Dark day in London as fashion mavens go for black

By Raphael Satter

Associated Press

Published: Saturday, Feb. 18 2012 10:56 a.m. MST

Models display creations by designer House of Holland during a fashion show at London Fashion Week, Saturday, Feb. 18, 2012.

Kirsty Wigglesworth, Associated Press

LONDON — It was a subdued Saturday on the British capital's catwalks as London Fashion Week designers opted for severe styles and dark palettes.

John Rocha draped his models in voluminous black dresses that clung to their bodies like trash bags. Jasper Conran showed off a set of austere-looking brown, bronze, and black creations that hearkened back to 1920s trench coats or even 19th-century bloomers. Even young designer Henry Holland — whose work tends to be quite eye-catching — went with patterned clothes mainly in blue, black or crimson.

Lucky there was Kinder Aggugini, whose big pink cowboy hats and super-sheer tops brought smiles to the crowd.

Rocha's billowing black womenswear was among the most original of the lot, although the work may not find much purchase outside the Goth community. Black lace, black leather-looking sleeves, black veils and webbed tops were in evidence, as well as what looked like furry black leg-warmers. Cutaways and veils added a touch of sex to the show, but some creations — like the Dublin-based designer's big rumpled greenish dress — looked as if their models had fallen into upscale supermarket sacks.

The super-short haircuts sported by Jasper Conran's models matched the severity of their clothes. Take out a sparkle here and hike up a top there and the dresses could easily have been worn into an office. A very strict office at that.

House of Holland kept its colors relatively conservative, although at least two models sported a striking all-red look. Another had an unambitious dark dress spiced up with bright red sleeves, while colorful zigzag patterns helped keep the show fun.

Aggugini went heavy on the sparkly, unveiling delicate prints and a kind of feminine cowboy motif.

There's expected to be plenty of sparkle Saturday night as well.

Tonight's hottest ticket is for English fashion alumna Stella McCartney's special show at London's Somerset House. Her return to the capital's catwalks is expected to draw a constellation of stars to the front row for the second day of Britain's weeklong fashion festivities.

The biannual bash features more than 100 shows. It's expected to generate orders in the region of 100 million pounds ($160 million.)

Gregory Katz contributed to this report.

Online:

London Fashion Week: http://www.londonfashionweek.co.uk/

Raphael Satter can be reached at: http://twitter.com/razhael

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