Relax for a fashion trick up the sleeves

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IN THE fashion world, you are never too young to start. Nicholas Knightly, a mere 23, had the fashion world working overtime in London on Friday night. The designer, showing his second collection, held his catwalk show in a photographic studio in east London at a time when most fashion people want to be getting their beauty sleep.

It was worth the wait. Mr Knightly's autumn collection, the final show of London Fashion Week, was small but immaculately conceived.

He has an obsession with achieving perfect cut, best displayed in drawstring kimono- sleeved jackets worn with cream blouses and wide trousers. Every shirt was given the Knightly treatment; the best were checked and cut with exaggerated balloon sleeves, worn under tight sweaters. He said his relaxed look was inspired by Alpine winter sports, but the real theme was 'the exploration of cut and fabric'.

Mr Knightly's knitwear came in high-necked sweaters with orange-flash motifs. For the younger customer, there were denim jackets, shirts and circular-cut skirts in red and black. Although many in the audience had been looking at clothes non-stop for some 12 hours, they applauded with enthusiasm.

Today, the fashion circuit moves to Milan; next week Paris, and then New York - by which time Mr Knightly will be hard at work on his spring '94 collection. In a competitive world, fashion designers cannot afford to rest.

(Photograph omitted)