Bella, Donna, Ronit and Helmut - it's ab fab to see you, darlings!

THE eccentric, the high spirited, the creative and some of the most envied talents of the fashion world will be on show this week at London Fashion Week as the city kicks off the month- long round of international shows.

The London scene in terms of music, clubs and the arts is threatening to become trendier in world terms than it has been for 30 years, and fashion is a natural rider on this bandwagon.

The interest in young British designers such as Alexander McQueen has influenced the resurgence in London's fortunes as a fashion capital. The Americans are beginning to use London, rather than Milan or Paris, as a gateway to Europe. They are particularly drawn to the capital's prestigious Bond and Sloane Street addresses - as evidenced by the fact that London's four days of shows are serving as a launchpad for New York designer Donna Karan's worldwide flagship store opening on Bond Street.

Fellow New Yorker, Tommy Hilfiger, who recently launched his men's fragrance in the United Kingdom and is planning a store in London, also comes to town with a show on Saturday night.

Highlights of this year's catwalk events include the first show by Ronit Zilkha, who in just seven years of business has already become a favourite of such illustrious names as Cherie Booth, Princess Diana, Koo Stark, Maureen Lipman, Jane Asher, Lady Frost, Lady Halpern and Jilly Johnson. Zilkha also opens two shops this week, in Beauchamp Place and Marylebone High Street, to add to those in central London and Hampstead. Two other big British names making a welcome return to London are Ghost and Workers for Freedom.

Ghost, headed by Tanya Sarne, now shows at New York Fashion Week, but this week, the company launches a new line, called Seraph. This is an easy-to-wear utility collection designed by Sherry Landen, who has been with the Ghost team for three years and developed the line in the spirit of the mother label.

Workers For Freedom, the design partnership of Richard Nott and Graham Fraser return to the London catwalks after two years' absence.

In 1990, the designers were awarded Designer of the Year by the British Fashion Council and customers have included Paul and Linda McCartney, Diana Ross and Jamie Lee Curtis.

Fashion Week may be a British event, but British designers increasingly turn to international backers to support them. Last year, Workers for Freedom were approached by an American company which has backed a worldwide licensing and manufacturing deal. The collections will be manufactured in China and will reach a wider audience than ever before.

Prices have been reduced significantly with the new deal.

Similarly, Alexander McQueen, who last season showed his bumsters in both the Hawksmoor Christ Church in London's Spitalfields and a synagogue in New York's Lower East Side and has the reputation of an archetypal wayward young London designer, has managed to build up a solid business with backing from Onward Kashiyama, the Japanese company that also has deals with Helmut Lang, Jean Paul Gaultier and Paul Smith.

McQueen, the designer most responsible for getting London talked about in international fashion circles, now has his collection manufactured in Italy.

Sponsorship is essential to the shows' survival. The celebrity hairdresser Vidal Sassoon is in his sixth season of sponsoring the shows, and he will make a rare appearance in London. Without his help and that of companies including Lloyds Bank (Pearce Fionda), Absolut Vodka (Clements Ribeiro), Motorola (Bella Freud), Tanqueray Gin (Alexander McQueen), Debenhams (Ben de Lisi) and BHS (Paul Frith), designers would struggle to meet the many thousands of pounds it costs to hire a venue and put on a show.

And without the young designers who perpetuate London's image as the creative centre of the fashion industry, designers might not be so keen to open flagship stores here.

As well as Donna Karan's DKNY store, Christian Lacroix is opening his second store - both of them on Bond Street- Prada opened on Sloane Street, and there are also plans for a Ralph Lauren flagship, Calvin Klein stores, and a Tommy Hilfiger shop.

