From a reinterpretation of countryside staples to glamorous eveningwear, London shines.
A modern take on British looks at London Fashion Week
You can mean one of two things talking about the London "look". One is the sort of cutting-edge fashion seen on the catwalks of Danielle Scutt, Louise Gray, Henry Holland and Charles Anastaste on day two of London Fashion Week.
Scutt's take on contemporary eveningwear included short dresses in ruched panne velvet and complicated latticework satin shirts and skirts. Charles Anastaste scaled up a classic English staple - the double-breasted children's coat with Peter Pan collar - and made it desirable for the most fashionable of young women. Henry Holland referenced "granny chic" and had front-row fans including Peaches Geldof and Alexa Chung, oohing and aaahing at cardigans made from crochet-squares and budgie prints.
This is exactly what draws foreign buyers and the press, seeking the extraordinary, to the British capital.
Louise Gray's riotous tartan and polka-dot textiles and Jonathan Saunders's techy textured knits accessorised with state-of-the-art Christian Louboutin wedges also did not disappoint.
The other side of London fashion involves the quirky nod to nostalgic heritage found in the collections of Daks, Jaeger, Aquascutum and Burberry.
The Japanese-owned, British bastion Daks (originally a combination of "dad" and "slacks"), who showed for the third season in London on Saturday morning, have perfected a modern take on Britishness - whatever Britishness means these days.
Who cares? The uniform of the green and pleasant land seen through the eyes of Daks' Milanese designer, Filippo Scuffi, and styled by the former Italian Vogue fashion editor, Cathy Kasterine (who helped nail Prada's "Miu Miu" style), is an outright winner.
Kasterine's obsession with all things 1960s and 1970s (her particular passions include gritty iconic movies such as Cathy Come Home) coupled with Scuffi's Italian love of Euro-luxe fabrics reinterprets countryside staples, from tattersall checks and quilted gilets to hairy tweed caped coats, sensible pleated skirts and dog-walking wellies.
Injected with sharp tailoring and worn by a bevy of beautiful young debutante-like models - who looked like they had been whisked from walking the labrador in rainy Hyde Park to the catwalk of London Fashion Week HQ, Somerset House - the effect was dynamite.
Highlights included handmade blue-faced Leicester wool jackets, hooded ponchos and caped duffel coats, worn over calf-length skirts with square-toed patent court shoes.
Another London signature is glamorous eveningwear. Issa, the label designed by the Brazilian-born Daniella Helayel, who created Kate Middleton's now famous engagement dress, showed a collection of figure-hugging, tailored day and eveningwear the future princess might approve of.
Later on, Jonathan Saunders's show, in a steel-and-glass building in the squeaky new Paddington Basin, was cast by the model Svengali Russell Marsh, who also collaborates with Prada and Celine. Involvement from Marsh guarantees all the London shows he is involved with (Jaeger, Acne, Richard Nicoll, Christopher Kane and Aquascutum) automatically get fast-tracked to global status, and Saunders looks set to achieve this too.
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