New generation take limelight

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The Independent Online
TWO young design labels hosted their first independent catwalk shows yesterday at London Fashion Week. Both Sonnentag Mulligan and Xavier Foley had previously shown as part of the New Generation Designers showcase at Harvey Nichols.

Sonnentag Mulligan's collection was a radical move away from their previous grown-up and sombre clothes. Simple dresses and perfect suits with hidden Velcro fastenings were made of bright, floral- printed plastic and made wearable by pale blue linings. The Chinese cheongsam was stylised into modern, wearable knee-length dresses and tops, and pretty floral-printed shiny satin was a refreshing change for jackets and short flirty skirts. This was one of the freshest moments of the three-day event; the clothes were creatively designed and wearable.

Xavier Foley showed a more mainstream collection for working women which included short suits, side- buttoning culottes in linen, a series of acid-coloured silk shift dresses in emerald greens and midnight blues, and fluid skirts with asymmetric hems. For the evening, there were crinkle- hemmed shifts layered over each other in gold metallic organza.

The design duo won backing from Evolve, the high-street retailer, earlier this year. Like Sonnentag Mulligan's, their collection has changed radically since they left the New Generation. Now the silhouette is slimmer and bright colour has been added.

Newcomers to the London catwalks showed yesterday afternoon. Names to watch include Commun, Clements Ribeiro and Pearce Fionda. Clements Ribeiro, two graduates from Central St Martin's, base their clothes on the style of the Fifties and Sixties icons Audrey Hepburn, Grace Kelly and Jackie O.

Today, the scene moves to Paris where the ready-to- wear shows for spring/summer 1995 continue.

(Photographs omitted)