Tom Ford unveils clothing line in London catwalk debut

Mon Feb 18, 2013 8:03pm EST
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By Alice Baghdjian and Li-mei Hoang

LONDON (Reuters) - American designer Tom Ford unveiled his womenswear line to the world on Monday in a lavish London Fashion Week debut that will help seal the city's credentials as a major international fashion hub.

Industry bloggers and buyers have flocked to London this season drawn by the big names on show, including Burberry, Erdem, Vivienne Westwood and Ford, who blended Inuit patterns, fur and pop-art designs in his cross-culture collection.

Once displayed behind closed doors for private clients and the editors of glossy fashion magazines, the collection's public showcasing coincides with the expansion of Ford's legion of stores in Europe and beyond, which will total 100 by the end of next year.

"We're in pretty much most major markets," Ford told Reuters after the show in the majestic rooms of historic Lancaster House, a short distance away from Buckingham Palace.

"We open our London store this fall ... and it's really the last of the major global capitals where we do not have a freestanding store," he said.

Even though it has produced some of fashion's biggest names, such as Alexander McQueen and Stella McCartney, London in the past has struggled to maintain its international profile on par with Paris, Milan and New York.

But with stars like singer Rihanna and fashion darling Ford heading this year's catwalk line-up along with well-established names like Westwood, London is rising to the challenge.

Justin Timberlake and Jessica Biel sat on the front row to watch a procession of sequined bomber jackets, cowhide skirts and sheer evening dresses with fur trims parade along the L-shaped runway, illuminated by roving spotlights.   Continued...

Designer Tom Ford walks on the catwalk following the presentation of the Tom Ford Autumn/Winter 2013 collection during London Fashion Week, February 18, 2013. REUTERS/Suzanne Plunkett