LONDON Feb 13 Leading British designers such as
Vivienne Westwood, Christopher Kane, Alice Temperley and
Burberry's Christopher Bailey, will showcase their latest
creations alongside emerging young talent when London Fashion
Week kicks off on Friday.
Fashionistas say the ever-youthful and innovative London
will herald a return to sleek mininalism and lady-like finishes
with a touch of androgyny, stylised tailoring, modern
art-inspired pieces and origami-style detailing.
This season will see a return to elegance, minimalism and
androgyny, said Carmen Borgonovo, fashion director at online
luxury boutique my-wardrobe.com.
"Designers have been focusing a little bit more on couture
shapes and structure and more of this return to elegance ... and
I think that will continue, as well as the whole androgynous
London takes over the spotlight from New York, which has
seen a mixture of opulent glamour and grunge-inspired designs,
with floral prints and geometric patterns, as thousands of
buyers, fashion editors and celebrities hit the British capital
in search of the fresh young talent and groundbreaking trends
that London is renowned for among fashion insiders.
"London Fashion Week is becoming stronger and stronger and
can hold its own against New York, Paris and Milan despite not
necessarily having a bulk of advertisers shows," said Susie Lau,
founder of fashion blog Style Bubble.
"It's becoming a must-see city for a lot of editors and
buyers, who are excited to see new break-out designers pop of
out London," Lau added.
It is estimated that orders of more than 100 million pounds
($156.61 million) are placed during London Fashion Week each
season, according to the British Fashion Council.
That's just a small slice of a $36 billion global luxury
womens apparel market and a tiny fraction of the sagging $2.5
trillion UK economy.
Sportswear influences and high tech fabrics are also
expected to make an appearance throughout London's shows, as
well as monochrome colours and references to British heritage.
Paula Reed, fashion director at luxury department store
Harvey Nichols, told Reuters she would be looking out for how
designers develop their colour palette after seeing strong
references in menswear collections.
"I am looking out for the influences of British heritage and
androgynous tailoring that I feel are bubbling under right now,"
American designers Tom Ford and L'Wren Scott will also join
the line-up of designers as well as Britain's Julien MacDonald
and singer Rihanna, who will launch her first collaboration with
high-street retailer River Island.
More than 80 designers are expected to present their latest
collections at London Fashion Week, 38 of which will stream
their shows live on the internet as well as at the British
Fashion Council's headquarters at Somerset House.
This year also sees the start of the British Fashion
Council's new chairman, Natalie Massenet, the executive chairman
and founder of online luxury clothing retailer Net-a-Porter, who
is widely anticipated to shake things up in her new role.
"Natalie brings a very fresh energy," said Reed. "She is
such a lateral thinker with an abundance of ideas. It's great to
see a young entrepreneurial woman with such a varied background
in this job. I'd expect her mind to be wide open to