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London Fashion Week opens amid Brexit uncertainties

Associated Press logo Associated Press 2/17/2017 By GREGORY KATZ and SYLVIA HUI, Associated Press
A model wears a creation by designer Bora Aksu during the runway show as part of London Fashion Week, Friday, Feb. 17, 2017. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant) © The Associated Press A model wears a creation by designer Bora Aksu during the runway show as part of London Fashion Week, Friday, Feb. 17, 2017. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)

LONDON (AP) — Models and fashion editors descended on Britain's sunny capital from snowy New York Friday for the start of London Fashion Week, kicking off a whirlwind of catwalk shows featuring Burberry, Versus, Roksanda and dozens of other designers.

A model wears a creation by designer Bora Aksu during the runway show as part of London Fashion Week, Friday, Feb. 17, 2017. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant) © The Associated Press A model wears a creation by designer Bora Aksu during the runway show as part of London Fashion Week, Friday, Feb. 17, 2017. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)

In all, the event will feature 51 catwalk shows and 31 presentations, including the latest designs from Anya Hindmarch, Mulberry, Erdem and Roland Mouret.

Models wear creations by designer Bora Aksu during the runway show as part of London Fashion Week, Friday, Feb. 17, 2017. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant) © The Associated Press Models wear creations by designer Bora Aksu during the runway show as part of London Fashion Week, Friday, Feb. 17, 2017. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)

The first day of the fashion showcase started in a new location on the Strand in central London. Here are some highlights:

Models wear creations by designer Bora Aksu during the runway show as part of London Fashion Week, Friday, Feb. 17, 2017. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant) © The Associated Press Models wear creations by designer Bora Aksu during the runway show as part of London Fashion Week, Friday, Feb. 17, 2017. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)

BREXIT ANXIETIES LOOM

Exhibition assistant Monique Ricketts puts finishing touches to a display by Egyptian fashion designers at Somerset House in London, Thursday, Feb. 16, 2017. The designs from 26 countries are displayed at the International Fashion Showcase 2017, presented by the British Council and British Fashion Council, supported by Mercedes Benz. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth) © The Associated Press Exhibition assistant Monique Ricketts puts finishing touches to a display by Egyptian fashion designers at Somerset House in London, Thursday, Feb. 16, 2017. The designs from 26 countries are displayed at the International Fashion Showcase 2017, presented by the British Council and British Fashion Council, supported by Mercedes Benz. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)

For a change, politics took center stage as the event opened.

Exhibition assistant Monique Ricketts puts finishing touches to a display by Egyptian fashion designers at Somerset House in London, Thursday, Feb. 16, 2017. The designs from 26 countries are displayed at the International Fashion Showcase 2017, presented by the British Council and British Fashion Council, supported by Mercedes Benz. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth) © The Associated Press Exhibition assistant Monique Ricketts puts finishing touches to a display by Egyptian fashion designers at Somerset House in London, Thursday, Feb. 16, 2017. The designs from 26 countries are displayed at the International Fashion Showcase 2017, presented by the British Council and British Fashion Council, supported by Mercedes Benz. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)

"Brexit" — Britain's upcoming exit from the European Union — and political uncertainties in the U.S. and Europe dominated opening remarks by the organizers, who urged the fashion industry to make a clear statement of unity and inclusiveness in the face of rising nationalism.

A model wears a creation by designer Bora Aksu during the runway show as part of London Fashion Week, Friday, Feb. 17, 2017. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant) © The Associated Press A model wears a creation by designer Bora Aksu during the runway show as part of London Fashion Week, Friday, Feb. 17, 2017. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)

Britain's fashion leaders are concerned about how Brexit will impact trade in an industry that has grown accustomed to the easy movement of talent and goods across European borders.

