London Fashion Week ends with eyes on UK talent

Tue Sep 22, 2009 5:17pm EDT
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By Catherine Bosley

LONDON (Reuters Life!) - London concluded its 25th anniversary fashion week with characteristic eccentricity and fresh optimism about holding on to home-grown talent.

Bright colors and long dresses featured prominently on the catwalks at many of this year's spring/summer shows, with Roksanda Ilincic dreaming up a mermaid-like shimmering green gown and a black suit with oversized conical shoulders.

London's designers are considered among the world's most avant garde, though not always the most commercially successful, and without the backing of big design houses many emerging talents such as John Galliano of Dior, Alexander McQueen and Stella McCartney decamped elsewhere to nurture their careers.

"I think the English are a little mad, and certainly very eccentric and fearless," Vogue editor Anna Wintour told Reuters. "There's less emphasis here on being commercial and selling."

Designers including Matthew Williamson and Christopher Bailey of Burberry, who in past seasons have showed in Milan, Paris or New York, returned to London for the anniversary.

"It's certainly not ruled out," said Williamson, who has designed a line for mass retailer H&M. "Let's just see how this collection is received. I would love to show here again."

Vivienne Westwood, who rose to prominence 30 years ago during Britain's punk era and who shows her Gold Label in Paris, said she too might possibly bring her top label back to England.

"London is special because it's an incredible clash between anarchy and establishment," said Hilary Alexander, fashion writer for the Telegraph newspaper.   Continued...

<p>A model presents a creation from Basso and Brook 2010 Spring/Summer collection during London Fashion Week, September 22, 2009. REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth</p>