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Models wear creations by Bora Aksu at the Spring/Summer 2020 fashion week runway show in London, Friday, Sept. 13, 2019. (Photo by Grant Pollard/Invision/AP)

London Fashion Week: Extravaganza kicks off with gala shows

LONDON — Styles fans in high heels, skinny jeans and dragon-themed jackets have descended on London with Friday’s start of Fashion Week.

The opening of London Fashion Week was marked by protests — fashion doesn’t pay enough attention to climate change, the activists said — and warnings that Brexit poses a threat to the industry.

But by afternoon the focus was on the champagne and the clothes with the first of five days of shows that will include big names like Burberry, Victoria Beckham and Christopher Kane. One of the main events will be a Fashion for Relief show hosted by model Naomi Campbell.

There were catwalk shows by Bora Aksu, Roberta Einer and other luminaries and collection presentations Friday as the extravaganza kicked off.

Marta Jakubowski

A London-based designer who is gaining prominence on the fashion scene, Jakubowski, born in Poland and raised in Germany, has brought her minimalist aesthetic to the runways of the British capital.

She said her spring and summer 2020 collection was inspired in part by film star Marlene Dietrich and seeks to combine the codes of power dressing from various eras.

A model wears a creation by Mark Fast (Invision/AP)

The designs were asymmetric and relied heavily on a light color palette, with many shades of blue and lavender. A long black dress with a white choker was particularly dramatic, as was an off-the-should black ensemble.

The look was elegant and deceptively simple, without a riot of color or discordant prints. Some outfits featured high-waisted trousers, and others were eye-catching in pure white and elegant draping.

Temperley London 

Designer Alice Temperley presented her summer 2020 collection at her boutique in central London, displaying many of her signature, beautifully made dresses to a crowd that seemed enchanted by the workmanship and whimsy.

The designer said the collection was meant to evoke Italian escapes, travel to warm climates, and dreams of the French Riviera and Venice. That’s a heady challenge for anyone, but she seemed capable of pulling it off.

Temperley relied on a soft palette, contrasting pale colors, and elaborate beading and sequins to provide the romance of her look.

Her dresses have a distinctive, extremely feminine style, and they fall easily without fuss. Her eye is unique and distinctive, giving an understated glamour to the collection.

Extinction Rebellion protesters at the official opening of London Fashion Week in London, Friday Sept. 13, 2019.  (PA via AP)

Fashion and Brexit 

British fashion officials warned about the perils of a “no-deal” Brexit.

At an opening event, Stephanie Phair, chairwoman of the British Fashion Council, said the industry is urging Britain’s government to find a Brexit deal rather than leave the European Union without new arrangements in place.

She said studies show a “no-deal” Brexit would cost the fashion industry well over 800 million pounds ($1 billion). She said the British government should negotiate a deal that would ensure “the healthy and steady growth of the fashion industry.”

Climate protest 

Extinction Rebellion climate protesters glued themselves to an entrance to the fashion extravaganza.

The group said five of its activists covered themselves in fake blood and staged a “die-in” to protest fashion’s contribution to the “climate and ecological crisis.” The group said it plans protests throughout London Fashion Week.

Fashion week officials declined to comment on the protest.

A model wears a creation by Mark Fast at the Spring/Summer 2020 fashion week runway show in London, Friday, Sept. 13, 2019. (Photo by Vianney Le Caer/Invision/AP)