Tears from Moss as fashion remembers Haiti – and McQueen

London Fashion Week begins with minute's silence for designer
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Indy Lifestyle Online

She managed to put on a brave face to model a dress designed by her late friend Alexander McQueen at a fashion week to raise money for orphans in Haiti.

But the emotion became too much for Kate Moss shortly afterwards when Topshop boss Sir Philip Green bid £100,000 for the the digital print creation from the 40-year-old's spring/summer 2010 collection, his last before his suicide a week ago.

Moss was comforted by McQueen muse Annabelle Nielson at Naomi Campbell and Sarah Brown's Fashion For Relief event on Thursday night.

Then, with London Fashion Week opening yesterday, tributes to the talent of Lee Alexander McQueen continued to come in thick and fast. There was a minute's silence in his honour during the opening ceremony, and the British Fashion Council (BFC) unveiled a memorial wall in the catwalk tents, where those attending the shows this week are able to leave personal messages of remembrance. "You made the world a more beautiful place," one read. "You will be greatly missed" and "You will forever remain an inspiration to us all," said others.

Although McQueen latterly showed his collections in Paris, London was the scene of some of the first steps in what was to be a glittering international career. "He has inspired so many," BFC chairman Harold Tillman said at the opening of the event. "I feel that ensuring London, his home city, continues to grow as a global fashion centre will be a fitting tribute to this brilliant man."

Sarah Brown, the Prime Minister's wife, also spoke at the unveiling of the autumn/winter shows at Somerset House, praising the "talent and creativity" of the British fashion scene.

The first day's schedule was a fitting representation of British fashion, with shows from well-established labels such as Caroline Charles and Maria Grachvogel in the morning, paving the way for upcoming young talent in the afternoon. Two names on the timetable, Aminaka Wilmont and Jena Theo, have come up through Fashion Fringe, a platform for young designers. The annual award offers financial support and mentoring to those trying to establish their own label.

"London is known for its great designers – Vivienne Westwood, Hussein Chalayan and the late, lamented Alexander McQueen," said Fashion Fringe creative director Colin McDowell. "They all started with something new and fresh, before making their labels more commercial."

Wilmont's collection was inspired by Cormac McCarthy's The Road, and featured elegantly pintucked dresses printed with blown-up images of barren landscapes, combining the provocative with the eminently wearable.

Wearability is key in this difficult climate, and Turkish designer Hakaan, who made his London catwalk debut yesterday, has already dressed the likes of actress Rose Byrne for the red carpet. Kate Moss – seemingly in better spirits – was on the front row at his show, as was French Vogue editor Carine Roitfeld, who said she had come exclusively to see Hakaan's collection, and comedian David Walliams, cheering on his fiancee, model Lara Stone. Other breakthrough designers who showed for the first time included Hannah Marshall and Jean-Pierre Braganza.