Burberry catwalk showcases streetwear, elegant classics
By SYLVIA HUI and GREGORY KATZ
Monday, February 18
LONDON (AP) — Victoria Beckham doesn’t need celebrities at her fashion shows — her A-list family provides more than enough star power.
The designer’s husband, retired soccer superstar David Beckham, and the couple’s four children turned up as guests of honor Sunday to support her London Fashion Week show. The former Spice Girl was among the big names showcasing their latest designs in the British capital, alongside Vivienne Westwood, Burberry and Roland Mouret.
Westwood used her show to spotlight climate change and warn of impending doom, Burberry featured a diverse show of streetwear and elegant classics, and Peter Pilotto showed a wide variety of lovely dresses and jumpsuits.
A look at Sunday’s highlights:
BURBERRY SHOWS WIDE RANGE, HONORS HERITAGE IN CATWALK SHOW
Burberry earned its place — again — as one of the top shows in London Fashion Week on Sunday with a widely ranging catwalk show that honored the British brand’s long tradition but showed it is still ready to mix it up and set trends.
Chief Creative Officer Riccardo Tisci showed in his second collection that he is perfectly comfortable stretching the Burberry look to keep its younger fans happy while easily switching gears to create classic, severely tailored ensembles that ooze chic.
The two sides of the Burberry coin were reflected in the two adjacent rooms where the collection was shown: one a sedate auditorium with comfortable, padded seats; the other a raucous wide-open space ringed by a climbing gym of the type young kids would use.
“I have been thinking a lot about England as a country of contrasts, from the structured to the rebellious and free, and I wanted to celebrate how these elements coexist,” Tisci said.
He said he had four characters in mind when putting the collection together: a girl and a boy, and a lady and a gentleman.
The transition was obvious as models went from street-style clothes — oversize puffer jackets, metallic ornamentation, revealing slip dresses, silver boots, faux fur, big red plastic sneakers — to subtle, timeless outfits in muted fall colors.
There were occasional references to the brand’s earlier incarnation as a purveyor of fine, traditional menswear as a few models were dressed in classic suits and ties, including one double-breasted throwback.
Tisci made ample and imaginative use of the traditional Burberry trench and check, and paired a number of sexy evening dresses with full-length coats for a look at once provocative and classy.
There were a few eccentric touches, including an outfit set off by a giant scarf that paid homage to “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner” by English poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge.
Tisci seems to be enjoying his time at Burberry, treasuring tradition but refusing to be overwhelmed by it.
FAMILY AFFAIR AT VICTORIA BECKHAM
The front row at Victoria Beckham’s runway show has a younger average age than the VIP seats at other shows. The designer’s youngest, 7-year-old Harper, sat on her dad’s lap for a cuddle as he chatted amiably with American Vogue editor Anna Wintour.
Like everyone else, Beckham family members in the audience whipped out smartphones to take a picture of Victoria Beckham when she came out for a bow at the end of the display.
The designer said she wanted to channel “modern femininity” and cinematic drama for the collection and had in mind a particular image of the woman wearing her clothes.
“She’s proper but she’s definitely not prim,” Beckham wrote in her show notes.
The result was a mix of ladylike classics — tailored check blazers, tweeds, argyle jumpers, silky blouses neatly tucked into pencil skirts — with saucy, eye-catching details like knee-high, open-toed sock boots in lipstick red or leopard, or bright satin stilettos in citrus, bright fuchsia and chartreuse.
The bell-bottomed trouser, a style the designer has adopted as her signature, made an appearance. So did the trend for checks, which still appears to be going strong. One ensemble featured a wide-lapelled coat, trousers and a tote bag in the same brown check pattern.
SUITED AND BOOTED AT ROLAND MOURET
Roland Mouret, the designer once best known for his skin-tight “bandage” dress, has moved on. For the upcoming autumn and winter season, his clothes are all about oversized shapes and mannish suits.
Mouret, whose fans include Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, said he was interested in proportions and styling pieces without regard to traditional gender divides.
There’s a creamy white double-breasted trouser suit, and boxy wide blazers were worn over silky, flowing dresses. A slouchy, checked suit with drawstring trousers was paired with a low-cut Lurex top.
For those looking for a properly oversized piece, Mouret offers up a huge, shaggy faux fur coat that is sure to be the talk of the party wherever it goes.
There’s still much that’s traditionally soft and feminine, though. Asymmetric, handkerchief-hem skirts caress the calves and swish beautifully with movement. Strategically draped bodices slyly reveal a shoulder here and a collarbone there. The shimmering metallic Lurex adds luxury, and the show’s closing look, a pale blush gown worn under a matching faux fur coat, is made of a fabric so light it billows like clouds.
