Westwood highlights gala London fashion shows

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LONDON (AP) - Few designers could, or would, overshadow the models wearing their outfits. But Vivienne Westwood did just that Sunday, closing her London Fashion Week show by walking down the catwalk wearing a crazy printed T-shirt, shorts and makeup that looked as if she had a giant black eye.

It was all in the name of fighting climate change, the onetime punk priestess’ favorite cause.

Westwood turned her highly anticipated show into a soapbox, using two models to unfurl a banner proclaiming a climate revolution, then strutting down the catwalk to call attention to the need for change.

The orange-haired diva was greeted with thunderous applause, partly out of adoration for her unique personality, and also in appreciation for a show that somehow made a bizarre combination of late 1950s and early 1960s looks seem at once glamorous and tongue-in-cheek.

“I loved it,” former model Jo Wood said. “There was so much there that I wanted. And I love Vivienne as a person. She’s the one show I won’t miss. She always does what she believes in, and we should all be organic.”

Westwood’s show was one of Sunday’s highlights on Day Three of London’s twice-a-year extravaganza, which British Fashion Council chief Harold Tillman said was off to a flying start.

“The crowds are beyond expectations and the shows have been very professional and very fresh,” said Tillman, who believes the Olympics have left Britain suffused in a pleasant afterglow. “People are feeling very good.”

The Westwood show itself was unusual, with many of the models sporting distinctive makeup that gave their faces green, pink or lavender glows.

This contrasted sharply with some severe outfits dating from just before the “Mad Men” era, when U.S. first lady Mamie Eisenhower helped set conservative fashion trends.

Some outfits looked silly, others - evoking the Jackie Kennedy era that came a few years later - appeared wonderfully retro and chic.

Did the ensembles work? Westwood, ever the iconoclast, claimed she simply didn’t care, insisting she was only interested in using fashion as a way to air her views on the environment.

Sunday was the most hectic day during London Fashion Week, packed with a full schedule of popular names that included Preen, Paul Smith, Temperley and Mary Katrantzou.

The day culminated with a theatrical comeback show by celebrity hat maker Philip Treacy, which was opened by Treacy’s friend Lady Gaga.

The star-studded fashion bash was also attended by Grace Jones and Kim Cattrall.

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