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LONDON (Reuters) - British fashion favourite Luella Bartley dazzled audiences with jarring, psychedelic colors, while London's Jaeger presented a collection that mixed fitted with floaty pieces on Monday at London Fashion Week.
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.
"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 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 of 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.
The 124-year-old British brand Jaeger applied lessons from its first catwalk show in February by presenting colors and styles that matched tailored tops, trousers or skirts to sheer floating pieces in colors from the English garden.
Slanted digitalized rainbow prints wafted down the catwalk on tops and dresses, trailed by a kaftan-like dress with envelope sleeves in oversized paisley print. A black and white, slit-sleeved coat from the 1950s came fitted over a flirty dress in a take on the British love affair with tweed and chiffon.
Jaeger London's designer Karen Boyd said colors were the starting point for an eclectic Spring/Summer 2009 collection seeking to capture the hearts of shoppers at the affordable end of the luxury market, while hinting at Jaeger's long history with touches of vintage from the archives.
Paul Smith brought a taste of the Orient to London, with wet-haired models in turbans and draped in white silks.
Light silks and cottons, linen turbans and embroidered necklines featured among the 36 outfits in his spring/summer 2009 collection which Smith unveiled at London's Claridges hotel.
"It's loosely based on an exhibition I went to see at the Tate Britain museum on Orientalism ... Orientalism was very much about hammams and harems and all the lovely clothes that the ladies wear," Smith told Reuters before the show.
A major name in the British fashion industry, Smith, who opened his first shop in 1970 and has been involved in the clothing industry since he was 16, said he was not immediately concerned about the credit crunch but saw accessories as a way customers could stay on trend without breaking the bank.
"We're doing very well in some areas especially accessories ... Somewhere you can make gains is accessories because people can add those to their existing wardrobe," Smith said.
Reporting by Cindy Martin, Paul Casciato and Golnar Motevalli, editing by