Get into the groove: What to see at London Fashion Week

So many shows, so many parties... Carola Long on the names to watch and the trends to look out for at London Fashion Week
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Indy Lifestyle Online

THE KEY ACCESSORIES

Ankle boots such as Pierre Hardy's for Gap, and various takes on YSL's python pair are likely to be popular, as are pieces of so-called "statement" jewellery. The "It" bag may be past its peak, but that doesn't mean that the front row will be lugging their Smythson notebooks around in Lidl carrier bags. Anya Hindmarch's Seventies-inspired Perry, the Mulberry Mabel and Maggie, and the YSL Easy bag are likely to be swinging from the chicest of arms. Expect Burberry's spiked gothic clutch bag (below, waiting list online from today) at evening events. And specs will assert themselves as LFW 2008's most unlikely accessory.

THE MOVERS AND SHAKERS

Alice Temperley, the British designer known for her romantic, feminine clothes, will return to London after three years of showing in New York. Vivienne Westwood will show her Red Label in London for the second season running, since moving the collection from Paris in February. Luella stays in London for her third season since relocating from New York. And Charles Anastase, whose spring/summer 2009 pre-collection features nautical-inspired designs with a nostalgic, innocent edge, comes over from Paris, where he has been showing for the last few seasons.

THE ONES TO WATCH

Natascha Stolle describes her designs as "clothes for girls who wish they'd been sluts in high school". Fresh from Central Saint Martins, the Virginia-raised Stolle makes her LFW debut at Fashion East. Lulu Kennedy, director of Fashion East, says: "I love her low-key vibe, and her big slouchy shapes feel right at the moment."

MeadhamKirchoff's Nineties minimalist silhouettes are creating a buzz, and as well as being stocked in Browns Focus, there's a range for Topshop. Showing in the main tent as part of Topshop's New Generation initiative.

Peter Pilotto, the label created by Peter and partner Christopher De Vos, is also sponsored by New Generation. The duo's acclaimed collection for autumn/winter 2008 (left) included prints developed by Peter and softly sculptural and ruched shapes.

Another rising star is the surreal hatmaker Nasir Mazhar, creator of Madonna's headpiece on a recent cover of Dazed & Confused.



THE GOOD CAUSE

Naomi Campbell will host a Fashion for Relief catwalk show in aid of the White Ribbon Alliance, which aims to make childbirth and pregnancy safer for women around the world and is supported by Sarah Brown. The event will feature clothes donated by Alexander McQueen, Dolce & Gabbana and Vivienne Westwood, and modelled by famous faces – Campbell's previous charity events have boasted modelling appearances by Beyoncé and Christian Slater. The money will be raised through the auction of the clothes and sales of tickets, which are available from www.ticketmaster.co.uk.

THE OFF-CATWALK TRENDS

Although the end of summer causes most people to sob into their latte, the fashion crowd find consolation in the opportunity to embrace the new season's trends. Of course, the key to looking cool is not to appear as if you have tried too hard, and London is more laid-back and grungy than glossy New York or glitzy Milan. Expect strong appearances from leather biker jackets and leather trousers, oversized blazers with rolled sleeves, long boyfriend cardigans, peg trousers and blouses.



THE PARTIES

When is a party not a party? When it's at Downing Street. Then it's a reception. Sarah Brown hosts just such an event today to mark the past 25 years of British fashion. Less grand, but more hip (sorry Sarah and Gordon) will be the bashes to celebrate the opening of the new Acne jeans space at Liberty; Zaha Hadid's collaboration with Melissa shoes, at The Wapping Project; and the new Dolce & Gabbana flagship menswear store on Sloane Street.

THE SOUNDTRACK

London Fashion Week wouldn't be the same without a succession of catchy tunes. Listen out for Santogold – David David has used her music in the film of his collection – and lots of disco. New York DJs The Misshapes will get Henry Holland's show going, and today, Vivienne Westwood releases her first compilation album, ranging from Prokofiev to The New York Dolls.

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