London fashion offers color to combat economic woe

Wed Sep 23, 2009 6:54am EDT
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By Catherine Bosley

LONDON (Reuters Life!) - Fuchsia, orange, green and other strong colors brightened the collections at London Fashion Week by designers striving to make fashion fun again for women whose mood has been soured by the recession.

Dresses were short and structured or long and flowing, with bursts of purple and neon yellow, while jackets retained the strong shoulder at many of the spring/summer 2010 shows.

"Right now, everyone's looking for color, I think they're looking for optimism, more shape, less layering," Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour told Reuters.

Paul Smith showed rainbow bright clothes inspired by the Congo, while Nicole Farhi designed cocktail dresses in orange and green, and one in neon yellow with a cut-out front. She also had a white, sleeveless coat with a narrow-belted waist.

"I had great fun with the colors," she said after her show. "I never take myself seriously but I do always serious work."

Luella Bartley stitched up dresses with tulip skirts in baby blue, pink and yellow, which she said were inspired by 1980s record covers and a reaction to somber fall collections.

"You just get a bit sick of this uniform that's all skinny and black," she said, greeting visitors backstage after her show. "I just wanted to do something that really popped."

The Tudor palace of Hampton Court and its flowers served as a font of ideas to Vivienne Westwood, while Julien Macdonald showed his collection, developed after a scuba diving trip, against the backdrop of an English country garden.   Continued...

<p>A model presents a creation from House of Holland 2010 Spring/Summer collection during London Fashion Week, September 21, 2009. REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth</p>