Edgy London takes over fashion season baton

Fri Sep 16, 2011 9:40am EDT
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By Marie-Louise Gumuchian

LONDON (Reuters) - London kicked off the British leg of the fashion calendar on Friday, with designers eager to lift the gloom on the high street with the glitz of the catwalk through some of the edgiest shows in the season.

As summer draws to an end and retailers pack their stores with winter stock, September is one of the most important months in the fashion calendar as the four big catwalk fixtures -- New York, London, Milan and Paris -- gear up for next season.

In London, names like Burberry, Paul Smith and Mulberry will unveil their collections for spring/summer 2012 -- when the British capital will be thrust into the spotlight as it hosts the Olympic Games in July and August.

The dozens of British and international catwalk shows, presentations, including one by fashion darling Tom Ford, and parties cannot come soon enough for a capital city rocked by summer riots and a phone-hacking scandal that damaged confidence in the establishment.

"In 2012 the eyes of the world will be upon us - we want to show the world that Britain is the leading force in the global creative sphere," British Fashion Council Chairman Harold Tillman said in a statement.

"Our fashion reputation is second to none and we will ensure that reputation is showcased and celebrated to the broadest possible global audience and that there are opportunities for the whole of the industry to get involved and participate."

London is best-known as a showcase for cutting edge talent and avant garde trends, mixing up-and-coming names like Erdem with established designers like Vivienne Westwood.

It has produced some of fashion's biggest names but has struggled to maintain a global profile on a par with the other fashion capitals.   Continued...

<p>A model presents a creation from the Paul Costelloe 2012 Spring/Summer collection during London Fashion Week September 16, 2011. REUTERS/Suzanne Plunkett</p>