Sep 17, 2012
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Modern ladylike elegance dominates London's catwalks

Sep 17, 2012

LONDON - Designers applied a more subtle approach to their latest collections on day three of London Fashion Week on Sunday, with the use of clean crisp lines, sharp tailoring and bold pops of color.

Printed silks, crisp cottons and embellished detailing appeared on the runways, indicating a move towards simple but modern elegance for the spring/summer 2013 collections.

Nicole Fahri - SS 2013 / Photo: Pixel Formula

Christopher Raeburn, Nicole Farhi and Margaret Howell opened the day with different shades of white which drew inspiration from marble quarries and 1950s escape maps.

Silky trench coats, structured day dresses and elegant separates made up the collection of Nicole Farhi, whose designs were inspired by the quarries of Carrara in Tuscany.

"The coloring comes from the marble mountain that you see at different times of the day. So you start with white, then greyishness and then at dawn, you get that pinky feeling," Farhi said.

Her collection featured crisp chalky whites, pale slate greys, tints of honey and almond, and faded washes of peachy sienna. Farhi said she wanted all her pieces to be structured, which is seen in the stiffness of the fabric, the origami folds of the dresses and pleated detailing.

Thin lines of beads were used to embellish, providing a twist upon a simple summer dress. Skirts with leather strips and slouchy knitted jumpers also made up the collection.

The ladylike trend continued at Temperley London, where organza, chiffon and silk dresses were tailored and adorned with intricate beading, delicate embroidery and lace cut-outs.

The collection titled "Return to Elegance" was an interpretation of the 1950s silhouette, with full flowing skirts in cool shades of pale blue, white, orange and navy. Accessories included round white-rimmed sunglasses and chic statement hats.

"I make clothes for beautiful women who know how to dress without trying to make a statement, and in a couple of years to come, they still like my dress," Temperley said backstage before her show.

The designer held her show in London's opulent Grand Connaught Rooms, with actress Anna Friel, singer Pixie Lott and model Tali Lennox in attendance.

Friel, a long-time fan of the designer, said "I think it's elegant, it makes me feel incredibly feminine. I'm a big vintage fan and I think a lot of the designs ... are timeless."

Temperley's creations are a favorite of Prince William's wife, the Duchess of Cambridge - Kate Middleton - but the designer was keen to be seen as more than a favorite of the royal.


"I don't like to be labeled to it, (the duchess) is a beautiful girl and there's lots of beautiful women that wear Temperley," the designer said.

Vivienne Westwood took a more quirky approach to ladylike elegance with a medley of beautifully tailored dresses, jackets and skirts with graphic floral prints, candy-cane striped shirts and cropped Capri pants.

Vivienne Westwood - SS 2013 / Photo: Pixel Formula

Sleeveless silk dresses in mustard yellow, midnight blue and cherry red were paired with lace and broderie anglaise buckled boots.

Models sported bold cartoonish make-up, painted over their red, green and yellow faces, and 1950s-inspired hairstyles.

The end of the day saw Paul Smith's signature style of sharp tailoring, quirky details and bold pops of color.

Stripes, contrasting details and two-tone effects were spread across the collection on jackets, shirts, dresses and trousers.

The designer mixed materials such as lace with silk, creating a modern graphic cut-up look with bright optimistic colors and easy shapes to wear.

"I just wanted clothes that were easy to put on and easy to buy things, that you could add to your existing wardrobe," Smith said.

The big show of the night was a concert extravaganza for royal milliner Philip Treacy, who made his comeback after a 10-year hiatus.

The hat sculptor has gained a strong following in the fashion set with the likes of Lady Gaga, Sarah Jessica Parker and Grace Jones among his fans.

The designer paid tribute to the fallen with his new collection, dedicating it to late designers Isabella Blow, Alexander McQueen and pop star Michael Jackson.

Set against the dominant grandeur of the Royal Courts of Justice in London with Jackson's music playing, models wore stunning headpieces and Jackson's clothes, which are set to be auctioned off in Beverly Hills in December.

Treacy's creations ranged from horn-like structures, feathered curlicues and facial veils to a miniature fairground, Mickey Mouse ears and a yellow smiley face. Models wore iconic garments that documented Jackson's career, in black, red, gold and white.

The biggest pieces were left for the finale, with a spinning light headpiece and a full body cocoon decorated with lights.

(Additional reporting by Piya Sinha-Roy and Basmah Fahim; Editing by Pravin Char)

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