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Some of the best from a really weird year

ET came home; police constable chases himself; some twits on Twitter didn't know the sinking of the Titanic cruise liner actually happened; 'real-life Willy Wonka' told to give up chocolate or risk a heart attack.

ET came home

Called out to recover a body seen floating in the sea off southern England, rescuers discovered instead a life-size model of ET, the alien star of the eponymous film directed by Steven Spielberg.

Police inquiries revealed the model had been stolen from the nearby home of Margaret Wells, 76, in September. The replica had been made by Mrs Wells's daughter nine years ago and has been returned to her, but minus a finger.

Mrs Wells said: "I always knew ET would come home." (January)

Catch me if you can

An undercover police constable spent 20 minutes chasing himself after the operator of a surveillance camera mistook him for a suspect.

The officer had received a radio message alerting him to a man acting suspiciously on the streets of a small town in Sussex, England.

Not realising the camera had picked him up, the officer set off in pursuit, telling a colleague he was "hot on his heels".

The "chase" only ended when another policeman came into the CCTV control room and recognised the officer on screen.

A leaked report of the incident noted that "with the sergeant's sides aching from laughter he pointed out to the PC [police constable] that the operator had been watching him, unaware that he was a plainclothes officer - thus the PC had been chasing himself round the streets". (February)

Twitter twits

Twitter users have expressed surprise at the news that the sinking of the Titanic cruise liner actually happened and was not just a movie.

With James Cameron releasing a 3D version of his Oscar winning blockbuster to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the sinking, Twitter feeds have been buzzing with the revelation that the Titanic was a real ship that sank with massive loss of life in April 1912.

One user of the social networking site tweeted: "I never knew the titanic [sic] was real:/thought it was just another movie I haven't seen yet."

Another wrote: "Is it bad that I didn't know the titanic was real? Always thought it was just a film."

A user called "Mr Dragon Slayer" tweeted: "I'm never going on a cruise again." (April)

Confection impossible

A chocolate tester known as "the real-life Willy Wonka" has given up his job after gaining nearly 13 kilos.

Angus Kennedy, 47, has been told his cholesterol is "dangerously high" and that he risked a heart attack.

Kennedy was appointed the chief tester for the trade journal Kennedy's Confection in 2010, earning the equivalent of Dh172,000 a year to eat up to a kilo of chocolate products a day. He only visited the doctor after the birth of his fifth child and was immediately advised to quit.

Kennedy, from Kent in England, called his job a "Golden Ticket", but added: "a recent check-up showed my arteries were far from fighting fit." (July)

* James Langton

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Editor's Picks

 Styled with bleached bobs and pale skin, the models wore clean and sporty separates reminiscent of the chic workwear of The Hunger Games. Courtesy Getty Images

Fashion Forward: Thoughtful tailoring at Asudari

The womenswear label Asudari showcased a collection that featured sharp masculine tailoring, but with feminine silhouettes.

Styled with bleached bobs and pale skin, the models wore clean and sporty separates reminiscent of the chic workwear of The Hunger Games.

Designer Lamia Asudari says she was influenced by Delftware ceramics from the 16th century, as well as the imagery of weaponry and artillery. Indeed, pistols, grenades and guns were emblazoned over jackets and dresses.

 Several of Jo Baaklini's pieces featured fruit prints. Courtesy Getty Images

Fashion Forward: At Starch, watermelon shirts, anyone?

“We need to cultivate our own fashion heroes — our own regional brands,” stressed Fashion Forward’s honcho Bong Guerrero in a press con two weeks ago.

Aptly, the slot for this season’s opening runway show was given to two newbies: Jo Baaklini and Timi Hayek, whose talents were scouted by Starch, a group dedicated to launching emerging Lebanese designers.

Between the two, Mr Baaklini had a stronger showing.

 Jean Louis Sabaji’s collection was very good when the tricks were toned down — like the simple white jumpsuit with a sculptural neckpiece. Stuart C. Wilson / Getty Images

Fashion Forward: Jean Louis Sabaji’s debatable debut

Jean Louis Sabaji’s collection was very good when the tricks were toned down — like the simple white jumpsuit with a sculptural neckpiece, the floral crop top, and the radiant yellow pleated skirt.

But most of the time he went too far. There were bell-bottoms, separates that looked like costumes from The Jetsons, and a yellow dress reminiscent of Bjork’s infamous Oscars swan dress — several disparate elements in one multicoloured, multilayered show.

 Launched in 2009 by childhood friends Arwa Abdelhadi and Basma Abu Ghazaleh, Kage bills itself as a label whose “ultimate goal is to design a collection appealing to all.” Courtesy Getty Images

Fashion Forward: Kage pleases all palates

Did the designers of Kage aim to showcase every type of basic clothing on their latest show?

Because there were skirts, shorts, trousers, off-shoulder tops, short dresses, cocktail dresses, long flowy dresses, spaghetti straps, jackets, hoods — and even pyjamas, which with the incoming summer heat, looked especially appealing.

Launched in 2009 by childhood friends Arwa Abdelhadi and Basma Abu Ghazaleh, Kage bills itself as a label whose “ultimate goal is to design a collection appealing to all”, they said in their statement.

 The standout was a grey hooded cape that created a tension between edge and elegance. Courtesy Getty Images

Fashion Forward: Polish, craft (and fur!) at The Emperor 1688

The best show of Day 1 at Fashion Forward was delivered by the three Golkar brothers behind The Emperor 1688.

The coats and capes were the clear winners: they came in all sorts of interesting colours and sizes — and featured exceptionally tailored proportions. There was a lot of volume, but also stiffness.

And whimsy: two favourites were a green double-breasted suit and a blue overcoat with a red clover pattern and gold buttons.

 Midway through Ezra's show, snow started falling from the ceiling. Ian Gavan / Getty Images for Fashion Forward

Fashion Forward: Ezra stuns in snow-covered show

Turns out the Filipino designer Ezra, known for his dreamy couture, still had a few surprises up his sleeve.

Midway through his show, snow started falling from the ceiling.

It created a starkly beautiful atmosphere for his intricately constructed gowns that seemed to be designed for an Ice Queen transported back to the 1950s.

He showed a collection that had a lot of technical firepower behind it: glittering iridescent fabrics paired with head and neckpieces that were moulded and stiffened to stand out in odd angles.

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