Flower power revival meets mixed response

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THE GREAT British public had its annual taste of the glamorous world of fashion yesterday. Thousands of people paid pounds 7.50 to visit the BBC Clothes Show Live exhibition at Earls Court, west London.

They queued patiently for free facials, hair-cuts, make-ups and make-overs. For another pounds 7.50, they crowded into a purpose-built 6,500-seat auditorium to watch a catwalk show displaying the looks for next spring.

The younger generation loved the new hippie fashions. Rebecca Bishop, 16, from Bournemouth, looked as if she had stepped straight off the road to Kathmandu. 'I love the clothes; they're bright and comfortable and individual.'

The older generation, witnessing a rerun of the fashions of their youth, were less certain. Glynis Lindop, 40, from Widnes, said: 'I used to wear flares and paisley prints, but I don't like seeing them all over again.'

Jeff Banks, presenter of the BBC TV Clothes Show, recalled his own days as a hippie, when he was married to the singer Sandie Shaw. 'I had a long Zapata moustache, a Sergeant Pepper velvet jacket with a riding coat neck, and fully lined hipster flares with centre seams front and back.'

No, said Mr Banks very firmly, he would not be reviving his old wardrobe.

The exhibition, which was launched on the back of the BBC Clothes Show in 1989, has demonstrated the enduring public fascination with fashion and the fashion industry. The women, young and old, came yesterday to look at the clothes and admire the models. The men, for the most part, came to admire the models.

The organisers predicted attendances at the six-day event would top 250,000.

(Photograph omitted)