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Business given top billing at LFW

What London Fashion Week lacked in “buzz” this week (whatever that really means) it more than made up for in business terms. Almost all the catwalks were incredibly commercial, something which LFW designers spent the best part of the last decade ignoring, to the detriment of the event.

LFW hit all the key trends for autumn 10 with designers straddling the right side of safe-but-interesting. There were innovative plays on the little black dress at Christopher Kane and Antonio Berardi, while Erdem moved beyond his print heartland to show off his cutting skills in new fabrics such as lace on maxi dresses.

In fact, luxe fabrics linked all of this season’s shows, with butter-soft leathers, sheer chiffons and lace featuring in almost every collection.

Interestingly, there was a return to fur with a series of outstandingly beautiful coats. This presents a buying dilemma and while the high street can go faux, it just doesn’t quite cut it at

the top end of the market. No matter, head to Burberry Prorsum for shearling jackets instead, for this will be the outerwear trend of the season.

With business back on the agenda at LFW, designer indies are also rethinking their buying strategies (see p2-3) as shoppers abandon bigger-name brands for more interesting alternatives.

This shift won’t be straightforward though as even mid-sized designers continue to struggle financially. Indies can ill-afford to take risks on whether a collection will deliver or not right now.

I hope British Fashion Council chairman Harold Tillman, who has put LFW firmly back on the map, makes tackling these deep-rooted issues the next priority on his agenda.

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