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Checks, tie-dye, baby dolls: It’s all at London Fashion Week

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Sylvia Hui and Gregory Katz, The Associated Press


Published Tuesday, February 19, 2019 12:09AM EST

LONDON — From young talents like Alexa Chung and Simone Rocha to London design veteran Jasper Conran, London Fashion Week showed off a diverse range of womenswear ideas for the upcoming autumn and winter season with a busy day of catwalk shows Saturday.

The spectacle is bringing much needed colour and verve as grey London shakes off its winter blues amid the first hints of warmer weather. A look at some highlights:

HOUSE OF HOLLAND

London may not have Paris’s haute couture or Milan’s grand fashion houses, but the British capital has always been proud to be the wild child on the style front.

That irreverent, street-wise London sass was on full display at House of Holland’s show, where designer Henry Holland threw together ’80s power dressing, Asian dress details and loud, clashing tie-dye prints for his latest collection.

Holland said the show was all about the rebellious, and indeed these were flamboyant, look-at-me statement clothes. Models opened Saturday’s show with tailored coats and jackets in the traditional Prince of Wales check — albeit in bright orange and paired with slinky green velvet animal prints.

Then came everything from patchwork print kaftans, oversized silky pussy bow neckties to denim overalls, all worn with berets, clunky platform boots and plenty of attitude.

Quilted jackets and miniskirts, Mandarin collars and obi tie belts brought an Asian esthetic. The designer emphasized a “global citizen” as his show’s theme and incorporated traditional Cambodian textile techniques into the urban mix.

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MONASTIC CHIC AT JASPER CONRAN

Who knew monks’ garbs could be so fashionable?

High necks, long sleeves, dropped waistlines, skirts that brush the calf or ankle: Veteran designer Jasper Conran took inspiration from “monastic” shapes with a new collection of utilitarian, sleek tunics and dresses that quietly exuded sophistication rather than screamed glamour.

Conran, a founding father of London Fashion Week, dialed down his signature flair for colour for the upcoming autumn and winter season, opting instead for a mostly severe palette of earthy browns, rust, mustard and indigo.

The designer focused on dresses that rival the comfort of sportswear. Some outfits — like several brown-all-over sweater dresses — bring to mind something a friar might wear. But Conran always kept things modern with a thigh-high side slit here, a slashed neckline there, a bright sporty piping or geometric colour blocks.

Conran ditched the covered-up look for the show’s final section, a collection of architectural column gowns. The colours are still understated here, but bare shoulders and sheer organza panels brought out the drama.

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SIMONE ROCHA IMPRESSES WITH IMAGINATIVE SHOW

Designer Simone Rocha turned in a bold, confident show impressive for its variety and thoughtfulness. Even American Vogue editor Anna Wintour skipped her signature sunglasses for a closer look at the stunning array of ensembles.

Rocha seems to grow in stature each year, earning her reputation as one of the major new talents on the London scene. She said the theme Saturday was “intimacy, privacy, security, femininity.”

There was no single look to the show, but Rocha did experiment with outfits that used sparkly bras or camisole tops on top of dresses. Elaborate coat-dresses, some with gauzy skirts, appeared, along with ethereal, pale pink dresses and one extremely gaudy gold number.

A series of gorgeous, black-themed floral dresses, many tiaras, some whimsical Alice In Wonderland dresses and updated baby doll outfits also turned up.

Rocha’s approach was playful, but her fashion intent was serious, and she made a point of using some slightly older models and also ones who were not rail-thin.

She said after the show that she had asked many of her close model friends if they would take part in a show about intimacy and exposure.

“Last season was all about my family, and by the end of it I felt so exposed, like telling everybody about my aunties and uncles,” she said. “I felt like I needed to look in, and I looked at all these photographs of women being exposed.”

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ALEXA CHUNG SHOWS QUIRKY CLASSICS

Model and TV presenter Alexa Chung has a loyal fan base and her many admirers flocked to Saturday’s show in London’s redeveloped King’s Cross neighbourhood. They weren’t disappointed as Chung offered a new collection featuring her quirky, feminine take on classic designs.

For her second London Fashion Week show, called “Off the Grid,” the designer announced she had lost all interest in “prettiness” and was imagining a “gaggle of women” who have retreated to California’s Big Sur coastal wilderness to regroup.

Some of the models wear long coats with matching head scarves that are evocative of the American prairie. Many of the deceptively simple dresses emphasize the shoulders, giving the women an outline of physical strength, and much of the outerwear is masculine in style, particularly a forest green suit.

Chung showed an easy, eclectic touch in a collection that included long black coats, several sexy gold dresses, and a few beautiful green midi dresses, including one that she wore to the show.

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Nobody would give this teen with autism a job, so he started a business

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A 17-year-old Australian teen with autism started his own business cleaning garbage bins after he was rejected for other jobs.

