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London Fashion Week: A smashing good time on the party circuit

September 21, 2009 | 10:56 am


The first couple days of London Fashion Week have been a swirl of parties to celebrate the event's 25th year, beginning with cocktails hosted by Prime Minister Gordon Brown and his wife, Sarah, at 10 Downing Street on Friday night.


The dress code called for "leisure suit," which is apparently business attire in Brit speak, so I went with a short dress. I need not have worried though, because there were jeans, leggings, capes, etc. I thought back to the famous moment in 1984 when designer Katherine Hamnett wore an anti-nuclear slogan T-shirt that read "58% Don't Want Pershing" to Downing Street to meet Margaret Thatcher. So I guess there is a long history of "anything goes"' dressing for such functions.

The prime minister's residence is impressive. The foyer, once occupied by a telephone booth used by reporters on deadline, is now, in the age of cellphones, full of art, including a lovely Henry Moore sculpture. The staircase is lined with photographs of past prime ministers, including Earl Grey (like the tea!) and Thatcher. Upstairs, there is an imposing portrait of Queen Elizabeth I over the fireplace.

All the fashion folk turned out, including Burberry designer Christopher Bailey, Christopher Kane, rising star Erdem Moralioglu, founder Sojin Lee, and photographer Chris Moore, whose 25 years of catwalk photos were also being celebrated.

On Saturday night, Harrods department store threw open the doors of its new designer department for an intimate dinner, and partygoers nibbled on risotto among the Balmain jackets and Lanvin dresses. An interesting SoCal side note: The store recently opened a St. John department and reports that the Orange County-based label is selling like gangbusters, taking in about 60,000 pounds (about $97,000) a week.

But the weekend's most star-studded fete was hosted by TopShop owner Sir Philip Green at the Ivy restaurant. All of the designers were there, young and old (Zandra Rhodes, Celia Birtwell, Stephen Jones, Christian Louboutin), as well as Kate Moss and Naomi Campbell. The surprise musical guest was Bryan Ferry, and the sight of Vivienne Westwood rockin' out is something I will not soon forget. Loved it.

-- Booth Moore

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Top photo: Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour with Burberry's Christopher Bailey, left, and TopShop's Sir Philip Green at the Ivy restaurant. Bottom: Shoe designer Christian Louboutin and actress Thandie Newton were also guests at the party. Credit: TopShop