February 11, 2008 / 7:04 PM / 10 years ago

Conran charms London fashion with bright tights

LONDON (Reuters) - British designer Jasper Conran sent models sashaying down the catwalk on Monday in sculpted dresses set off with bright emerald, clementine and pink carnation tights.

Cashmere and silk frocks with framed necklines, defined waists and rounded hips were the focus of Conran’s womenswear show on the second day of London Fashion Week.

Accessories were kept to a minimum, with short leather gloves and flat ballerinas.

“There has been a lot of embroideries and florals and I wanted to do something much more three dimensional, about silhouette, shape and form,” Conran told reporters after the show at the Royal Academy of Arts.

The designer, who won the British Fashion Council’s Designer of the Year award in 1986, is one of Britain’s most commercially successful and also designs clothes and homeware for British department store group Debenhams.

“Cut and shape and tailoring that’s what I do, what I love, and essentially this collection is the sum total of what I’m about,” he said.

The audience at the autumn-winter show included British model Erin O’ Connor.

“Did you see those padded hips? He really likes to emphasize the female silhouette,” O’Connor told Reuters.

“I loved the nipped-in waist, its indicative of his witty humor, sharp pinches here. I love the colors. Jasper experimented with colored tights this season. I’m not sure I could get away with all of them,” she joked.

Another doyen of the London fashion scene, Paul Smith, will show his latest collection later on Monday at Claridge’s hotel.

Smith, famous for his very British suits and stripy shirts, has stores in over 35 countries worldwide.

London Fashion Week opened on Sunday with a champagne-soaked reception and a string of shows including those of Ben de Lisi and Biba.

Designers were upbeat about the market for their collections, despite concern about dampened retail sentiment. Buyers from top U.S. firms Saks Fifth Avenue and Neiman Marcus decided to skip London Fashion Week this year on grounds that the recession concerns and a strong pound had made Britain’s designers too expensive.

Many designers and fashion industry officials have switched their focus towards booming emerging markets, with more buyers and press from Asia and the Middle East this year than in the past.

Editing by Matthew Jones

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