For the past decade British Fashion had been experiencing a rapid fall from grace. With world famous London based trend setters like Westwood and Galliano crossing the channel to show in Paris, prospects for the perennially foggy city looked bleak. However, a recent turn of events has reversed the tide back in favor of the land of the esteemed Queen. Those who jumped ship, when the UKís fashion juice appeared to be running out, are slowly finding the way back. Curiously, these days, all roads seem to lead to England.
On the February the 13th Model Lily Cole, wearing a design by Robert Cary-Williams, officially launched London Fashion Week--sponsored by Canon--held at the Natural History Museum. The It-girl of the moment strolled down the catwalk dressed in a print dress with sinuous hems, holding a camera. With each click the crimson haired model, renowned for her alabaster skin and Boticelli-esque good looks, immortalized her subjects, namely the fashion viewers.
The next stop for the LFW roller coaster was the Julien McDonald show, featuring Paris Hilton, held at the Freemason Hall on the 14th. Fashionlines editors felt inclined to be unflinchingly cynical about any designer allowing infamous heiress Paris to walk their runway, but watching the silly girl strut down the catwalk, her platinum hair extensions in full swing, was undeniably entertaining. It would have never happened at a Valentino defile, but then again Julien is no Valentino.
Sadie Frost, whose designer identity has been overshadowed by her personal ties to controversial names like Jude Law (ex-husband) and Kate Moss (self-proclaimed drug addict and super model), showed her Autumn/Winter 2006/07 collection on the 15th. Ironically, the after party, held at the Cockoo Club, created more ripples than Ms. Frostís creations. With the paparazzi lining up to photograph the eccentric party goers the venue was indeed a Cockooís nest that night.
Londonís return to the helm of haute chic has precipitated a swift reclaiming of the town by the fashion elite. And wherever the moda savvy go, they take their bit of light reading. The recent mega-magazine to join the myriad of brilliant publications, chronicling Britainís unique stylistic sensibilities, was Harperís Bazaar. Throwing a stellar launch party inside the Club Cirque on the 16th, the Conde Nast ace hosted the biggest names in the industry, from million dollar face Erin OíConnor to legendary Jane Birkin (namesake of the Birkin Bag).
Not to be upstaged by Glenda Bailey, Anna launched her counter attack and threw an American & British Vogue bash/cocktail party at Luciano Restaurant the very next day. Her guests included everyone from glamazon Naomi Campbell to PETA protestors, picketing with giant signs, featuring a ghastly picture of the controversial host.
It has become customary for important film and music industry events to coincide with LFW. This way the A-listers, who congregate in London can attend a number of events, without having to travel vast expanses. The British Academy Film Awards (BAFTAs) red carpet arrivals at Odeon Leicester Square were indeed faces we have become accustomed to see front row at fashion shows. Rene Zellweger, Reese Witherspon, George Clooney, Charlize Theron, Felicity Huffman, Matt Dillon, Jake Gyllenhaal were some of the many mega stars, cheered by hundred of fans huddled under ponchos and umbrellas before the much anticipated ceremony.
Though London Fashion Week is an occasion to celebrate fashion, the celebrity factor is central to the success of the entire enterprise. Thus, it was befitting that the Elle Style Awards 2006, held at the Atlantis Gallery of the Old Truman Brewery, honored not only designers, but individuals that contribute to the world of fabric and form with distinctive panache. Recipients of the highly coveted title ranged from arresting beauty Charlize Theron to model mom Elle McPherson.
London Fashion Week was a glitzy, star-studded affair, underscored by fame, glamour, fabulous clothes, and juicy rumors. This season the whole gamut of the rich and famous; including gorgeous Hollywood sirens, publishing moguls, celebrated models and legendary style icons, were in attendance once again in England. As usual it was exhilarating to see larger than life characters, whole heartedly applaud the genius of cut and construction. Long live British Fashion!