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Metallics dominate as London Fashion Week opens

Metallic mini dresses and knee-length suits dominated the catwalk today as London Fashion Week got under way.

Designer Paul Costelloe opened the six-day event with tiny dresses featuring cinched waists in metallics, cream and pink.

Male models took to the runway in three-quarter-length trench coats in metallics over suits with sleeveless jackets, knee-length shorts and socks pulled up to the mid-calf.

A total of 68 shows will see UK and international designers bringing their spring/summer 2011 collections to the capital.

Catwalks will spring up all over London in the following days, from the Topshop show on the old Eurostar platform at Waterloo Station to a Freemasons' hall and Bloomsbury Ballroom.

The London biannual event - one of the "big four" international catwalk fixtures alongside Paris, New York and Milan - will be based at Somerset House in the centre of the capital.

Fashion journalists, buyers and designers from around the globe will descend on the city for the shows which run until September 21.

The week is run by the British Fashion Council (BFC) and generates orders in the region of £100 million.

It will include a photoshoot by the All Walks beyond the Catwalk organisation, which aims to change the attitude of young designers towards age and size.

High-profile designers set to unveil their new collections over the next week include Julien Macdonald, Matthew Williamson, Paul Smith and Vivienne Westwood.

This week the UK fashion industry called for Government support after a study found it is worth £21 billion to the local economy.

The industry directly employs 816,000 people, and its wider contribution, ranging from IT to tourism, is calculated at a further £16 billion, the study by consultants Oxford Economics for the BFC found.

The report ranks the industry as the 15th largest in the UK, similar in size to the food and beverage and telecommunications sectors.