Ready To Wear: The fashion establishment always come back to black

By Susannah Frankel
Monday 13 December 2010 01:00

The big story for the forthcoming season may be the wearing of full-on colour – blocked, printed, tone-on-tone, whatever – but only a few dipped their toes into that particular water at last week's British Fashion Awards.

True, Bianca Jagger looked every bit the great beauty she always has been in poison green. Lara Stone, meanwhile, is one of the few lovely enough to carry off a perfectly simple little white cocktail dress. She says she's constantly mistaken for Matt Lucas, but it's safe to say she didn't look like him at all in Calvin Klein. British Style icon Alexa Chung was pretty as a picture in sugar pink and not-very-British-at-all Chanel. Her leather jacket was Burberry, though, so that's all right for any rampant Anglophiles out there. Then there was Katie Grand, resplendent in acqua vintage Giles Deacon and with new Prada shoes, on the arm of Deacon himself, suitably dapper in a ruby smoking jacket courtesy of Ungaro.

For the most part, though, these were the exceptions that proved the rule that the fashion establishment still believe that black is the colour to be seen in to the point where even a shade as muted as petrol blue seemed like a radical departure.

Still, there's black and black. While black cocktail dresses aplenty were on display, Christopher Kane's leather and lace designs stood out – a marginally psychotic Heidi springs to mind, and his sister Tammy Kane wears the look well. New British Fashion Council ambassador Samantha Cameron (a bit of a stretch, that one, by anyone's standards) wore a full-length and rather stiff black Osman design, Victoria Beckham's ankle-length split-to-the-thigh style was draped and narrow and the marvellous Naomi Campbell opted for a long dress by new Alexander McQueen creative director Sarah Burton.

Designer of the Year Phoebe Philo's outfit sprang from the time-honoured tuxedo given to women by Yves Saint Laurent in an attempt to rid them of the frills and furbelows of traditional eveningwear. Here was a strapless all-in-one "le smoking" that was as coolly oversized as it was appropriate and elegant and, on Philo at least, not even remotely reminiscent of something that a Teletubby might wear.

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