LONDON — Fashion’s usually not that tough a crowd — compared with, say, the coal miners of the 1980s. But U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May was certainly feeling the pressure on Sept. 15 as she hosted a cocktail at No. 10 Downing Street to open London Fashion Week.
The style-conscious PM said she’s hosted a number of receptions since taking over the job in July, and normally “nobody would know what I’m wearing. Tonight, everybody knows,” said May, who was dressed in a Palmer Harding for John Lewis cotton blouse, black Amanda Wakeley trousers and Russell & Bromley flats. May has worn the kiss-print flats before and has an affinity for bold footwear. Earlier this week, unions called for May to start wearing more practical shoes.
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May personally greeted — and charmed — a crowd that included former first lady Samantha Cameron (whom she thanked for hosting similar events at No. 10), Erdem Moralioglu, Mary Katrantzou, Giles Deacon, Charlotte Dellal, Natalie Massenet, Christopher Bailey, Roland Mouret, Sophia Webster, Joan Burstein, Federico Marchetti and Simone Rocha.
Apprentices were among the guests — from brands including Charlotte Olympia, John Smedley and Private White V.C. — as were British Fashion Council scholarship recipients and graduate trainees from the Royal College of Art and Central Saint Martins.
“Thank you for what you are doing for British business out there, and across the world. Long live British fashion. Let’s go from success to success,” said May, who also talked about the importance of apprenticeships for the young.
“I like her,” said Mouret. “Let’s see what she’s going to do.”
In the blazing-hot reception room at No. 10, talk also turned to the catwalk. Katrantzou said her spring-summer collection was “very personal, and deep-rooted,” while Molly Goddard said hers was inspired by homemade party wear for the weekend — and a great celebration of youthful individuality.
Few were dressed for the stifling heat. Pringle of Scotland’s women’s design director Fran Stringer was melting under a long cashmere sweater, suffering gladly for her knitwear brand, while Bonnie Takhar was wearing a dramatic Simone Rocha dress with flourishes of white fur.
“More is more,” she declared with a smile.