London Fashion Week: Report - Saturday 21 February



Faces look surprisingly tired already. Only the supply of Sugar-Free Red Bull in the BFC Media Lounge can save the day now. The morning started with the British Council Young Entrepreneur of the Year Awards, which saw Hilary Alexander honour Simeon Hartwig of the company Bantum.

This, in turn, saw a slightly intoxicated Hartwig thank his mum and dad and drop the c-bomb in his acceptance speech. Those drinking champers at 11.45 a.m. didn't seem to mind.

Veteran designer John Rocha followed with a collection heavy on full-skirted, ruffled dresses, which he told me backstage were inspired by Cate Blanchett in the film Elizabeth. Lots of black, lots of layers, lots of fur for men and women: these were the things that kept Rocha ticking this season.

Thank heavens for Qasimi, which not only chose a beautiful church for its venue but also had the heart to give a bit of swag. This included a leather-bound notepad, chocolate truffles and a designer bottle of water that some frumpy thing on the Tube later loudly suggested was a bottle of Absolut, as I took a swig.

As for the clothes, picture gothic ruffles with rich leather (eel and python), fur, headwear the size of a table and more Harry Winstons than you could shake a diamond stick at.

Finally, someone oversteps the dreaded recession.

Plus, designers Khaled bin Sultan al Qasimi and Elliott J Frieze wrangled Erin O'Connor, Lily Cole, Yasmin Le Bon (Simon watched with a smile), Jasmine Guinness, Jaquetta Wheeler and '50s model Carmen dell'Orifice to the catwalk.

Basso & Brooke weren't to be upstaged, with Stephen Jones providing hats for their show, but the biggest shock of the day was seeing Kanye West roll in to the Peter Jensen and Ann-Sofie Back shows with new girl Amber Rose and an abbreviated posse.

Jensen went for fair-isle, pale shades, jumpers and netting for his take on the runway, and Back channelled horror movies with zombie-eyed models, a few random accents of dreamcatchers and one oversized sweatshirt with the word 'Boo!' emblazoned in a bloody font. Creepy.

All this, combined with an impeccable-looking-as-always Jourdan Dunn at Vivienne Westwood Red Label and neon-infused grunge at Horace (at the Vauxhall Fashion Scout venue) spelled a more intriguing - if infinitely longer - second day of shows.

- Jill Hilbrenner








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