'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.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
Latest stories from i100
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

    Tradewind Recruitment: KS2 Teacher

    Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: My client is a two form entry primary schoo...

    Tradewind Recruitment: English Teacher

    Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: My client is an excellent, large partially ...

    Tradewind Recruitment: Science Teacher

    £90 - £140 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: I am currently working in partnersh...

    Tradewind Recruitment: Year 3 Primary Teacher

    £100 - £150 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: Year 3 Teacher Birmingham Jan 2015...

    Day In a Page

    Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

    Isis hostage crisis

    The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
    Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

    The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

    Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
    Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

    Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

    Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
    Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

    Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

    This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
    Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

    Cabbage is king again

    Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
    11 best winter skin treats

    Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

    Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
    Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

    Paul Scholes column

    The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
    Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

    Frank Warren's Ringside

    No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
    Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

    Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

    The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
    Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

    Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

    Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
    Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
    Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

    Comedians share stories of depression

    The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
    Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

    Has The Archers lost the plot?

    A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
    English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

    14 office buildings added to protected lists

    Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
    Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

    Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

    Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee