British thrills and frills and Stateside buzz

It's called symbiosis. The hottest American designers added their own glamour to London Fashion Week, as they revelled in British creativity. By Tamsin Blanchard Pictures by Ben Elwes

Never has London seen a fashion week like it. The brouhaha that Donna Karan and Tommy Hilfiger brought from the other side of the Atlantic gave London Fashion Week the glamour and pizzazz usually associated with Milan, Paris or New York. Karan threw a party in aid of charity and the opening of her European flagship store; Hilfiger held a celebrity-studded show with a party to follow. The money they spent would fund British fashion for five years.

The work of our creative young designers has paid off. The Americans are keen to see what all the fuss is about and get in on the action. London is abuzz, thanks to Hussein Chalayan, Antonio Berardi, Clements Ribeiro, Pearce Fionda and, above all, Alexander McQueen.

The 27-year-old designer, who is hotly tipped to take over at Givenchy if John Galliano is moved to the House of Dior, showed his most accomplished collection to date. The front-row representatives from LVMH, owners of both Dior and Givenchy, could not have failed to be impressed. Models, faces frosted with blue and silver glitter, waded through a purpose-built lake in the middle of the huge Royal Agricultural Hall. Every pair of fine brocade trousers, each dusty pink catsuit, and every stitch of his bias-cut evening dresses, was masterful. Not only were the pieces creative in cut and thought, they were wearable and desirable. A fine, sheer mesh dress embroidered with dragons; a razor-sharp, shiny, sea-green trouser suit; a bias-cut dress with a train trailing out into the dark ripples of water. This was a collection to leave no one in doubt that the designer could take on a couture house and breathe fresh life into it.

Similar precision tailoring was apparent in the collection by Pearce Fionda. There was a slick, Seventies, woman-on-a-cruise appeal to the immaculate white suits with their ultra-wide-legged trousers, the black- and-white-striped knitted boob-tubes and the sleek, long tunic dresses.

Indeed, the Seventies just won't go away. This time, the look is more chic YSL than flower-power hippie. New name Justin Oh showed safari suits and Seventies kick-flared trousers as well as picking up on the ubiquitous knee-length, pedal-pusher trouser length. Clements Ribeiro defined the look of next summer with an upbeat, snappy collection of bright, floral- printed chiffon wrap-front dresses and tops edged with ruffles and frills. Garish paisleys worked best in luxurious cashmere knits. Indeed, knitwear stole the show at many collections: Katharine Hamnett's was lacy and sexy, adding to the general return to a softer, prettier, more "girly" feel to clothes for next summer.

Soft frills edged otherwise simple tops and skirts at John Rocha; and even the hard-edged People Corporation showed a collection that, despite its New York Doll's trash glamour, included pieces - a fuchsia-pink wrap dress, a T-shirt laddered and beaded into a sparkly spider's web - that also had a warped innocence and sweetness.

News
news
Life and Style
Popular plonk: Lambrusco is selling strong
Food and drinkNaff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz
Voices
A Siberian Tiger
voices
News
Gardai wait for the naked man, who had gone for a skinny dip in Belfast Lough
newsTwo skinny dippers threatened with inclusion on sex offenders’ register as naturists criminalised
PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebookA wonderful selection of salads, starters and mains featuring venison, grouse and other game
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Fashion

    Agile Tester

    £28000 - £30000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: An ambitious...

    Senior SAP MM Consultant, £50,000 - £60,000, Birmingham

    £50000 - £60000 per annum + Benefits: Progressive Recruitment: Senior SAP MM C...

    SAP BW BO

    competitive: Progressive Recruitment: SAP BW BO - 6 MONTHS - LONDON London (Gr...

    HSE Manger - Solar

    £40000 - £45000 Per Annum: The Green Recruitment Company: Job Title: HSE Mana...

    Day In a Page

    A new Russian revolution: Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc

    A new Russian revolution

    Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc
    Eugene de Kock: Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

    Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

    The debate rages in South Africa over whether Eugene de Kock should ever be released from jail
    Standing my ground: If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?

    Standing my ground

    If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?
    Commonwealth Games 2014: Dai Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

    Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

    Welsh hurdler was World, European and Commonwealth champion, but then the injuries crept in
    Israel-Gaza conflict: Secret report helps Israelis to hide facts

    Patrick Cockburn: Secret report helps Israel to hide facts

    The slickness of Israel's spokesmen is rooted in directions set down by pollster Frank Luntz
    The man who dared to go on holiday

    The man who dared to go on holiday

    New York's mayor has taken a vacation - in a nation that has still to enforce paid leave, it caused quite a stir, reports Rupert Cornwell
    Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business, from Sarah Millican to Marcus Brigstocke

    Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business

    For all those wanting to know how stand-ups keep standing, here are some of the best moments
    The Guest List 2014: Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks

    The Guest List 2014

    Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks
    Jokes on Hollywood: 'With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on'

    Jokes on Hollywood

    With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on
    It's the best of British art... but not all is on display

    It's the best of British art... but not all is on display

    Voted for by the British public, the artworks on Art Everywhere posters may be the only place where they can be seen
    Critic claims 'I was the inspiration for Blanche DuBois'

    Critic claims 'I was the inspiration for Blanche DuBois'

    Blanche Marvin reveals how Tennessee Williams used her name and an off-the-cuff remark to create an iconic character
    Sometimes it's hard to be a literary novelist

    Sometimes it's hard to be a literary novelist

    Websites offering your ebooks for nothing is only the latest disrespect the modern writer is subjected to, says DJ Taylor
    Edinburgh Fringe 2014: The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee

    Edinburgh Fringe 2014

    The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee
    Dame Jenny Abramsky: 'We have to rethink. If not, museums and parks will close'

    Dame Jenny Abramsky: 'We have to rethink. If not, museums and parks will close'

    The woman stepping down as chair of the Heritage Lottery Fund is worried