VIVIENNE WESTWOOD GOES GUERRILLA THEATER
The grand dame of British fashion, Vivienne Westwood, put fashion on the back burner Sunday and turned her catwalk show into a broadside against climate change, corporate greed and other ills.
Westwood has moved in that direction in recent years, but she went into guerrilla theater mode for this latest show. It featured angry models stopping in the middle of the catwalk to denounce the planet’s problems, finding time to complain about artificial intelligence, robots, Brexit and a whole lot more.
The first model set the tone by announcing the world would be dead unless something is done this year. The models warned, to a percussive, threatening sound track, that humanity would soon go deaf and blind and have squished internal organs.
A free speech advocate wore a slogan-covered jacket, saying it was to honor Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks who in 2012 took asylum in Ecuador’s Embassy in London to avoid extradition.
One model with a microphone proclaimed “Hollywood has made us into zombies.” A wittier riposte came from the model who announced, “England is going to die from irony.”
The clothes on offer were distinctly androgynous. Many male models were outfitted in dresses or tops and skirts, though others wore beautifully made suits with distinctive draping and a very English look.
Westwood is a fashion legend dating back to the punk era who seemingly can do no wrong with her legions of fans. She was greeted with adoring applause when she emerged at the end of the show and sang that Britain can once again lead the way.
LOVELY DRESSES, JUMPSUITS, TAILORED OUTFITS BY PETER PILOTTO
Designer Peter Pilotto seems to be moving from strength to strength as he solidifies his place as one of London Fashion Week’s leading lights.
He showed a wide array of very soft, feminine dresses, jumpsuits and tailored tops and skirts Sunday, including some asymmetrical, off-the-shoulder dresses made of luscious silk and other fabrics. Pilotto and Chrisotpher De Vos said the collection contained “a nod to the gilded splendor of bygone empires” and there was a timeless quality to the collection.
Pilotto is fond of high-waisted trousers matched with revealing top. There were sparkly jumpsuits galore, an array of the silk print dresses that he’s known for, and a bounty of tailored, shaped floral suits and wraparound dresses that could be seen as a celebration of beauty.
Some of the models set off their outfits with long, sparkly gloves that added a metallic sheen to the ensembles. Others wore blouses with dreamy, billowing sheer sleeves. One of the few misfires was a series of pleated skirts with contrasting tops that didn’t really shine.
Pilotto seems to be hitting his stride, buoyed by the buzz surrounding his wedding dress for Princess Eugenie last year. His collections have become a highlight of fashion week.
In Brexit limbo, UK veers between high anxiety, grim humor
By JILL LAWLESS
Monday, February 18
LONDON (AP) — It’s said that history often repeats itself — the first time as tragedy, the second as farce. Many Britons feel they are living through both at the same time as their country navigates its way out of the European Union.
The British government awarded a contract to ship in emergency supplies to a company with no ships. It pledged to replace citizens’ burgundy European passports with proudly British blue ones — and gave the contract to a Franco-Dutch company. It promised to forge trade deals with 73 countries by the end of March, but two years later has only a handful in place (including one with the Faroe Islands).
Pretty much everyone in the U.K. agrees that the Conservative government’s handling of Brexit has been disastrous. Unfortunately, that’s about the only thing this divided nation can agree on.
With Britain due to leave the EU in six weeks and still no deal in sight on the terms of its departure, both supporters and opponents of Brexit are in a state of high anxiety.
Pro-EU “remainers” lament the looming end of Britons’ right to live and work in 27 other European nations and fear the U.K. is about to crash out of the bloc without even a divorce deal to cushion the blow.
Brexiteers worry that their dream of leaving the EU will be dashed by bureaucratic shenanigans that will delay its departure or keep Britain bound to EU regulations forever.
“I still think they’ll find a way to curtail it or extend it into infinity,” said “leave” supporter Lucy Harris. “I have a horrible feeling that they’re going to dress it up and label it as something we want, but it isn’t.”
It has been more than two and a half years since Britons voted 52 percent to 48 percent to leave the EU. Then came many months of tense negotiations to settle on Brexit departure terms and the outline of future relations. At last, the EU and Prime Minister Theresa May’s government struck a deal — then saw it resoundingly rejected last month by Britain’s Parliament, which like the rest of the country has split into pro-Brexit and pro-EU camps.
May is now seeking changes to the Brexit deal in hope of getting it through Parliament before March 29. EU leaders say they won’t renegotiate, and accuse Britain of failing to offer a way out of the impasse.
May insists she won’t ask the EU to delay Britain’s departure, and has refused to rule out a cliff-edge no-deal Brexit.
Meanwhile, Brexit has clogged the gears of Britain’s economic and political life. The economy has stalled, growing by only 0.2 percent in the fourth quarter as business investment registered a fourth straight quarterly decline.