Exhibition assistant Monique Ricketts looks at a dress by Guetemalan fashion designer Thelma Espina on display at Somerset House in London, Thursday, Feb. 16, 2017. The designs from 26 countries are displayed at the International Fashion Showcase 2017, presented by the British Council and British Fashion Council, supported by Mercedes Benz. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth) © The Associated Press Exhibition assistant Monique Ricketts looks at a dress by Guetemalan fashion designer Thelma Espina on display at Somerset House in London, Thursday, Feb. 16, 2017. The designs from 26 countries are displayed at the International Fashion Showcase 2017, presented by the British Council and British Fashion Council, supported by Mercedes Benz. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)

"I'd like to take this opportunity ... to remind the government that retaining our competitive position isn't straightforward and we hope that you'll listen and understand our concerns and our needs when we talk to you about visas, talent, tariffs, and IP (intellectual property)," said Caroline Rush, chief executive of the British Fashion Council at an opening session.

A model wears a creation by designer Bora Aksu during the runway show as part of London Fashion Week, Friday, Feb. 17, 2017. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant) © The Associated Press A model wears a creation by designer Bora Aksu during the runway show as part of London Fashion Week, Friday, Feb. 17, 2017. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)

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A model wears a creation by designer Bora Aksu during the runway show as part of London Fashion Week, Friday, Feb. 17, 2017. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant) © The Associated Press A model wears a creation by designer Bora Aksu during the runway show as part of London Fashion Week, Friday, Feb. 17, 2017. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)

PASTELS AT BORA AKSU

A model wears a creation by designer Bora Aksu during the runway show as part of London Fashion Week, Friday, Feb. 17, 2017. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant) © The Associated Press A model wears a creation by designer Bora Aksu during the runway show as part of London Fashion Week, Friday, Feb. 17, 2017. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)

The London-based Turkish designer Bora Aksu dedicated his show to Princess Sophia Duleep Singh, a prominent advocate for women's rights in Britain during the suffragette movement. He said she showed a "beguiling combination of royalty and revolutionary fervor."

A model wears a creation by designer Bora Aksu during the runway show as part of London Fashion Week, Friday, Feb. 17, 2017. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant) © The Associated Press A model wears a creation by designer Bora Aksu during the runway show as part of London Fashion Week, Friday, Feb. 17, 2017. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)

The collection played heavily on lilacs, blues and powdery pinks. Some of the outfits offered playful variations on Victorian themes, complete with severe, almost masculine hats, while others were completely contemporary.

A model wears a creation by designer Eudon Choi during the runway show as part of London Fashion Week, Friday, Feb. 17, 2017. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant) © The Associated Press A model wears a creation by designer Eudon Choi during the runway show as part of London Fashion Week, Friday, Feb. 17, 2017. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)

The 1960s were present also, with some models braiding blue flowers into their hair and several outfits offering variation on black and white Op Art themes.

A model wears a creation by designer Eudon Choi during the runway show as part of London Fashion Week, Friday, Feb. 17, 2017. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant) © The Associated Press A model wears a creation by designer Eudon Choi during the runway show as part of London Fashion Week, Friday, Feb. 17, 2017. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)

A full-length pink and pale blue dress was particularly striking, seeming to bridge several eras of fashion history in a soft, subtle vision. At its best, the show had an ethereal quality.

A model wears a creation by designer Eudon Choi during the runway show as part of London Fashion Week, Friday, Feb. 17, 2017. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant) © The Associated Press A model wears a creation by designer Eudon Choi during the runway show as part of London Fashion Week, Friday, Feb. 17, 2017. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)

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A model wears a creation by designer Eudon Choi during the runway show as part of London Fashion Week, Friday, Feb. 17, 2017. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant) © The Associated Press A model wears a creation by designer Eudon Choi during the runway show as part of London Fashion Week, Friday, Feb. 17, 2017. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)

VIRTUAL REALITY

There is also a broad array of international talent on display at presentations at Somerset House, which includes designers from India, Guatemala, Slovakia and other parts of the world.

Some of those designers used indigenous designs and materials to craft wild, contemporary outfits.

The new presentation rooms at the Store Studios included a virtual reality display that let visitors don special equipment for brief presentations about London's fashion heritage plus a video about Alexander McQueen.

The headphones and goggles gave viewers a startling display of the workmanship and detailing that goes into the construction of the highest of high-end apparel.

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