Naomi Campbell is having a big year. Not only will the supermodel be presented with the Fashion Icon accolade at this December’s Fashion Awards (formerly known as the British Fashion Awards), she also brought back Fashion for Relief this year. And it took place this week at London Fashion Week, earmarked almost certainly as the jewel in the week’s fashion crown.
The champagne flowed – almost literally – down the steps of the British Museum as did the skirts of the guests clad in sequins and their finest eveningwear (something which overall does seem to be having something of a comeback at LFW) waited to see the charity gala’s latest iteration. Noted for its star-studded fabulousness and a show not to miss, catwalkers in the past have included Bella Hadid and Natalia Vodianova.
First launched back in 2005, Fashion for Relief was initially set up in the wake of New Orleans’ Hurricane Katrina, to raise funds for the victims via a charity fashion show. Since then, it’s popped up in New York, Cannes, Moscow, Mumbai, and Dar es Salaam to raise money for important causes around the world. This year’s is in conjunction with UNICEF and sponsored by Chrome Hearts and Gucci.
And this evening felt like a little bit of a homecoming. The latter Noughties were peppered with such stellar LFW events as these, those that brought some star status as much as they did the feel-good-factor. And Campbell was pleased to be back.
Daniel Lismore opened the show, and Naomi herself did a couple of circuits of the catwalk (prompting a camera phone frenzy); model Leomie Anderson was among the line-up, as well as Erin O’Connor.
But this wasn’t a typical show and to report on what was on the catwalk would be misleading. A lengthy list of dedicated supporters – from Charlotte Knowles (who shows on Tuesday) to Dior Men, Marc Jacobs and Richard Quinn (who shows Monday) – were among those that received a special thanks in the notes; outfits were a mix of designers and looks with more than 80 models taking to the runway to show them all off.
The only prevailing trend, of course, was that off the catwalk quiffs and ball gowns dominated, for serious dressing up – á la Halpern who we had seen earlier in the day – for those who had come out to see and celebrate the special night which was open to the public if they bought a ticket. And if they did, singer Eve also came as part of the package, performing later on in the evening.
Back on the catwalk and to close the show, Campbell had invited 30 students from Elmgreen School in Lambeth to take a finale, dressed in the show T-shirts, which read “Fashion for Relief.” Suitably shy, it was that ideal down-to-earth realness required for an event whose mission, while to raise money and awareness for important issues, does so wrapped up in a glamour that can be intimidating to the outside world. Everyone, of course, likes to dress up; but dressed down and the manifesto carried weight.