Jensen's candles are burning bright

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The Independent Online

Peter Jensen lit up London Fashion Week with a Scandinavian-style catwalk show featuring a headdress of flaming candles, part of the Santa Lucia costume traditionally worn by Swedish girls at Christmas. Jensen, now in his eighth season at fashion week, said his Fair Isle sweaters, hand-knitted bonnets and patchwork dresses were inspired by the Ingmar Bergman film Fanny and Alexander .

Peter Jensen lit up London Fashion Week with a Scandinavian-style catwalk show featuring a headdress of flaming candles, part of the Santa Lucia costume traditionally worn by Swedish girls at Christmas. Jensen, now in his eighth season at fashion week, said his Fair Isle sweaters, hand-knitted bonnets and patchwork dresses were inspired by the Ingmar Bergman film Fanny and Alexander .

The Danish-born designer also said his collection, shown yesterday, was a reflection of his roots. "I felt it was appropriate to do something very cosy and Scandinavian now," he said backstage after the show held in a disused office in Victoria, London.

Proving that the naive spirit ­ a trend for autumn/winter 2005 ­ need not forsake elegance, Jensen sent out a belted, woollen check-coat and swingy smocked dresses in deep blue and burgundy, on a cast of models given brightly painted faces or cartoonish masks. Also impressive were his original prints, of trains winding through pine forests and bare winter branches, that appeared on blouses with poet sleeves and on men's shirts.

Giles Deacon's autumn/winter 2005 collection was black, dramatic and elegant. It also felt uncannily like a job application for the post of chief designer at Givenchy, for which Deacon is rumoured to be in the running.

His show yesterday, staged in a former church in east London, included voluminous taffeta capes and balloon-shaped black panne velvet cocktail frocks reminiscent of the mid-century designs by Hubert de Givenchy, who retired in 1996.

"I wanted it to look as though it had been made 50 years ago. It was all about construction and technique," said Deacon.

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