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Designers rein in costs at London Fashion Week

Budgetary constraints loomed larger than ever before at London Fashion Week this season, as many designers plumped for less expensive ways than usual to showcase their spring 10 offerings. 

While Burberry Prorsum, Matthew Williamson and Christopher Kane predictably seized the catwalk spotlight, presentations, self-funded catwalk shows and the off-schedule supporting initiatives from On|Off and Vauxhall Fashion Scout were equally important for inquisitive buyers.

At her first-ever runway show, designer Hannah Marshall – who is already stocked by etailer My-Wardrobe – rallied the crowds with a show which swapped her signature all-black look for a range peppered with bright cobalt blue tones.

However, Marshall’s gothic undertones were still in evidence, evolving into vivid boxy jackets, crystal-encrusted jumpsuits and Madonna-inspired conical leather bras, but spring 10 also saw some softer pieces thrown into the mix, including perfectly billowing white silk harem pants.

Quintessentially British brand Aquascutum made use of the new Somerset House presentation space. The label’s recent troubles and change of ownership –it was bought by Jaeger owner Harold Tillman last month – may explain why it wasn’t in a position to show a full-scale catwalk collection for spring 10. Instead, designer Michael Herz turned out a capsule range of army-inspired khaki jackets feminised with streams of ruffles or worn over floaty, floor-length printed gowns, alongside neat safari suits.

Over at On|Off, iconic 1980s name Pam Hogg peppered her futuristic catsuits with a few more wearable options for spring, including panelled metallic mini dresses, tulle-tailed satin shifts in sugary cupcake colours and studded white leather biker jackets.

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