LONDON Feb 18 Oversized coats, sheer blouses
and slinky cocktail dresses heralded the return of grown-up
glamour on the catwalk on Tuesday at London Fashion Week, where
the city is looking to cement its reputation as a global
showcase for emerging talent.
Tom Ford, Jasper Conran and Marios Schwab celebrated the
female form in their autumn/winter 2014 collections with
figure-hugging dresses, sleek pencil skirts and tailored jackets
in luxurious fabrics like fur, wool, cashmere and silk.
"There have been a lot of clothes that are really kind of
hiding the body and the body disappearing so it's nice to see
designers embracing the idea of letting a woman look like a
woman," said Ken Downing, fashion director at American luxury
department store Neiman Marcus.
Monochrome palettes with punctuated shades of grey were
fused with burnt orange, ochre, cornflower blue and fuchsia to
create clashing colour blocking effects.
"There's a very interesting colour palette going on," said
TV presenter Brix Smith-Start, who owns luxury boutique Start
"The way that the colours are put together, in a new
clashing, colour-blocking with all these unexpected colours
together is interesting," she said.
Texture and embellishment also played a key role.
Designers moved away from digital prints and toward
shearling, fur, cashmere and leather at Burberry, Topshop Unique
and Christopher Raeburn.
Silk tops and dresses were embellished with floral appliqués
and sequins at John Rocha and Temperley London, which focused on
creating a relaxed but elegant feel.
"There is a real return to comfort. We have come out of a
era, post-financial crisis, where everyone got really dressed up
and buttoned down," said Imran Amed, editor of online magazine
Business of Fashion.
"We haven't lost the polish but everything is more relaxed,
there are lot of relaxed silhouettes and beautiful fabrics," he
London Fashion Week regulars Christopher Kane, J.W. Anderson
and Nicholas Kirkwood have all recently enjoyed investment from
global fashion companies Kering and LVMH.
"In London, we've got the balance really well with clothes
that buyers will want, whilst still being directional, beautiful
pieces. London seems to have come of age," said Sasha Wilkins,
founder of fashion blog LibertyLondonGirl.
Eye-catching accessories also featured prominently as growth
in the luxury market moves towards more affordable goods like
handbags and shoes.
Anya Hindmarch, whose shows are often a highlight on the
fashion week calendar, looked towards iconic household brands
for inspiration and used dancing models on conveyor belts to
showcase her latest collection.
Vintage designs from brands such as Kellogg's Frosties and
Coco Pop cereals were added onto large tote bags and snakeskin
"I've always been obsessed with the idea of taking something
that is every day but doing it in a really beautiful way," said
Britain's fashion industry is estimated to be worth 26
billion pounds ($43.45 billion), according to the latest figures
from the British Fashion Council.