Fashionistas and passers-by share London's catwalk buzz

Harriet Walker,Fashion Writer
Tuesday 22 February 2011 01:00

It was a tale of two Christophers at London Fashion Week yesterday as two of the schedule's most talked-about designers unveiled their new collections.

First up: Christopher Kane, London's much-vaunted wunderkind, whose rising stock drew some of the fashion pack's most discerning eyes to the front row. US Vogue editor Anna Wintour took her place alongside her newly installed Parisian counterpart Emmanuelle Alt, while Alexa Chung and Samantha Cameron played supporting roles.

The show opened with leather shell tops decorated with trompe l'oeil crochet prints, which continued on blouses and sweaters with crocheted sleeves. Wool dresses were embellished with curved and sealed pockets of PVC filled with a cocktail of vegetable oil, glycerine and dye that gave them the look of lava lamps.

If Kane – a master of unexpected mixed media – regularly bucks trends, then Christopher Bailey's work for Burberry is an aesthetic regularly under scrutiny from other designers. Already this week we have seen heritage checks and fabrics, leather motocross trousers and biker jackets, all of which Bailey has made his label's signature in recent seasons.

And yesterday afternoon a host of A-listers perched on the leather benches lining the catwalk in Kensington Gardens, while a few miles away in Piccadilly Circus 300 fans surrounded the Eros statue for a live streaming of the new collection on the 32-metre Coke billboard.

The show was an ode to coats, with drop-shouldered cocoons in beige wool and rich red capes, yellow and black plaid sack-back button-downs and, of course, the signature trench – this time spun in lightly padded, spongy knits, tinsel yarn and bonded argyle wool with fur sleeves and skirts. Models took their final walkthrough wearing clear vinyl ponchos in a spectacular blizzard of synthetic snow.

Wintour and Cameron were also spotted at Erdem Moralioglu's show. Both women have championed the Turkish designer, whose latest collection took abstract impressionist prints and smudged them into indistinct renderings across full-length gowns, classic overcoats and sharply tailored trousers. It was a technically complex collection with simplicity at its heart: Erdem is adept at giving his customers what they want.

In his show at the ballroom of the newly refurbished Savoy, Sir Paul Smith presented dishevelled mannish tailoring: shirts, knits and low-rise peg trousers in traditional blues and greys with flashes of humour and colour.

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