Fashion: Been There, Seen That, Done That

London's Katharine Hamnett has a deft hand for funk

The shirts sound off with letters dense as coal and inches high. They are oversized Ts, big enough to sleep two stevedores comfortably and colored like signal flags. Wearable broadsides: CHOOSE LIFE. HEROIN FREE ZONE. PRESERVE THE RAIN FORESTS. EDUCATION NOT MISSILES.

Such shirts are the most noted creation of British Designer Katharine Hamnett, who showed up at a 1984 London fashion-biz reception to shake hands with Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher sporting a T that had something rather pointed to say about the presence of Pershing missiles in Europe. "I didn't realize the effect wearing that T shirt would have on...