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Fashion takes London by storm with Preen, Topshop, Mulberry

Associated Press logo Associated Press 2/19/2017 By SYLVIA HUI and GREGORY KATZ, Associated Press
Models wear creations by designer Topshop Unique during their Autumn/Winter 2017 show, as part of London Fashion Week, Sunday, Feb. 19, 2017. (Photo by Joel Ryan/Invision/AP) © The Associated Press Models wear creations by designer Topshop Unique during their Autumn/Winter 2017 show, as part of London Fashion Week, Sunday, Feb. 19, 2017. (Photo by Joel Ryan/Invision/AP)

LONDON (AP) — London Fashion Week neared its climax Sunday with shows by Preen, Topshop, Mulberry and others taking place at many sites in the more-chic-than-usual British capital.

A model wears a creation by designer Topshop Unique during their Autumn/Winter 2017 show, as part of London Fashion Week, Sunday, Feb. 19, 2017. (Photo by Joel Ryan/Invision/AP) © The Associated Press A model wears a creation by designer Topshop Unique during their Autumn/Winter 2017 show, as part of London Fashion Week, Sunday, Feb. 19, 2017. (Photo by Joel Ryan/Invision/AP)

A fleet of Mercedes-Benz sedans is ferrying VIPs from venue to venue as buyers, bloggers and wannabes gauge each show for that elusive dash of something special and off the wall. Not to be outdone, some have arrived at shows in a polished silver Rolls-Royce.

A model wears a creation by designer Topshop Unique during their Autumn/Winter 2017 show, as part of London Fashion Week, Sunday, Feb. 19, 2017. (Photo by Joel Ryan/Invision/AP) © The Associated Press A model wears a creation by designer Topshop Unique during their Autumn/Winter 2017 show, as part of London Fashion Week, Sunday, Feb. 19, 2017. (Photo by Joel Ryan/Invision/AP)

The pace of shows is a challenge for anyone trying not to miss a thing. The Monday slate is full as well, topped by the long-anticipated Burberry show.

A model wears a creation by designer Topshop Unique during their Autumn/Winter 2017 show, as part of London Fashion Week, Sunday, Feb. 19, 2017. (Photo by Joel Ryan/Invision/AP) © The Associated Press A model wears a creation by designer Topshop Unique during their Autumn/Winter 2017 show, as part of London Fashion Week, Sunday, Feb. 19, 2017. (Photo by Joel Ryan/Invision/AP)

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A model wears a creation by designer Topshop Unique during their Autumn/Winter 2017 show, as part of London Fashion Week, Sunday, Feb. 19, 2017. (Photo by Joel Ryan/Invision/AP) © The Associated Press A model wears a creation by designer Topshop Unique during their Autumn/Winter 2017 show, as part of London Fashion Week, Sunday, Feb. 19, 2017. (Photo by Joel Ryan/Invision/AP)

ARISTOCRATIC CHIC AT MULBERRY

Models wear creations by designer Topshop Unique during their Autumn/Winter 2017 show, as part of London Fashion Week, Sunday, Feb. 19, 2017. (Photo by Joel Ryan/Invision/AP) © The Associated Press Models wear creations by designer Topshop Unique during their Autumn/Winter 2017 show, as part of London Fashion Week, Sunday, Feb. 19, 2017. (Photo by Joel Ryan/Invision/AP)

Amid all the political debate on Brexit, British identity was the topic of the day — even on the catwalk.

A model wears a creation by designer Topshop Unique during their Autumn/Winter 2017 show, as part of London Fashion Week, Sunday, Feb. 19, 2017. (Photo by Joel Ryan/Invision/AP) © The Associated Press A model wears a creation by designer Topshop Unique during their Autumn/Winter 2017 show, as part of London Fashion Week, Sunday, Feb. 19, 2017. (Photo by Joel Ryan/Invision/AP)

Designer Johnny Coca, who heads heritage brand Mulberry, on Sunday dished up his vision of British style — one that is aristocratic and traditional, though with some funky twists. Think horse riding and hunting while staying at an English country mansion: Tweeds, checks, nostalgic florals on faded wallpapers, pearls and heirloom jewelry.

