SURPRISE STOPOVER: Is Newcastle the new beating heart of English fashion? It certainly had its moment late Friday night when British Airways and Virgin flights from JFK were diverted to the northern English city famous for producing Sting, Cheryl Cole, Rowan Atkinson — and “Billy Elliot.”

Both morning flights were set to land at Heathrow in the early evening, with strong winds and heavy rain forcing them to divert. Passengers disembarked from their flights around midnight, with the likes of Anna Wintour, Alexandra Shulman, Hamish Bowles, Georgia May Jagger, Rebecca Lowthorpe, Anthony Miles, Carrie Phillips, Tiffanie Darke, Julian Vogel — and the London Philharmonic Orchestra.

This story first appeared in the February 19, 2014 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

By all accounts, they dealt well with all of the adversity, with no histrionics reported, and everyone choosing a different way out of Dodge: Some bused it back to London, while others took taxis, and others still spent the night in the Geordie capital and took the train to London on Saturday morning. Vogel, the creative director of Modus, was one of the latter. “Then our train broke down in Doncaster [south Yorkshire] on its way to King’s Cross. In the end, it was a 27-hour journey home,” he said.

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