September 12, 2008 / 4:49 PM / 9 years ago

Cutting edge to meet classic at London Fashion Week

LONDON (Reuters Life!) - Fashionistas from around the world will descend on London for a week of catwalk shows and cutting edge clothes starting on Sunday when the best of the young talent brush with some classic names in British design.

Among those leading the charge for up-and-coming young designers is Henry Holland who will show under his label House of Holland which achieved cult status last year through his over-sized slogan T-shirts.

"There are two highlights, you've either got the up and coming Brit designer and then there are classic designers like Aquascutum," Laura Jackson, Assistant Fashion Editor at Drapers magazine said.

Giles Deacon, who is fast becoming one of Britain's most popular and sought-after designers, will also unveil his spring/summer 2009 collection under his label Giles.

Classic, long-established names such as Aquascutum and Jaeger will also show. They are both traditional British houses which have seen a surge in popularity in recent years.

Alice Temperley, whose Temperley London label, launched eight years ago and is a favorite on red carpets, returns to home-turf after showing at New York Fashion Week earlier this year.

British fashion stalwarts, Paul Smith and Vivienne Westwood, will also show, while supermodels Kate Moss and Naomi Campbell make separate appearances at off-catwalk events.

CHIC ON THE CHEAP

The economic downturn and rising inflation in Britain has prompted concern about demand for luxury fashion and buyers will be wary about consumer appetite for designer fashion in 2009.

"I think it will be hard this year. What we're finding in terms of brands and retailers is because of the credit crunch it's going to be less about trends and more about buying into brands that do well for you," Jackson said.

"The things that we've seen coming out of brands are more sophisticated -- a lot of draped dresses, hareem pants and cropped leather jackets, I don't think it will be as floaty and girly as we've seen."

But the weaker British pound, which reached its lowest level against the dollar on Thursday since April 2006, has attracted more buyers from overseas, particularly emerging markets such as the Middle East and China.

"We've heard there are less U.S. buyers but designers are definitely seeing more emerging markets buyers. The markets that are not so hard hit by the credit crunch will be buying more," Jackson added.

Big names across the arts will be involved and Andre 3000 of U.S. hip hop duo Outkast will launch his Benjamin Bixby menswear label at Harrods, while British Architect Zaha Hadid will host a party.

Reporting by Golnar Motevalli, editing by Paul Casciato

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