Models wear creations by Preen during the Autumn/Winter 2017 London Fashion Week as part of London Fashion Week, Sunday Feb. 19, 2017. (Isabel Infantes/PA via AP) © The Associated Press Models wear creations by Preen during the Autumn/Winter 2017 London Fashion Week as part of London Fashion Week, Sunday Feb. 19, 2017. (Isabel Infantes/PA via AP)

"It's all the things I like about the U.K.: the countryside, the hunting, the wallpaper, the checks and embroidery," Coca, who is Spanish, said backstage.

A model wears a creation by Anya Hindmarch during the Autumn/Winter 2017 London Fashion Week show as part of London Fashion Week, Sunday Feb. 19, 2017. (Matt Crossick/PA via AP) © The Associated Press A model wears a creation by Anya Hindmarch during the Autumn/Winter 2017 London Fashion Week show as part of London Fashion Week, Sunday Feb. 19, 2017. (Matt Crossick/PA via AP)

The show opened with models sporting head-to-toe brown and green checks, featured on box pleat skirts and mannish tweed blazers that look like they were borrowed from the models' fathers.

A model wears a creation by Anya Hindmarch during the Autumn/Winter 2017 London Fashion Week show as part of London Fashion Week, Sunday Feb. 19, 2017. (Matt Crossick/PA via AP) © The Associated Press A model wears a creation by Anya Hindmarch during the Autumn/Winter 2017 London Fashion Week show as part of London Fashion Week, Sunday Feb. 19, 2017. (Matt Crossick/PA via AP)

Then came a series of large quilted capes, which Coca said were inspired by horse blankets and the equestrian styles of English country dress. There were vintage rose prints that came from sofa fabrics found in the brand's archive, and pearl chains and oversized cameo locket pendants adorned the outfits.

Models wear creations by Anya Hindmarch during the Autumn/Winter 2017 London Fashion Week show as part of London Fashion Week, Sunday Feb. 19, 2017. (Matt Crossick/PA via AP) © The Associated Press Models wear creations by Anya Hindmarch during the Autumn/Winter 2017 London Fashion Week show as part of London Fashion Week, Sunday Feb. 19, 2017. (Matt Crossick/PA via AP)

The handbags — which are coveted by fans worldwide and the brand's bestselling items — had a vintage feel, too, with structured shapes that recalled hatboxes and antique luggage.

A model wears a creation by designer Topshop Unique during their Autumn/Winter 2017 show, as part of London Fashion Week, Sunday, Feb. 19, 2017. (Photo by Joel Ryan/Invision/AP) © The Associated Press A model wears a creation by designer Topshop Unique during their Autumn/Winter 2017 show, as part of London Fashion Week, Sunday, Feb. 19, 2017. (Photo by Joel Ryan/Invision/AP)

Much of the collection brought to mind the 1970s, with its earthy tones, crochet dresses, rich brocade and loose flowing skirts. That's because the clothes drew heavily from Mulberry's 1970s archive, Coca said.

A model wears a creation by designer Temperley during their Autumn/Winter 2017 show, as part of London Fashion Week, Sunday, Feb. 19, 2017. (Photo by Joel Ryan/Invision/AP) © The Associated Press A model wears a creation by designer Temperley during their Autumn/Winter 2017 show, as part of London Fashion Week, Sunday, Feb. 19, 2017. (Photo by Joel Ryan/Invision/AP)

In case things got too retro or stuffy, the designer inserted some modern and quirky touches. Models wore furry knee socks in bright green and mustard, and outfits featured bold clashing colors, such as an orange blouse paired with a purple skirt and turquoise boots.

