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The catwalk show-stoppers
7:00am Saturday 2nd March 2013 in Lifestyle
The leading designers have unveiled their statement looks for next season. Lisa Haynes reports from the front row at London Fashion Week.
By Lisa Haynes
In a whirlwind five days of high fashion, high heels and high drama, London Fashion Week secured the city's position as one of the most exciting style capitals in the world.
Showcasing upcoming autumn/winter 13 collections, this February proved to be a bit of a blockbuster season.
Victoria Beckham jetted in to judge the International Woolmark Prize alongside Donatella Versace and Diane von Furstenberg; celebrity designer Tom Ford staged his womenswear catwalk for the first time in London, and Rihanna created a buzz with her debut fashion collection for River Island.
Its eclectic mix of British style puts London head and shoulders above New York, Milan and Paris.
Long-established brand heavyweights such as Burberry, Mulberry and Vivienne Westwood sit on the catwalk schedule alongside edgier designer darlings like Christopher Kane, Mary Katrantzou and Erdem.
Take your front row seat for a whistlestop tour of the catwalk action.
The frow stopper Photographers went wild for Tom Ford's front row VIPs. Newlyweds Justin Timberlake and Jessica Biel took time out from Hollywood red carpets for the designer's womenswear London debut. The dapper couple declared the collection "phenomenal - the beading was beautiful and the gowns were amazing!"
Stand by to see Biel working one of Ford's glamorous floor-length dresses, detailed with Lichtenstein-inspired pop art embellishment - made for paparazzi flash bulbs.
The model of the moment Stand aside Kate Moss, there's a new British supermodel in town. Crowned 'model of the year' at the 2012 British Fashion Awards, Cara Delevingne lived up to her title, strutting her stuff at eight major London Fashion Week shows. Best pal singer Rita Ora even sported a 'Queen Delevingne' t-shirt for the 20-year-old's appearance at Burberry. Defined by her caterpillar eyebrows, the hottest property in planet fashion is set to become a household name. Watch this face.
The fashion pooch Well-groomed with a unique runway walk - on four legs - Max the model poodle made a waggy-tailed turn on Mulberry's catwalk. Delighting catwalk guests, including brand ambassadors Lana del Ray and Alexa Chung, Max made two appearances trotting out in a heritage check coat and fetching yellow butterfly print that co-ordinated with the model's trousers. The pedigree pooch will have felt right at home roaming around Mulberry's rural English landscape theme.
The coat What to wear when the entire fashion industry's eyes are focused on you? US Vogue editor Anna Wintour plumped for a statement Prada white daisy applique black coat. Style's equivalent of royalty made her first appearance on day three of London Fashion Week, bringing some flower power to the occasion with a matching dress. Twitter went bonkers and a flurry of fashion editors pulled the same coat out of the closet to wear the very next day.
The new recruit Forget autumn/winter 13. Rihanna leap-frogged the designers' way of doing things by showing a collection launching this March for River Island. In a dark, warehouse-style venue, the singer-turned-designer threw one big party for the fashion pack for day three's Saturday night. There was no impromptu gig or modelling walk but, wearing a simple black dress from the line, Rihanna took to the catwalk podium to take a bow.
The glitz A 3pm afternoon show didn't stop Julien Macdonald putting on a razzle-dazzle 'em fashion fanfare, watched by girl band The Saturdays. After a one-year hiatus from the Fashion Week calendar, the designer came back with a bang to showcase his 'Viva Las Vegas' collection, christening each look with names like Black Jack, Casino Royale and Lady Luck. He piled on the showgirl glamour, with sequins, rhinestones, feathers and tassels galore shimmying down the catwalk, culminating in gold confetti showering the audience for the finale.
The romantic It was a belated Valentine's special from Burberry Prorsum with the heartfelt 'Trench Kisses' collection. Heart motifs made their cheeky entrance in the form of big panties peeking from sheer latex coats and skirts, before appearing again printed on the brand's trademark trenches. The fashion love-in continued with evening wear dresses featuring statement heart metal embellishment. Chief creative officer Christopher Bailey brought the show (and romance) to a close, serenading his captive audience with a live performance by musician Tom Odell.
The classic There are some trends that never date: monochrome, animal print and girly pink. Moschino Cheap & Chic took all three themes and reinvented them with a modern, punky twist. There was a dash of rebellion with bold graffiti, oversized silhouettes and statement question mark motifs. But being an Italian label, this was a Milanese style of polished punk. Models shoes were stompy but the heels were mirrored - handy for re-applications of the statement black lipstick.
The eclectic Christopher Kane experienced a brainwave for his extensive 60-look collection, exploring not one theme but several. A brain exploding and fizzing with creativity was the linchpin holding all the strands together, with a show that began with tough coloured camouflage and finished with glam multicoloured beaded panelling. In between, Kane enthralled with cut-out gothic velvet, appliqued 3D blooms, feather-trim fancies and those symbolic statement bright brain scan motifs. It's the work of a design genius.
The snowstorm The Matthew Williamson girl practically has a one-way ticket around the world, she's so well-travelled. This season the designer sent his English rose packing to the Northern Lights, bypassing his trademark floaty boho Ibiza silhouettes for clean lines and structured shapes. The location inspiration still allowed for lots of opulent colour with multi-coloured blanket wools and digitally printed snowscapes featuring acid green-lit skies. Following a sequence of sequinned evening gowns in pewter and sulphur yellow, a catwalk snowstorm completed the dreamy Royal Opera House scene.
The rainbow Jasper Conran painted the catwalk red, quite literally, with a lacquered runway to showcase his eye-popping collection of brights. Sixties icon Mia Farrow may have been the muse for the silhouette but this was all about colour with the designer clashing together a fiery palette of hot pinks, reds, oranges and yellows. And the accessory for autumn/winter 13? Many of the models peeked out from beneath bell-shaped, soft cloche hats in similarly bright shades that battled for attention with their bold lipstick.
The landscaper Less colour, more monochrome for Mary Katrantzou. The queen of prints turned her focus to pattern with intricate knits, embroideries, jacquards and brocades engineered to resemble landscapes and shadowy vistas. Even lace was woven to mimic a latticed bridge design on a tailored suit. For evening wear, the shapes became more exaggerated, featuring black and white digital prints of bleak winter scenes on billowing, flowing organza.
Get the look Singer Rita Ora isn't afraid to work tailoring at a gig for Muse's O2 War Child concert. Smarten up your act with Topshop's puppytooth trousers, £40 (www.topshop.com).
Buy it now Time for a Diet Coke break, designer style. New creative director Marc Jacobs celebrates the brand's 30th anniversary with a stylish makeover. The limited edition fashion cans are available nationwide from February 25, priced around 59p each.
Fashion flash :: Best of British High street giant Marks & Spencer has become BFFs (best fashion friends) with the British Fashion Council. The exclusive three-year 'Best of British' partnership will celebrate home-grown talent and sustainability. Two capsule clothing collections for men and women will be launched in stores and online this autumn to mark the initiative.
:: Shoe obsession Are you a self-confessed heeloholic? UK women spent more than £3 billion on shoes last year but leave two thirds of their collection of heels, boots and sandals in the wardrobe, according to new research by car insurance specialist Diamond. The average woman owns 19 pairs of shoes but regularly wears just seven of them, and one in eight confess to arguing with their partner about their extensive collection.