Big political decisions have been postponed, as May’s minority Conservative government struggles to get bills through a squabbling and divided Parliament. Major legislation needed to prepare for Brexit has yet to be approved.
Britain still does not have a deal on future trade with the EU, and it’s unclear what tariffs or other barriers British firms that do business with Europe will face after March 29.
That has left businesses and citizens in an agonizing limbo.
Rod McKenzie, director of policy at the Road Haulage Association, a truckers’ lobby group, feels “pure anger” at a government he says has failed to plan, leaving haulers uncertain whether they will be able to travel to EU countries after March 29.
McKenzie says truckers were told they will need Europe-issued permits to drive through EU countries if Britain leaves the bloc without a deal. Of more than 11,000 who applied, only 984 — less than 10 percent — have been granted the papers.
“It will put people out of business,” McKenzie said. “It’s been an absolutely disastrous process for our industry, which keeps Britain supplied with, essentially, everything.”
He’s not alone in raising the specter of shortages; both the government and British businesses have been stockpiling key goods in case of a no-deal Brexit.
Still, some Brexit-backers, such as former Daily Telegraph editor Charles Moore, relish the prospect of a clean break even if it brings short-term pain.
“Perhaps it is time for a Brexit recipe book, like those comforting wartime rationing ones full of bright ideas for dull things,” Moore wrote in The Spectator, a conservative magazine. He added that he and his neighbors were willing to “set out in our little ships to Dunkirk or wherever and bring back luscious black-market lettuces and French beans, oranges and lemons.”
Brexit supporters often turn to nostalgic evocations of World War II and Britain’s “finest hour,” to the annoyance of pro-Europeans.
The imagery reached a peak of absurdity during a recent BBC news report on Brexit, when the anchor announced that “Theresa May says she intends to go back to Brussels to renegotiate her Brexit deal,” as the screen cut to black-and-white footage of World War II British Spitfires going into battle.
The BBC quickly said the startling juxtaposition was a mistake: The footage was intended for an item about a new Battle of Britain museum. Skeptics saw it as evidence of the broadcaster’s bias, though they disagreed on whether the BBC was biased in favor of Brexit or against it.
Some pro-Europeans have hit back against Brexit with despairing humor.
Four friends have started plastering billboards in London with 20-foot-by-10-foot (6-meter-by-3-meter) images of pro-Brexit politicians’ past tweets, to expose what the group sees as their hypocrisy.
Highlights included former U.K. Independence Party leader Nigel Farage’s vow that “if Brexit is a disaster, I will go and live abroad,” and ex-Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson’s pledge to “make a titanic success” of Brexit.
The friends dubbed the campaign “Led by Donkeys,” after the description of British soldiers in World War I as “lions led by donkeys.” The billboards are now going nationwide, after a crowdfunding campaign raised almost 150,000 pounds ($193,000).
“It was a cry of pain, genuine pain, at the chaos in this country and the lies that brought us here,” said a member of the group, a London charity worker who spoke on condition of anonymity because their initial guerrilla posters could be considered illegal.
A similar feeling of alienation reigns across the Brexit divide in the “leave” camp.
After the referendum, Harris, a 28-year-old classically trained singer, founded a group called Leavers of London so Brexiteers could socialize without facing opprobrium from neighbors and colleagues who don’t share their views. It has grown into Leavers of Britain, with branches across the country.
Harris said members “feel like in their workplaces or their personal lives, they’re not accepted for their democratic vote. They’re seen as bad people.”
“I’m really surprised I still have to do this,” she said. But she thinks Britain’s EU divide is as wide as it ever was.
“There can’t be reconciliation until Brexit is done,” she said.
Whenever that is.
Follow Jill Lawless on Twitter at http://Twitter.com/JillLawless . Follow AP’s full coverage of Brexit at: https://www.apnews.com/Brexit
Brex-split: 7 lawmakers quit Labour over EU, anti-Semitism
By JILL LAWLESS
LONDON (AP) — Seven British lawmakers quit the main opposition Labour Party on Monday over its approach to issues including Brexit and anti-Semitism — the biggest shake-up in years for one of Britain’s major political parties.
The announcement ripped open a long-simmering rift between socialists and centrists in the party, which sees itself as the representative of Britain’s working class. It’s also the latest fallout from Britain’s decision to leave the European Union, which has split both of the country’s two main parties — Conservatives and Labour — into pro-Brexit and pro-EU camps.
Many Labour lawmakers have been unhappy with the party’s direction under leader Jeremy Corbyn, a veteran socialist who took charge in 2015 with strong grass-roots backing. They accuse Corbyn of mounting a weak opposition to Conservative Prime Minister Theresa May’s plans for leaving the EU, and of failing to stamp out a vein of anti-Semitism in the party.
