sustainable fashion initiative. This acclaimed platform is entirely devoted to the best in eco-sustainable fashion, and this year welcomes some fresh newcomers to the fold including Mark Liu, Pibiones and Green Knickers.

Wednesday’s highlights included Afshin Feiz at On/Off, The Royal Academy of Arts venue. Shiny fabrics, frills, flowers, puffs, ruffles and metallics prevailed throughout the audacious collection that boasted bold colours, sharp suits and feminine jackets and dresses.

Models wore tribal eye make-up and black daises in loose hair. Pounding house music bounced off the four walls of the venue that was totally white, bar for a giant butterfly projected on to the wall at the catwalk entrance.

London Fashion Week autumn ‘08/’09 is drawing to a close, with the Godmother of punk, Vivienne Westwood, showing off her Red Label tonight, her first appearance in eight years. It’s being billed as the highlight of what’s been a week of an exciting and eclectic mix of influences and inspirations, and some unexpected royal glamour.

First published on The London Word, February 2008.
© Abbey Stirling