Designers wow ’em on catwalks

LONDON Fashion Week revved up a gear on the catwalks around Chelsea yesterday as some of the biggest names in British design made day two of the week-long spectacle one to remember.

While the scheduled shows of which there are about 10 a day were keeping the fashion pack busy as they moved from venue to venue across the city, off-schedule events proved no less exciting with the opening of the London Designer's Exhibition at Fashion Week's base on King's Road.

Amongst the 110 designer's to partake in this season's exhibition is renowned Irish milliner Philip Treacy, who had decided against staging a catwalk presentation in London in favour of showing his wares in New York next week.

In a shocking twist, however, Treacy learned that he has now lost out on his slot at New York Fashion Week, which has instead gone to Los Angeles-based designer Jeremy Scott.

The Galway-born designer's scheduled show, which was booked over a month ago, was to be one of the highlights of New York this season, due to take place at Times Square.

According to organisers of Fashion Week, the removal of Treacy from the New York schedule was an error and although the designer had been offered an alternative placement, he refused to accept the new time slot.

Meanwhile, on the catwalks of London, the darling of British fashion Sir Paul Smith wowed his audience which included famed Vogue editor Anna Wintour with a wonderfully vibrant collection of silk georgette and antique muslin.

Focusing on soft pastels, Smith also sent a compelling range of leather trousers in dusty pink and black down the catwalk. Loud stripes and garden prints were also dominant in this particular show. Earlier yesterday, Jasper Conran injected a little love into his show which proved a veritable kaleidoscope of summery colours.

Hanging baskets of pink flowers interwoven with fairy lights hung directly over the heads of those in the front row, who included camp TV personality Julian Cleary, Normandie Keith and supermodel Elle McPherson. Sending both male and female models down the catwalk, Conran opted for waisted strappy dresses, white linen suits, polka dot cashmeres and chiffon cocktail dresses.

As the VIP set made their way backstage to greet the designer following the show, one senior editor from an American glossy caused panic when she tripped over a security officer at the backstage entrance. "I'm alright. I was just coming back to say we've had a wonderful time, darling, but could you please call the undertaker?" she laughed as the designer looked on in amusement.

Speaking about the collection, Conran suggested that next season's range will be a lot more girly.

"We've gone for the sexy look. The Conran woman is confident and she wants to move on from suiting," he explained. Opening yesterday's series of catwalk shows, Tracey Boyd lifted the lid on a pandora's box of mixed up glamour quite literally.

The wild, weird and wonderful all collided on Boyd's catwalk in Chelsea, as floral chiffons and twisted cheesecloth quickly caught the attention of the fashion pack.

School-style skirts and hard leather adornments outlined her move from the naive to submersive. Continuing the Irish interest in London this season, Dublin-based designer John Rocha, who is currently celebrating 21 years in the industry, today hosts his show at the Royal Albert Hall.

Irish designer Pauric Sweeney, meanwhile, will present his new collection tomorrow in Chelsea.

London Fashion Week concludes on Monday evening .

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