LONDON | London Fashion Week: Jasper Conran goes for monastic chic

LONDON (AP) — London Fashion Week is picking up pace with Alexa Chung, Jasper Conran and other designers offering catwalk shows Saturday, to be followed by the House of Holland and Simone Rocha.

The spectacle is bringing much needed color and verve as gray London shakes off its winter blues amid the first hints of warmer weather.

MONASTIC CHIC AT JASPER CONRAN
Who knew monks’ garbs could be so fashionable?
High necks, long sleeves, dropped waistlines, skirts that brush the calf or ankle: Veteran designer Jasper Conran took inspiration from “monastic” shapes with a new collection of utilitarian, sleek tunics and dresses that quietly exuded sophistication rather than screamed glamour.

Conran, a founding father of London Fashion Week, dialed down his signature flair for color for the upcoming autumn and winter season, opting instead for a mostly severe palette of earthy browns, rust, mustard and indigo.

The designer focused on dresses that rival the comfort of sportswear. Some outfits — like several brown-all-over sweater dresses — bring to mind something a friar might wear. But Conran always kept things modern with a thigh-high side slit here, a slashed neckline there, a bright sporty piping or geometric color blocks.

Conran ditched the covered-up look for the show’s final section, a collection of architectural column gowns. The colors are still understated here, but bare shoulders and sheer organza panels brought out the drama.


ALEXA CHUNG SHOWS QUIRKY CLASSICS
Model and TV presenter Alexa Chung has a loyal fan base and her many admirers flocked to Saturday’s show in London’s redeveloped King’s Cross neighborhood. They weren’t disappointed as Chung offered a new collection featuring her quirky, feminine take on classic designs.

For her second London Fashion Week show, called “Off the Grid,” the designer announced she had lost all interest in “prettiness” and was imagining a “gaggle of women” who have retreated to California’s Big Sur coastal wilderness to regroup.

There’s an independence to the collection, even as some of the models wear long coats with matching head scarves that are evocative of the American prairie. Many of the deceptively simple dresses emphasize the shoulders, giving the women an outline of physical strength, and much of the outerwear is masculine in style, particularly a forest green suit.

Chung showed an easy, eclectic touch in a collection that included long black coats, several sexy gold dresses, and a few beautiful green midi dresses, including one that she wore to the show.

By Associated Press