Luella mixes "sick" colors, aristocracy for London

Mon Sep 15, 2008 9:38am EDT
 
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By Cindy Martin

LONDON (Reuters) - British fashion favorite Luella Bartley dazzled audiences with a jarring, psychedelic clash of conflicting themes and styles at London Fashion Week on Monday, in a mash-up of aristocratic style and sickly sweet colors.

Bartley, a former fashion journalist who showed under her label Luella on day two, presented a collision of garish pinks, purples and oranges with traditional British fabrics such as tweed, creating a subversive look for the spring/summer 2009 season.

"I wanted a really colorful show. This sort of proper English lady, but it's done to an extreme degree that makes it hard and sick, so the brightest pink orange the sickest lilac the strongest purple so together it just looks very extreme," Bartley told Reuters.

Her previous season, which was inspired by paganism, witchcraft and the graphic novel "Ghostworld", was also subversive in the way it combined dark themes with quirky designs, but her new collection is a more deliberate assault on the senses.

"Think of a nice polite knee-length dress, you might find a rather mature royal wearing to a garden party ... mesh them together, add ample amounts sickly sweet confection color, look at it through psychedelic sunglasses," the show notes said.

High-waisted bell skirts and tweed jackets were used to create an equestrian look.

Bartley said her desire to combine the wealthy look of English aristocracy with bright colors was not an attempt to defy the gloom of the economic downturn.

"It isn't a political statement for me, it isn't a bright boozy collection ... I think (the credit crunch) affects everyone but it hasn't hurt me too badly," Bartley said.

Highlights at London Fashion week on Monday include Marios Schwab, red carpet favorite Temperley and Julien Macdonald. British design stalwart Paul Smith and retail house Jaeger will both unveil collections in the evening.

(Reporting by Cindy Martin; writing by Golnar Motevalli; Editing by Paul Casciato)