The splitters — who have between nine and 27 years’ experience in Parliament and represent constituencies across England — make up a small fraction of Labour’s 256 lawmakers, or of the 650 total members of Parliament. But this is the biggest split in the Labour party since four senior members quit in 1981 to form the Social Democratic Party.
Luciana Berger, one of those who quit Monday, said Labour had become “institutionally anti-Semitic.”
“I am leaving behind a culture of bullying, bigotry and intimidation,” she said at a news conference alongside six colleagues.
Labour leaders have admitted that Berger, who is Jewish, has been bullied by some members of her local party in northwest England.
Labour has been riven by allegations that the party has become hostile to Jews under Corbyn, a longtime supporter of the Palestinians. Corbyn’s supporters accuse political opponents and right-wing media outlets of misrepresenting his views.
There have long been signs that British voters’ 2016 decision to leave the EU could spark a major overhaul of British politics. May’s Conservatives are in the throes of a civil war between the party’s pro-Brexit and pro-EU wings. Labour is also split.
Many Labour members oppose Brexit — which is due in less than six weeks, on March 29 — and want the party to fight to hold a new referendum that could keep Britain in the 28-nation bloc.
But Corbyn, who spent decades criticizing the EU before becoming a lukewarm convert to the “remain” cause in the 2016 referendum, is reluctant to do anything that could be seen as defying voters’ decision to leave.
“I am furious that the leadership is complicit in facilitating Brexit, which will cause great economic, social and political damage to our country,” said Mike Gapes, one of the departing lawmakers.
The seven members of Parliament leaving Labour said they will continue to sit in the House of Commons as the newly formed Independent Group.
Corbyn said he was “disappointed that these MPs have felt unable to continue to work together for the Labour policies that inspired millions at the last election and saw us increase our vote by the largest share since 1945.”
The Labour lawmakers who quit in 1981 eventually became today’s Liberal Democrats, a centrist party that has failed to topple the dominance of the two bigger parties.
The new group of seven stopped short of forming a new political party, but the seeds have been sown. The new group has a name, a website and a statement of principles, which argues for a mix of pro-businesses and social-welfare measures and a pro-Western foreign policy that is closer to the “New Labour” of former Prime Minister Tony Blair than to Corbyn’s old-school socialism.
Their statement said the Labour Party “now pursues policies that would weaken our national security; accepts the narratives of states hostile to our country; has failed to take a lead in addressing the challenge of Brexit and to provide a strong and coherent alternative to the Conservatives’ approach.”
The departing lawmakers said they would not be joining the Liberal Democrats, and urged members of other parties to help them create a new centrist force in British politics.
“We do not think any of the major parties is fit for power,” said lawmaker Angela Smith. “People feel politically homeless and they are asking and begging for an alternative.”
Victoria Honeyman, a lecturer in politics at the University of Leeds, said history suggests the breakaway group will struggle to gain traction in British politics.
“It’s very cold out there as an independent,” she said. “It’s all well and good leaving because you believe the party has moved away from you, but you can often achieve more from being inside the tent.”
John Kasich fundraising note
There is so much noise coming out of D.C. that most people long ago started tuning out what’s going on. I don’t blame them. But now is not the time to sit quietly and hope it goes away.
Convinced that we’re not going to see an end to the endless zero-sum game politics, where both sides only seem concerned about winning, I will continue to speak out on these issues and do what I can to create change from the ground up.
I’m sick of Washington playing endless politics. But I can’t do it alone. We can send a message to Washington that there is a better way. Please consider supporting this effort (here).
To make my point, here are just a couple examples of the things that happened this past week:
The U.S. National Debt is now at $22 trillion dollars and rising fast
Take a moment to think about what that means for future generations of Americans who will have to pay for this.
Is this the America we’re proud of? Will this “Make America Great Again” ??
Liberal Democrats Killed the Amazon Deal, Denying New York 25,000 Jobs
During my time as governor of Ohio, we created more than 570,000 new jobs, so I know a little something about economic development.
Some very vocal elected officials used Amazon as a target to further promote their liberal ideologies and devised a strategy to block the Amazon deal. This wasn’t done for good economic policy – it was done for political grandstanding. And a huge number of working-class families will pay the price in lost job opportunities.
The President has now set a very dangerous precedent with the use of Executive authority to declare a national emergency
This was in spite of the fact that both parties came together and passed a border security plan.
By subverting Congress’ Constitutional authority, this is guaranteed to get tied up in the courts, as it should.
Again the President let politics rule the day and our nation’s real problems continue to be thrown aside. Regardless of party, we elect our President to be the President of ALL Americans.
We can’t rest on our laurels. It’s up to each of us to speak up, take action and let D.C. hear loud and clear that this must stop. Our country is so much better than this.
Thank you for your support. Anything you can do to help us hit our February fundraising goal to pay for our grassroots efforts would be helpful!