“I searched and applied for jobs for two years and did not get one interview,” Clay Lewis told CTV News Channel from his home in Brisbane, Australia.

As of January, his business, Clay’s Bin Cleaning, has made more than AUS$6,000 and has roughly 70 clients.

He charges AUS$10 for the first bin and AUS$5 for each additional bin. He regularly offers free bin cleaning to local charities.

“I’m very proud of him,” his mother Laura Lewis told CTV News Channel. “I knew that he could do it.”

She added that employers were unable to “see past their own judgments” and made “unfair assumptions” about Clay’s competency because of his disability.

Clay said that he is looking forward to attending his high school prom and may put some of his earnings toward funding a trip to Abu Dhabi to watch his first Formula 1 race.

Lewis said that Clay’s story has given hope to a lot of people, particularly parents of children with autism.

“All Clay is doing is living a 17-year-old’s ordinary life: working, going to school, having a girlfriend and hanging out with friends,” she said.

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Meet Jelly Bean, the deaf canine contender for World’s Most Amazing Dog title

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CTVNews.ca Staff, with a report from CTV London’s Sacha Long


Published Friday, February 22, 2019 7:50PM EST

A deaf Ontario dog is in the semi-finals of the World’s Most Amazing Dog competition, an interactive Facebook Watch show where dogs compete for a US$100,000 prize.

Jelly Bean, a three-year-old Australian cattle dog who lives in London, Ont., can catch and pass a ball with his front paws and jump on a stranger’s back. He follows the instructions of his handler, Melissa Mellitt, by sight because cannot hear.

“He is so highly intelligent,” Mellitt told CTV London. “He has no idea that he’s deaf. He doesn’t care. He’s just as happy as any other dog.”

Mellitt adopted Jelly Bean from the Deaf Dog Rescue of America when he was five months old. He has since gone on to travel across Canada as a professional stunt dog and works with Mellitt as an assistant to help rehabilitate fearful dogs.

“We knew that he had this potential,” she said. “This is exactly what I knew he was going to be.”

Mellitt hopes that Jelly Bean’s performance in the competition will help shatter some of the stigma around deaf dogs, who are often believed to be ill tempered and incapable of being trained. Mellitt said breeders euthanize many of them at birth, but she believes that Jelly Bean’s inability to hear is his “cool factor.”

If Jelly Bean wins the competition, Mellitt said that she plans to give half of the winnings to the Deaf Dog Rescue of America.

Viewers of the World’s Most Amazing Dogs competition get to vote on who should move to the finals.

“I think he could go all the way,” Mellitt said.

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Funeral held for sailor in V-J Day Times Square kiss photo

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NEWPORT, R.I. — The sailor photographed kissing a woman in Times Square at the end of World War II was mourned Friday at a funeral in Rhode Island.

George Mendonsa’s funeral was held at St. Mary’s Church in Newport, and he was buried at St. Columba Cemetery in Middletown.

Mendonsa died Sunday after he fell and had a seizure at an assisted living facility, his daughter said. He was 95 and leaves behind his wife of 72 years.

Mendonsa kissed Greta Zimmer Friedman, a dental assistant in a nurse’s uniform, on Aug. 14, 1945, known as V-J Day, the day Japan surrendered.

The two had never met.

Alfred Eisenstaedt’s photo of the kiss became one of the most famous photographs of the 20th century. First published in Life magazine, it’s called “V-J Day in Times Square,” but is known to most as “The Kiss.”

Another photographer, Victor Jorgensen, who was in the Navy, also captured the moment in a similar photo. The moment has been shared widely and is often seen on posters.

Several people later claimed to be the kissing couple, and it was years before Mendonsa and Friedman were confirmed to be the couple.

Mendonsa enlisted in the Navy in 1942, after high school. He served on a destroyer during the war.

Mendonsa was on leave when the end of the war was announced. When he was honoured at the Rhode Island State House in 2015, Mendonsa said Friedman reminded him of nurses on a hospital ship that he saw care for wounded sailors.

On Monday, a statue depicting the kiss in Sarasota, Florida, was vandalized. The phrase “.MeToo” was spray-painted on the leg of the statue.

Friedman said in a 2005 interview with the Veterans History Project that it wasn’t her choice to be kissed.

“The guy just came over and kissed or grabbed,” she told the Library of Congress.

She added, “It was just somebody really celebrating. But it wasn’t a romantic event.”

Friedman fled Austria during the war as a 15-year-old girl. She died in 2016 at age 92 at a hospital in Richmond, Virginia, from complications of old age.

After the war, Mendonsa became a commercial fisherman, like his father, and worked until he was 82. He died two days before his 96th birthday.

Survivors include his wife, Rita; and his children, Ronald Mendonsa and Sharon Molleur, and their families.

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