Veterans kick off London fashion with eye on buyers

Fri Feb 19, 2010 3:40pm EST
 
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By Clara Ferreira-Marques

LONDON (Reuters Life!) - Two of London's veteran designers kicked off a week of fashion on Friday with an eye on the industry's still-wary buyers, offering a twist on classic tweeds but also a taste of glamour with rich brocades and gold lame.

London, squeezed in between New York and Milan on the fashion pack's crowded calendar, is best-known as a showcase for cutting edge talent and avant garde trends, mixing up-and-coming names like Erdem with iconic designers like Vivienne Westwood.

It hopes to keep to that reputation this season with an array of initiatives to help launch young designers and by becoming the first of the big four fashion cities to run a parallel digital schedule and to stream many of its shows live.

"We all have to recognize there is a much wider audience out there, " Harold Tillman, chairman of the British Fashion Council, told Reuters at the week's official opening.

The fashion pack has had to deal with the impact of the Internet revolution, as bloggers -- from the street photographer Scott Schuman's Sartorialist to 13-year-old Tavi Gevinson -- democratised fashion opinion and the Web brought instant catwalk shots to the masses.

But London, like New York before it, is also keeping a careful eye on conservative tastes among buyers -- the trend-setters responsible for choosing collections for major stores -- still unwilling to take too many risks as Britain and the rest of the world emerges from the worst economic crisis in decades.

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"It is about staple investment pieces," said Marigay McKee, fashion and beauty director at London department store Harrods.   Continued...

 
<p>A model presents a creation from the Jena Theo 2010 Autumn/Winter collection during London Fashion Week, February 19, 2010. REUTERS/Suzanne Plunkett</p>