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Substance unites with style at LFW

Jessica Brown

The UK’s home-grown designers, or at least British-educated ones, put on one of the best-received London Fashion Weeks in recent history this week.

The UK’s home-grown designers, or at least British-educated ones, put on one of the best-received London Fashion Weeks in recent history this week. It seems London’s labels have finally come to terms with the fact that commercial collections can be cool, and LFW was all the better for it.

And so emerged some strong trends - whether we shop the high street or upmarket boutiques, we’ll all be wearing white and minimalist luxe sportswear, showing our lingerie through lace and sheer layers and strapping and zipping ourselves into maxi dresses next spring. Oh, and we’ll need to add some wide-legged 1970s-style trousers to the mix too. Hopefully these looks, interpreted in the right way, will be compelling enough to persuade shoppers to freshen up their wardrobes for spring, post the January VAT rise.

Interestingly, it was London’s most high-profile label that put out the most disappointing collection. Burberry Prorsum’s studded leather jackets and python patched trousers came over a bit more call girl than biker chick, and this collection looked distinctly like a look the fashion world rocked as recently as 2009. Chief creative officer Christopher Bailey’s talent for turning out a key look - autumn 10’s shearling jackets and boots are boosting business for everyone this season - will sadly not play out for spring 11 in spite of Sarah Jessica Parker and the glitterati occupying his front row.

Designers seemed to reference each other this season. In addition to outstanding digi-print maxi dresses, at Erdem there were buttoned-high lace blouses mixed with embroidered floral-motif dresses reminiscent of Christopher Kane’s autumn 10 show, albeit in a feminine white and ivory palette, while Richard Nicoll seemed to reference early Jonathan Saunders with his sheer David Bowie-inspired 1970s collection. When it sells, there’s nothing wrong with that.

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