English Beat: 10 Reasons To Love London Fashion Week

We came, we saw, we got the goodie bag. Though London Fashion Week has been deemed by naysayers as the red-headed stepchild of the fashion calendar, this season's schedule delivered everything we could ask for: top-notch collections, A-list parties with an open bar and—drumroll please—Janet Jackson. Below, a handful of our favorite moments, London-style.
1. Linda Farrow & Roisin Murphy Party
A colorful crowd crammed into AURA on Sunday night to toast Linda Farrow's latest collaboration with singer/fashion show fixture Roisin Murphy, making the duo's sunglasses less of a prop and more of a necessity. New mama Murphy performed to the likes of Leigh Lezark, Charles Anastase, Julia Restoin Roitfeld, Derek Blasberg, Jasmine Guinness, and gender-benders Jodie Harsh and Andre J., who paired his beard with Heidi braids (as you do). And what of those shades? Let's just say the 24-karat gold-coated half-moon cat-eye sunglasses had us at "cheerio." Photos courtesy of Black Frame.
1. Mark Fast's Plus-Size Runway
Proving that last season's curvy girl catwalk—which prompted his stylist and casting director to quit in protest—was no blip, Canadian knitwear maestro Mark Fast recruited plus-size model Crystal Renn for his fall show. Joined on the runway by voluptuous Fast fave Hayley Morley and the usual stringbean suspects, Renn—last seen working it in V Magazine's Terry Richardson spread—cradled her curves in the designer's body-con knit dresses with confidence. Critics may accuse Fast of being gimmicky, but we're just happy to see some meat on these fashion bones for a change. Photos via Style.com, see the full collection here.
3. Burberry
Gallant gents holding umbrellas over our heads? Don't mind if we do. A star-studded front row, plus appearances by Mario Testino, Anna Wintour, Carine Roitfeld, and Kristen Stewart? Yes, please. Since returning to London Fashion Week in September, Burberry has established itself as the anchor of the LFW festivities, and this season's spectacle didn't disappoint. The parade of fitted lace shirts, ruched dresses , sexy over-the-knee boots, cropped biker jackets with enormous shearling collars, and military-style coats that nearly had us tackling a model or two—with nary a check print in sight—proved that there's a reason why Christopher Bailey keeps winning awards. The intense autumnal hues—mossy greens, mustard yellow, plum, and fuchsia—was a bold contrast to spring's icy pastels and was supported by clever details like a brown leather belt-looped collar and golden zips bisecting jackets. Oh, and streaming a live 3-D version of the show for stylephiles stuck at home? Totally classy and totally cool. Background photo by Erin Donnelly. Runway photos via Style.com, see the full collection here.
4. Richard Nicoll
A navy bustier with a check-print skirt won our hearts at Richard Nicoll's show, where smart and sexy happily collided. Lingerie-inspired details, clean layering and wearable everywoman ideals coursed throughout the collection, with standouts including a blood-red one-shoulder frock that broke free from the overwhelmingly somber palette, check-print jackets and an array of cornflower blue velvet. Consider us smitten. Photos via Style.com, see the full collection here.
5. Celebrity Sightings
Let's face it—star-gazing at London Fashion Week can be a little lackluster for those who don't have a burning passion for British girl groups or anyone sired by Bob Geldof (come back, Kanye!). Fortunately this season our inner star-fuckers had plenty to sink their teeth into, from Burberry's front row line-up of Mary-Kate Olsen, Kate Hudson, Kristen Stewart, Claire Danes, and Alice in Wonderland's Mia Wasikowska to Janet Jackson's presence at shows like Todd Lynn and Pringle of Scotland, where she shared the spotlight with Tilda Swinton and (thankyougod) Courtney Love. Photos by Erin Donnelly.
6. New York, New York Party
The Big Smoke got an injection of Big Apple cool at Monday night's soirée hosted by Sophomore's Chrissie Miller (who was so psyched by our Sophomore tee that she took a photo) and Derek Blasberg. Fashion Week regulars Garance Doré, Scott Schuman, Peaches Geldof, and Leigh Lezark descended on Mayfair's Sketch and its gleaming white banquettes and twinkling celestial lights. Tunes by The Misshapes, Nova Dando, and Mandy Brooks got the London crowd fired up, inspiring yet another revered NYC legend: impromptu break-dancing! Photos by Erin Donnelly.
7. Sykes
Not all designers have to hit you on the head to get you to take notice. Take Joanna Sykes, who quietly charmed us with her sublime presentation of effortless wool shorts paired with boyishly cool fitted leather jackets and buttoned-up blouses. Also on our wish-list: a red sleeveless draped dress just begging to be worn to our next party. Props, too, for including elderly models—it's about time Granny got some love. Photos via Style.com, see the full collection here.
8. Fashion For Relief UK
What better way to get the Fashion Week ball rolling than a bit of charity? The London counterpart to Naomi Campbell's New York Fashion For Relief show was hosted by the British Fashion Council on Thursday night, with proceeds benefiting pregnant women and new mothers in Haiti through the White Ribbon Alliance. Kate Moss paid tribute to her late pal Alexander McQueen in one of his spring mini-dresses, Lara Stone's fiancé David Walliams snogged "Gavin & Stacey" star James Corden on the runway, and stars like Geri "Ginger Spice" Halliwell modelled frocks from the likes of Vivienne Westwood, Dolce & Gabbana, and Jaeger. And they say fashion has no heart...
9. Christopher Kane
We won't lie—Christopher Kane's show is almost always the highlight of our Fashion Week plans. This season Kane followed up his sweet spring gingham prints with gothic black dresses accented with lace, floral bouquet prints, and patent leather. His inspiration? A 14-year-old Priscilla Presley, natch. We call it our own personal Graceland. Photos via Style.com, see the full collection here.
10. Erdem
From an austere (but totally bad-ass) black leather trench to a strapless mustard yellow dress (with pockets!), Erdem's fall collection provided plenty of style stimulation. The designer's trademark dresses flaunted nature-inspired prints and a variety of textures this go-round, with shaggy wool cardigans and a shearling-collared camel coat thrown into the mix. Photos via Style.com, see the full collection here.

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