London Fashion Week previews Autumn/Winter 2010 collections

PUBLISHED: 10:43 04 March 2010 | UPDATED: 01:00 16 June 2010

For six days in February, Britain s capital was stirred up into quite a fashion-frenzy as February 19 heralded the beginning of the bi-annual London Fashion Week.

For six days in February, Britain's capital was stirred up into quite a fashion-frenzy as February 19 heralded the beginning of the bi-annual London Fashion Week. Somerset House played host to the Autumn/Winter 2010 collections and was awash with the fashion elite: designers, journalists, models and stylists alike.

The event was opened by none other than the Prime Minister's wife, Sarah Brown, who was sporting a printed dress by up-and-coming Canadian designer Erdem (Moralioglu) and eco-accessorized with a belt made from a recycled fire-hose.

Brown remarked: "I have no doubt this will be a creative and inspiring London Fashion Week," and mentioned the death of late designer Alexander McQueen in her opening sentiments, commenting that it would also be: "a reflective time with the passing of Lee McQueen," the tragic event that was in the minds of all fashionistas.

Quintessentially British label, Burberry, showcased a divine collection on the Tuesday, which centred around strong military tailoring, earthy, organic shades and chiffon frills. Undoubtedly, the spectacular jackets stole the show. In particular, the leather biker jackets, which had voluminous over-sized collars, were lined with a cream sheepskin and finished off with leather belting detail around the cuffs. Over-the knee, sky-high leather boots were the compulsory shoe for the show (for the females at least!) and, with the studded clutches setting the whole shabby look off, the collection screamed unrefined, effortless style.

Of course, the front-row names were equally as impressive. One of the most-powerful women in fashion, American Vogue Editor Anna Wintour, flew into London to watch the show. She was in good company with actress Kate Hudson and Topshop boss Philip Green. Proving their innovation, Burberry streamed their show live in 3D to special venues in Paris, Dubai, Tokyo, Los Angeles and New York. Not to be forgotten, internet customers were also able to watch the show online and buy their favourite pieces from the collection instantly. Christopher Bailey, creative director of Burberry, attributed this digital expansion to the explosion of the blogosphere, commenting at a Downing Street conference: "It's important that we give bloggers the respect that they deserve. The difference between bloggers and traditional press is bloggers are often talking directly to a final consumer."

Every season, life-and-limb are risked to get the Willy-Wonka-esque golden tickets for the catwalk shows. Any method is attempted, whether it be moral or mad, to get their Louboutin-ed feet through the gate at Somerset House and into Britain's Fashion Mecca. Most notably (and amusingly) is the anecdote of a devoted fashion fan pleading their right to a front-row seat due to their position as a staff member on popular style Bible, Harper's Bazaar. Needless to say, when the real ticket-holder arrived, a fashion faux-pas occurred!

With thanks to the fabulous Clara Mercer, marketing manager of the British Fashion Council, my mother and I were fortunate enough to get tickets and spent the Sunday morning tottering around the neoclassical rooms of Somerset House, admiring the just-spectacular collections and breathing in frantically.

Midday marked Jasper Conran's show and we joined the likes of the Sugababes, Jo Wood, and Hilary Alexander, fashion director of the The Daily Telegraph, naturally, in the catwalk space. The lights went down and my fashion-envy sank in. Lavish and jewel-like, Conran's clothes screamed fashion finesse, with a perfect quirky kick.

Lacquered neck detailing gave an original rigidity to the floaty cut-out dresses, in particular the final outfit: a canary floor-length piece of perfection.

Metal embellishments featured heavily and were teamed brilliantly with sultry deep red lipstick and pointed patent slingbacks, donned by all models. Conran played with volume as well as lines, most notably in the example of the plump shell-shape-backed jackets, worn with impossibly skinny trousers. He achieved perfectly balanced collaborations and kept the fashion crowd guessing, especially when out came the beige vision. I could only describe this as a fountain of fabric from the neck to the hips, made up of tens of sections of chiffony fabric, cinched at the hips with a straight cascade of fabric from the hips downwards, and was a real show-stopper. The workmanship of the dress was undeniable. Featuring vibrant splashes of colour, such as grass green and tangerine, a dreary Autumn/Winter collection it was not.

My only advice for future fashion week goers is, from personal experience, do not turn up wearing a colourful LK Bennett jacket, or indeed a colourful anything. Don't think a dog-tooth swing coat will cut it either! Black is the colour of choice for the fashion crowd and any attempt at colour will stand out like a sore-thumb. Who would have guessed it? Black really is the new...er, black.


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