For the first time, the collections will be broadcast twice daily on the Internet. Vogue Fashion Daily will carry show previews from tomorrow and will broadcast images from the shows just 15 minutes after being received. The Web site is accessed by about 3,000 people around the world each day.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Life and Style
techYahoo Japan launches service to delete your files and email your relatives when you die
Life and Style
Child's play: letting young people roam outdoors directly contradicts the current climate
lifeHow much independence should children have?
Arts and Entertainment
Tycoons' text: Warren Buffett and Bill Gates both cite John Brookes' 'Business Adventures' as their favourite book
booksFind out why America's richest men are reading John Brookes
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
<p><strong>2008</strong></p>
<p>Troubled actor Robert Downey Jr cements his comeback from drug problems by bagging the lead role in Iron Man. Two further films follow</p>
filmRobert Downey Jr named Hollywood's highest paid actor for second year running
Life and Style
Dale Bolinger arranged to meet the girl via a fetish website
life
Property
Sign here, please: Magna Carta Island
propertyYours for a cool £4m
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
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.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Marketing Executive, London

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Charter Selection: This highly prestigious luxury b...

C++ Software Developer / Image Processing / 3D Visualisation

£45,000 to £55,000: IT Connections Ltd: C++ Software Developer / Image Process...

Java / J2EE Developer / Agile / Linux

£30,000 to £40,000: IT Connections Ltd: Java / J2EE Developer / Agile / Linux ...

Software Development Manager / Java / J2EE

£45,000 to £55,000: IT Connections Ltd: Software Development Manager / Java / ...

Day In a Page

Some are reformed drug addicts. Some are single mums. All are on benefits. But now these so-called 'scroungers’ are fighting back

The 'scroungers’ fight back

The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
Amazing video shows Nasa 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action

Fireballs in space

Amazing video shows Nasa's 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action
A Bible for billionaires

A Bible for billionaires

Find out why America's richest men are reading John Brookes
Paranoid parenting is on the rise - and our children are suffering because of it

Paranoid parenting is on the rise

And our children are suffering because of it
For sale: Island where the Magna Carta was sealed

Magna Carta Island goes on sale

Yours for a cool £4m
Phone hacking scandal special report: The slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

The hacker's tale: the slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

Glenn Mulcaire was jailed for six months for intercepting phone messages. James Hanning tells his story in a new book. This is an extract
We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

Child abusers are not all the same, yet the idea of treating them differently in relation to the severity of their crimes has somehow become controversial
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

For instance, did Isis kill the Israeli teenagers to trigger a war, asks Patrick Cockburn
Alistair Carmichael: 'The UK as a whole is greater than the sum of its parts'

Alistair Carmichael: 'The UK as a whole is greater than the sum of its parts'

Meet the man who doesn't want to go down in history as the country's last Scottish Secretary
Legoland Windsor's master model-makers reveal the tricks of their trade (including how to stop the kids wrecking your Eiffel Tower)

Meet the people who play with Lego for a living

They are the master builders: Lego's crack team of model-makers, who have just glued down the last of 650,000 bricks as they recreate Paris in Windsor. Susie Mesure goes behind the scenes
The 20 best days out for the summer holidays: From Spitfires to summer ferry sailings

20 best days out for the summer holidays

From summer ferry sailings in Tyne and Wear and adventure days at Bear Grylls Survival Academy to Spitfires at the Imperial War Museum Duxford and bog-snorkelling at the World Alternative Games...
Open-air theatres: If all the world is a stage, then everyone gets in on the act

All the wood’s a stage

Open-air productions are the cue for better box-office receipts, new audiences, more interesting artistic challenges – and a picnic
Rand Paul is a Republican with an eye on the world

Rupert Cornwell: A Republican with an eye on the world

Rand Paul is laying out his presidential stall by taking on his party's disastrous record on foreign policy
Self-preservation society: Pickles are moving from the side of your plate to become the star dish

Self-preservation society

Pickles are moving from the side of your plate to become the star dish
Generation gap opens a career sinkhole

Britons live ever longer, but still society persists in glorifying youth

We are living longer but considered 'past it' younger, the reshuffle suggests. There may be trouble ahead, says DJ Taylor