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By
AFP
Published
Feb 20, 2015
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London Fashion Week opened with memorial to famous tutor

By
AFP
Published
Feb 20, 2015

London Fashion Week opened Friday with a memorial to Louise Wilson, the inspirational college tutor who helped nurture the young talent that drives the British capital's creative reputation.

The straight-talking 52-year-old was director of the fashion course at Central Saint Martins (CSM) college for 12 years until she died last May.

British fashion designers Gareth Pugh (L) and Carson McColl. Gareth Pugh normally shows in Paris but is returning to his native country to mark 10 years since he launched his eponymous label | Photo: AFP/JUSTIN Tallis


Her alumni read like a roll call of London's top designers, among them the late Alexander McQueen, Stella McCartney, Christopher Kane and Jonathan Saunders.

Countless more went on to staff the studios of the world's big fashion houses and a large showing is expected at the memorial at St Paul's Cathedral.

The Fashion Week schedule has been suspended for the morning while the memorial takes place, and in the evening many of the guests will head to the graduate show by current Central Saint Martins students.

CSM, which also counts John Galliano among its alumni, is the only college to have a London Fashion Week show and is crucial to the city's reputation as the place to find new talent.

Many of them leave as they grow more successful but more and more are returning as London's reputation as a commercial as well as creative centre grows.

Fashion now contributes £26 billion ($40 billion, 35.2 billion euros) directly to the UK economy, according to new figures from the British Fashion Council, up from £21 billion in 2009.

About 5,000 buyers and journalists are expected for the five-day event, which falls between New York and Milan fashion weeks, and kicks off with shows by South Korean-born designers J. JS Lee and Eudon Choi.

This season will see the hotly anticipated return of Gareth Pugh, the avant-garde designer who also honed his skills under Wilson's tutelage.

Famed for his conceptual, otherworldly clothes, often inspired by clubwear, Pugh normally shows in Paris but is returning to his native country to mark 10 years since he launched his eponymous label.

A retrospective of his work is currently running at an exhibition space in Covent Garden.

After last season's one-off presentation in New York, which saw dancers writhing in a cavernous, fog-filled space, much is expected of Pugh's show on Saturday night at the V&A museum.

He is among 78 designers showing on schedule this season, including J.W. Anderson on Saturday, Topshop Unique, Paul Smith and Vivienne Westwood Red Label on Sunday and Burberry Prorsum and Christopher Kane on Monday.

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