A model wears a creation by designer Temperley during their Autumn/Winter 2017 show, as part of London Fashion Week, Sunday, Feb. 19, 2017. (Photo by Joel Ryan/Invision/AP) © The Associated Press A model wears a creation by designer Temperley during their Autumn/Winter 2017 show, as part of London Fashion Week, Sunday, Feb. 19, 2017. (Photo by Joel Ryan/Invision/AP)

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A model wears a creation by designer Mulberry during their Autumn/Winter 2017 show, as part of London Fashion Week, Sunday, Feb. 19, 2017. (Photo by Joel Ryan/Invision/AP) © The Associated Press A model wears a creation by designer Mulberry during their Autumn/Winter 2017 show, as part of London Fashion Week, Sunday, Feb. 19, 2017. (Photo by Joel Ryan/Invision/AP)

TOPSHOP UNIQUE DOES BREEZY BOHEMIAN

A model wears a creation by designer Mulberry during their Autumn/Winter 2017 show, as part of London Fashion Week, Sunday, Feb. 19, 2017. (Photo by Joel Ryan/Invision/AP) © The Associated Press A model wears a creation by designer Mulberry during their Autumn/Winter 2017 show, as part of London Fashion Week, Sunday, Feb. 19, 2017. (Photo by Joel Ryan/Invision/AP)

She's a bohemian soul, living in the moment — Topshop Unique's latest offering is all about clothes that give off that carefree, freewheeling vibe.

Mulberry Designer Johnny Coca waves following the Mulberry Autumn/Winter 2017 show, as part of London Fashion Week, Sunday, Feb. 19, 2017. (Photo by Joel Ryan/Invision/AP) © The Associated Press Mulberry Designer Johnny Coca waves following the Mulberry Autumn/Winter 2017 show, as part of London Fashion Week, Sunday, Feb. 19, 2017. (Photo by Joel Ryan/Invision/AP)

The outfits may look thrown on and eclectic, but the look is anything but effortless. Getting the dressed down cool girl look just right requires careful layering and thought.

A model wears a creation by designer Temperley during their Autumn/Winter 2017 show, as part of London Fashion Week, Sunday, Feb. 19, 2017. (Photo by Joel Ryan/Invision/AP) © The Associated Press A model wears a creation by designer Temperley during their Autumn/Winter 2017 show, as part of London Fashion Week, Sunday, Feb. 19, 2017. (Photo by Joel Ryan/Invision/AP)

Staged in a basement hall in London's Tate Modern art gallery, the label's show featured models in figure-hugging, bias-cut slip dresses — some with high slits — that were layered under graphic sweatshirts, oversized sweaters and outdoorsy fleeces.

A model wears a creation by designer Temperley during their Autumn/Winter 2017 show, as part of London Fashion Week, Sunday, Feb. 19, 2017. (Photo by Joel Ryan/Invision/AP) © The Associated Press A model wears a creation by designer Temperley during their Autumn/Winter 2017 show, as part of London Fashion Week, Sunday, Feb. 19, 2017. (Photo by Joel Ryan/Invision/AP)

Elsewhere, super-short mini-skirts in high-shine primary colors and satiny, striped wide trousers were paired with sporty striped tops.

As always with Topshop, there was plenty of fun and attention-grabbing party wear, too. A huge, fluffy orange coat stood out, as well as some silver sequined dresses adorned with bright floral embroidery.

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PREEN MAKES IT MARK IN SPRINGTIME SETTING

It's time for fall and winter collections, but the space set up by Preen by Thornton Bregazzi had a springtime feel more in tune with the British countryside with painted splashes of color suggesting flowers bursting into bloom.

This cheerful feeling pervaded the collection, with many black outfits set off by floral themes relying on fine embroidery and other outfits featuring reds and blues.

The models wore smeared red lipstick (evocative of a kiss, the designers said) and the choices were unusual, including a black and white shearling coat worn over a black floral bra.

Gowns were styled off the shoulder, and flat shoes and boots featured pale pink, a color seen in a number of outfits in the first few days of fashion week.

There was also a traditionally tailored tweed suit, as might have been in style a century ago, but set off with an oversize, bright green color, and a lingerie-style dress.

Designers Justin Thornton and Thea Bregazzi displayed photos of books they said had helped inspire the collection, including works by poet Carol Ann Duffy, the photographer Christina Boom and the artist Tracey Emin.

"It's just a celebration of women throughout history and the importance of women who have something to say," Thornton said of the collection.

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