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By
AFP
Published
Sep 23, 2009
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Burberry closes star-studded London Fashion Week

By
AFP
Published
Sep 23, 2009

LONDON, Sept 22, 2009 (AFP) - Burberry returned to London Fashion Week in typically glamorous style Tuesday 22 September, showing a classic collection in front of an A-list crowd to close what organisers say was one of the best seasons ever.

Burberry
Burberry at London Fashion Week - Photo: AFP

The British fashion house showed its main collection, Prorsum, eschewing its usual home of Milan to celebrate London's 25th birthday alongside other returning brands such as Matthew Williamson and Pringle of Scotland.

British Fashion Council chairman Harold Tillman hailed the event as "one of the most exciting weeks we've ever had", despite a controversy over the size of models.

Burberry reinvented its classic trench coach for spring/summer 2010, turning it into a dress, adding ruched sleeves and strong shoulders, and using fabrics from sheer silver and pink cotton to one made up entirely of metallic swirls.

Silk and organza in pastel colours were draped to form structured short skirts and dresses, a lemon version of which was worn to the event by "Slumdog Millionaire" star Freida Pinto.

"I loved the show, it was brilliant. I think it was different, it was classy and not too fussy," the Indian actress told AFP after the show, which she attended with her co-star Dev Patel.

The couple joined a string of A-list celebrities on the front row, including Gwyneth Paltrow, Victoria Beckham, Harry Potter star Emma Watson -- who models for Burberry -- and Anna Wintour, editor-in-chief of American Vogue.

Wintour's visit here is the first in two years and is a testament to the excitement generated by the return of the big British brands.

"It's been absolutely incredible. It's been one of the most exciting weeks we've ever had," fashion entrepreneur Tillman told AFP. "We just want to build on the success we've had this week for the next couple of years."

Pringle of Scotland also caused excitement on Monday 21 September when it returned to London to show a sophisticated but edgy collection which focused on delicate knit dresses based around colours found in the Scottish Highlands.

A bright yellow, loose-knit, thigh-skimming dress was laid over a pebble grey shift, another mini dress had vertical stripes and ribbing in soft, sandy taupes, while pleated, structured skirts were a nod to traditional kilts.

And on Sunday 20 September, British designer Matthew Williamson made his return from New York, where he has been for seven years with the exception of a one-off show featuring Prince for the 10th anniversary of his label in 2007.

His collection was typically colourful, ranging from grey to flourescent pink, and enhanced by intricate beading, metallic fabrics and shards of mirrors that created a strong, sexy, sophisticated look.

But it was not only the returning heroes who made waves this week.

Vivienne Westwood proved she remained the grande dame of fashion with a star-studded show on Sunday 20 September that showcased her Red Label's usual blend of punky, irreverent glamour.

Her clothes were modelled around traditional British prints, many of them with the appearance of men's shirts customised into sexy dresses.

Westwood often casts unconventional looking women, and last season sent fifty-something Jo Wood, then the estranged wife of Rolling Stone Ronnie Wood, down the catwalk.

But this variety of models remains unusual, which explains the stir caused by Mark Fast, an up-and-coming designer known for his delicate but highly-revealing knits, when he chose three larger models for his collection.

One of his stylists left Saturday (19 September)'s show because of the casting, explaining later that the bigger models did not have the "right walk", in a row which reignited the debate about the size and health of fashion models here.

Fashion week continues for another day with the menswear collections, but most of the international press and buyers will by that point be in Milan, whose fashion shows start on Wednesday 23 September.

By Alice Ritchie

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