London Fashion Week kicks off this Friday. Harriet Walker has the ultimate insider's guide to what to wear, see and read...

There aren't many fashionable things that look better over the age of 25 but London Fashion Week has gone from strength to strength since its inception in 1984.

Some of the biggest British names in fashion are returning to beef up the London schedule this season – Burberry, Pringle and Antonio Berardi are back from Milan, while Jonathan Saunders and Matthew Williamson are flying in from the Big Apple to show in the brand-new venue at Somerset House, bringing the fashion circus to the very centre of town.

The Shop

Urban Outfitters launches a new collection from London College of Fashion graduate Simon Preen today: one-time assistant to Pam Hogg, he works with lace, shoulder pads and lycra, so is perfect for this season's Eighties goth look. And there's also a chance to pick up some discounted designer bargains at London Fashion Weekend, a shopping event in the Somerset House venue from 24-27 September. Buy tickets from londonfashion weekend.co.uk

The Drink

Energy reserves need topping up with the LFW Royale when you're on the front row, and it's easy to recreate some fashion week fizz at home: pour Chambord and Grey Goose vodka into a flute, then top up with the champagne and garnish with a raspberry.

Or try the Saigon, a spicy, textured mix of vodka, cucumber, lemon juice, wasabi and ginger. Guests will be sipping on these at swanky new members' club Eight after Henry Holland's catwalk show on Monday.

What to eat

When you need more than a canapé, head to the Metropolitan Hotel to try Lulu Guinness's afternoon teas, £24, with low-fat cakes and cookies with her signature red lips design. Only until 26 September, 020 7447 4757

What to wear

"The front row aren't expected to spend so much any more, so there'll be more vintage and high street," says Lorraine Candy, editor of 'Elle', of what to wear at the shows. "I love COS and Reiss, because the quality is so good. And I've just bought a Christopher Kane grey cashmere cardigan, which I'll be wearing with jeans."

What to See

SHOWstudio's Fashion Revolution exhibition at Somerset House (opens 18 September) is a retrospective of Nick Knight's work with Alexander McQueen and John Galliano among others, and he'll also be shooting on-site for all to see. Somersethouse.org.uk.

And the specially-commissioned commemorative posters on the London Underground have been created by British designers for Elle to celebrate 25 years of London Fashion Week.

The Party

The Burberry party at their new HQ and Christopher Kane's bash at Jalouse will be about as easy to get into as a pair of Balenciaga leggings. If you're not on the list, catch live DJs at Topshop's Oxford Circus branch all week or head to Kitsuné's pop-up store at The Shop at Bluebird, from 21 September. Or the Fashion Fête takes over Covent Garden's piazza on Saturday. You can dress up as Anna Wintour, learn to knit or get a makeover from stylists at "SuperSuper" magazine. Coventgardenlondonuk.com

Look out for

Keep your eyes peeled for Jackie and Joan Collins, who are jetting in for fashion week, as well as Taylor Momsen of "Gossip Girl", who has been quickfire tweeting about Topshop's show next Sunday. High priestess Anna Wintour will also be in town for the shows.

The book

Get up to speed with Hywel Davies's new book "British Fashion Designers" (Laurence King) out now.

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