Sep 16, 2008
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Julien Macdonald brings safari chic to London

Sep 16, 2008

By Golnar Motevalli

LONDON (Reuters) - Welsh fashion designer and celebrity favourite Julien Macdonald stunned audiences at London Fashion Week on Monday evening with a safari-inspired collection combining 1940s Hollywood glamour and 1970s disco chic.

Macdonald, noted for his ultra-feminine style incorporating expensive fabrics and opulent embellishments, presented a more subtle range of colours than in previous collections.

"It's a very muted palette for the summer -- there was lots of stripes, lots of beige. It's all my fantasy about going on safari. I went to Ulusaba game reserve, which is Richard Branson's private safari place," Macdonald told reporters after the show.

"I love women who look feminine and sexy. Even if you go into (supermarket) Tesco, why can't you look sexy? You never know, you could meet a man in aisle 10 picking out your veg."

Attending the show, which took place at Lancaster House, an appropriately grand location a stone's throw from Buckingham Palace, were singer Shirley Bassey, Bianca Jagger, actor Joely Richardson and model Erin O'Connor.

Richardson, who is well-known for championing Macdonald's designs, wore one of his pieces, a long-sleeved, body-hugging top made from mirrored fragments.

"What I loved about today is (Macdonald has) taken everything that's good about what he does but he's also moved on. There's a freshness and an elegance ... I just think it's beautiful, really fluid," Richardson said after the show.

Macdonald, who cites designer Helmut Newton and films "White Mischief" and "Emmanuelle" among his influences, said his customers were not being affected by the credit crunch.

"It never affects my market. When you've got money, you've always got money ... instead of buying five jackets you might buy one," the designer said.

Around 50 designers will show their spring/summer 2009 collections at London Fashion Week during the next four days, and forthcoming highlights include Christopher Kane, Giles Deacon and Vivienne Westwood.

(Reporting by Golnar Motevalli; Editing by Catherine Evans)

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