* Conran urges Britain to resurrect manufacturing
* Buyers from 39 countries attending five-day event
* Singer Rihanna to launch range with UK chain store
By Dasha Afanasieva and Alice Baghdjian
LONDON, Feb 16 Up-and-coming design talent
brought military influences while established brands exhibited
ladylike elegance on the second day of London Fashion Week, one
of the big four catwalk fixtures alongside Paris, New York and
On a pillar box-red stage, boxy Sixties silhouettes in
canary yellow and shocks of fluorescent orange burst into the
packed show of British designer Jasper Conran.
Earthy olives muffled loud neons, while cloche hats in
matching shades added a feminine finish to the collection, which
was viewed from the front row by actor Richard E. Grant.
"There is a hell of a lot of bright colour, which is
balanced off with dark aubergines and blues and chocolate browns
... really in your face," Conran told Reuters before the show.
With buyers from 39 different countries attending, the
British Fashion Council estimates orders of more than 100
million pounds are placed during London Fashion Week each
The direct value of the British fashion industry to
Britain's $2.5 trillion economy is 21 billion pounds ($32.60
billion), the council said.
Conran, who also has a high street range at British
department store Debenhams, said Britain should see
garment manufacturing as a business opportunity.
"China is going to be a huge emerging market for this
country, and they want things that are made in Britain. We don't
have a manufacturing industry but that doesn't mean we can't
create one," he said.
Coral pink mohair bags and oversized green coats pinned at
the waist with matching belts featured in John Rocha's
Rocha, a household name in Britain who also has a range at
Debenhams, said he took his inspiration from the countryside
surrounding Dublin, where he has lived for more than 20 years.
"It's based a lot on the Irish winter countryside, so almost
like tree barks, or roses, it's all about trying to mimic the
colour I see outside," Rocha told Reuters after the show.
"I'm just trying to bring all these things together and make
something that's beautiful."
The five-day London Fashion Week blends up-and-coming names
with veteran designers such as Vivienne Westwood and is best
known for its cutting-edge talent and avant garde trends.
Christopher Raeburn, who graduated from London's Royal
College of Art four years ago, said he drew inspiration from
World War Two sea forts off the coast of England for his
quilted, metallic jackets.
"There were these lovely metal structures, they're rusted
and they're beautiful and they have such character, so I was
really keen to bring some of that into the collection," he said.
Silky, fitted dresses and accessories with military mesh
materials featured at his presentation, attended by fashion
editors Suzy Menkes from the International Herald Tribune and
Vogue's Sarah Harris.
Later on Saturday, singer Rihanna will add a touch of A-list
glamour with the launch of her first clothing line with British
high street retailer River Island, one of the 56 catwalk shows
Looking ahead to Monday, eyes are on Christopher Kane's
show, whose label was bought into by French luxury group PPR in
January, and American designer Tom Ford who will be showcasing
his womenswear on the catwalk for the first time in London.