'Sam Cam' opens London Fashion Week amid cuts warning

Britain's first lady, Samantha Cameron, opened London Fashion Week Friday in her first appearance as the event's ambassador, while a key figure said the industry was "suffering" under her husband's cuts.

Keeping her style British in a short black dress by Mulberry and a black Sykes jacket, Prime Minister David Cameron's wife described her "passion" for fashion and its importance to the British economy.

British Fashion Council (BFC) chairman Harold Tillman welcomed her involvement but warned of the impact of spending cuts on his organisation, which receives state funding to promote emerging talent and British designers.

"We feel very upbeat and excited about the week ahead, but there's no doubt that this year will be difficult as we are all suffering alongside many other organisations from the cuts the government have made," Tillman said.

The autumn-winter 2011 collections kicked off with a riot of colour from Paul Costelloe, who sent his models down the catwalk with bright pink hair and stunning mini-skirt suits in hot pink, yellow and orange.

One of the most hotly-anticipated shows this season is Saturday's collection from Issa, who designed the blue dress worn by Kate Middleton when she announced her engagement to Prince William last November.

Meanwhile American designer Tom Ford will reportedly be showing his womenswear collection for the first time in London, although only during a series of private appointments with selected fashion editors.

Speaking at the opening of the six-day event Friday, Samantha Cameron said: "I am passionate about fashion so it's a real honour to be here as an ambassador to the British Fashion Council.

"That passion isn't just about how fashion makes people feel. It's about what it can do for our country."

The 39-year-old was appointed BFC ambassador last year but was unable to attend September's shows because she had just given birth to her fourth child.

Ahead of a reception she is hosting for designers at her husband's Downing Street office later Friday, she said fashion was one of Britain's "most important industries", worth more than £20 billion ($32.5 billion, 24 billion euros) a year.

Irish-born designer Costelloe opened proceedings with a range of bright autumnal colours in tartan and houndstooth.

His only daughter, 24-year-old opera singer Jessica, modelled a red coat dress with a nipped-in waist and swinging mid-thigh skirt, grinning broadly at the cameras with her long, brown curls bouncing on her shoulders.

Her brothers took part in last season's shows but she had stayed backstage.

All the other models sported outlandish dyed-pink bobs as they showcased structured necklines, pleated skirts and wide swing coat dresses for a fun, youthful collection.

Meanwhile Caroline Charles, the veteran British designer who used to dress Princess Diana, took her inspiration from the late 19th and early 20th century suffragettes fighting for the vote.

With typically elegant and understated glamour, she presented slender skirts with ruffles at the back reminiscent of a bustle, blazers and jackets in tweed, herringbone and plaid, finished off with bowler hats and printed fedoras.

A muted autumnal palette was livened up with animal print and splashes of colour, from a red snake print dress to a leopard skin shift and wide trousers, and a turquoise tweed coat worn with a black silk skirt and turquoise tights.

Although lower profile than New York, Milan and Paris, London Fashion Week has made its name as a breeding ground for talented young designers, including Christopher Kane, who won this year's BFC/Vogue Designer Fashion Fund.

Kane, who will receive £200,000 as well as mentoring from top figures in the industry under the prize, will be showing his latest collection on Monday.

Life and Style
ebookA wonderful selection of salads, starters and mains featuring venison, grouse and other game
Life and Style
Phillips Idowu, Stella McCartney and Jessica Ennis
fashionMcCartney to continue designing Team GB Olympics kit until 2016
Shinji Kagawa and Reece James celebrate after the latter scores in Manchester United's 7-0 victory over LA Galaxy
voicesGood for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, writes Grace Dent
Farah returns to the track with something to prove
Commonwealth games
Life and Style
fashion Designs are part of feminist art project by a British student
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

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

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Fashion

    SQL Report Analyst (SSRS, CA, SQL 2012)

    £30000 - £38500 Per Annum + 25 days holiday, pension, subsidised restaurant: C...

    Application Support Analyst (SQL, Incident Management, SLAs)

    £34000 - £37000 Per Annum + excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Lt...

    Embedded Software / Firmware Engineer

    £40000 - £45000 per annum + Pension, Holiday, Flexi-time: Progressive Recruitm...

    Developer - WinForms, C#

    £280 - £320 per day: Progressive Recruitment: C#, WinForms, Desktop Developmen...

    Day In a Page

    Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

    Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

    The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
    Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

    Screwing your way to the top?

    Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
    Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

    Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

    Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
    Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

    Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

    The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
    The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

    The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

    Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
    US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

    Meet the US Army's shooting star

    Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform
    Climate change threatens to make the antarctic fur seal extinct

    Take a good look while you can

    How climate change could wipe out this seal
    Should emergency hospital weddings be made easier for the terminally ill?

    Farewell, my lovely

    Should emergency hospital weddings be made easier?
    Man Booker Prize 2014 longlist: Crowdfunded novel nominated for first time

    Crowdfunded novel nominated for Booker Prize

    Paul Kingsnorth's 'The Wake' is in contention for the prestigious award
    Vladimir Putin employs a full-time food taster to ensure his meals aren't poisoned

    Vladimir Putin employs a full-time food taster

    John Walsh salutes those brave souls who have, throughout history, put their knives on the line
    Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

    Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

    A $25m thriller starring Sam Worthington to be made in God's Own Country
    Will The Minerva Project - the first 'elite' American university to be launched in a century - change the face of higher learning?

    Will The Minerva Project change the face of higher learning?

    The university has no lecture halls, no debating societies, no sports teams and no fraternities. Instead, the 33 students who have made the cut at Minerva, will travel the world and change the face of higher learning
    The 10 best pedicure products

    Feet treat: 10 best pedicure products

    Bags packed and all prepped for holidays, but feet in a state? Get them flip-flop-ready with our pick of the items for a DIY treatment
    Commonwealth Games 2014: Great Scots! Planes and pipers welcome in Glasgow's Games

    Commonwealth Games 2014

    Great Scots! Planes and pipers welcome in Glasgow's Games
    Jack Pitt-Brooke: Manchester City and Patrick Vieira make the right stand on racism

    Jack Pitt-Brooke

    Manchester City and Patrick Vieira make the right stand on racism