Wednesday, February 20, 2013

London Fashion Week Wraps up 5-Day Run

What's new for fashion in the coming winter? Consider glamorous animal prints, a touch of punk, polished tailoring, furry collars and lashings of shiny PVC.

London Fashion Week on Tuesday wrapped up a whirlwind of runway previews that offered a huge variety of looks from dozens of designers, but one thing seemed clear: This season, many of the styles were more wearable by women who aren't necessarily models.

That's not to say the looks were boring or conventional. Glossy rubberized material — think translucent raincoats — was everywhere, as were boxy, roomy jacket shapes. There were punk-inspired biker zips and a black and red theme at Preen, but clean and minimalist tailoring kept the outfits sophisticated.

Erdem offered dark dresses brightened up with neon florals, while Christopher Kane, recently acquired by luxury conglomerate PPR, showcased a whole range of creative looks from camouflage-printed kilts to dark velvet dresses to feather trims.

Roksanda Ilincic brought out a series of feminine dresses and separates in peachy pinks, but clashed them with fluorescent green and emerald accents, ghostly makeup and statement striped lace-up boots in bright metallic hues.

"It's about daring to bring the pink into winter because it's such a spring color, and it's such a girly color," the designer said after her show on Tuesday — the fifth day of the British capital's fashion week.

Earlier, the headline acts of the week lived up to high expectations.

Luxury brand Burberry updated its classic trenches with bold animal prints and more of the ubiquitous plastic, latex-like material, while Tom Ford unveiled bright, saturated tribal patterns. Vivienne Westwood delivered what she does best: draped dresses and jackets that magically create hourglass shapes for the wearer.

Color-wise, Ilincic and others brought pink and coral to the catwalk, but a deep palette of burgundy and wine, navy and bottle green was most popular.

Compared to New York, Milan or Paris, London fashion attracts many with its younger, edgier and more urban vibe, and catwalk shows were often full of theatrical or even madcap looks.

"I find it an exuberant, inspirational city, so that's why I chose to show here," said Ford, who staged a lavish runway showcase on Monday night, marking the first full-fledged womenswear catwalk show for his Tom Ford brand.

Officials have made a point of nurturing that creative energy, though increasingly designers based in the capital are encouraged to take a more business-savvy approach to fashion — the leading creative industry in Britain, worth 21 billion pounds (US$33 billion) to the U.K. economy.

"Before it was more like an art show, but now — now the creativity is still there, though with collections that are saleable, that generate a profitable business," said British Fashion Council chief executive Caroline Rush.

Designers including handbag specialist Anya Hindmarch, Ashish and newcomer Simone Rocha were the last to show at the fashion event on Tuesday.

As the runways get dismantled in London, models, editors and bloggers are jetting off to more womenswear shows in Milan, which begins its fashion week Wednesday, followed by Paris next week.

British supermodel Cara Delevingne rules on fashion catwalks

LONDON (Reuters) - As hundreds of models have strutted down catwalks in New York and London this month for the fall fashion shows, one face has emerged from the crowd -- British model Cara Delevingne.
At New York Fashion Week last week Delevingne, 20, walked in 13 shows, including Marc Jacobs and Oscar de la Renta, and in London this week she sashayed in various shows, for Burberry, having previously modeled for Stella McCartney. Milan and Paris come next.

The catwalk success of the British model, whose strong eyebrows and snub nose are her defining features, has Britain's press stalking her every move and has drawn comparisons to the attention once garnered by fellow Briton Kate Moss.

Open a fashion magazine or the social pages of a newspaper and there is Delevingne, with the model gracing the March issue of British Vogue while also partying with the A-list crowd including singers Rihanna and Rita Ora.

She is plastered on billboards across London as the face of Inditex's high street chain Zara and has built a large social media following, by posting photos of her modeling, partying and napping, attracting 468,000 Twitter followers.

"She has this unique striking look, which is almost part Brigitte Bardot, but then mixed with an elfin quirkiness. There's a rarity about her look, which has put her on the map and into countless campaigns and runways," said Carmen Borgonovo, fashion director at online boutique
Moss, 39, and Delevingne do have something in common - the same scout.

Sarah Doukas, who spotted 14-year-old Moss at a New York airport in 1988, was the first to see the potential of Delevingne at a fashion show at her daughter's private school, Bedales. She signed her up to Storm Model Management in 2009.

But unlike Moss, Delevingne comes from a privileged background - as her attendance at the 30,000 pounds ($46,000) a year school Bedales suggests.

She is the granddaughter of former English Heritage chairman Sir Jocelyn Stevens, founder of the 1960s pirate radio station Radio Caroline, and grew up in the wealthy London suburb of Belgravia with her father, a property developer, and her mother, a personal shopper. Her sister Poppy is also a model.
Delevingne first came to attention appearing in Burberry's 2011 campaign. She became the face of Burberry in 2012.

She was named Model of the Year at the British Fashion Awards last November and has continued to climb the ranks, rising to number 17 on's Top 50 Models list from 25 before the start of this month's fashion season.

"Cara is one of those girls who combine energy, wit, enthusiasm and the kind of edgy beauty that marks her out from the general pool of beautiful models," says Vogue editor Alexandra Shulman in an introduction to the March magazine.

Fashion industry experts said with the fickleness of the fashion industry it remained to be seen whether Delevingne would challenge the success that Moss has enjoyed for over 20 years.

But they said part of the appeal of the model-of-the-moment is her personality on-and-off the catwalk, with Delevingne clearly having fun and trying to remain modest.

"I don't like Cara the model. I'm just Cara. And for some reason, these people keep hiring me," she told reporters backstage at the London Fashion Show.