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Sep 21, 2009
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Williamson returns to fanfare in London

Sep 21, 2009

LONDON, Sept 20, 2009 (AFP) - British designer Matthew Williamson made his hotly-anticipated return to London Fashion Week on Sunday 20 September, injecting some serious glamour into the event as it celebrates its 25th anniversary.

Matthew Williamson

His spring/summer 2010 collection was typically colourful, ranging from grey to flourescent pink, and enhanced by intricate beading, metallic fabrics and shards of mirrors that created a strong, sexy, sophisticated look.

After years of showing in New York, the return of the Manchester-born designer has caused huge excitement here -- even if it is not yet clear if this heralds a new commitment to the city that made his name.

"It's great that he's coming back to London. I wish they would all come back to London, that's where they originated, that's where they trained," said his friend Twiggy, the model who became the face of the 1960s.

She told AFP before the show: "I love him, he's gorgeous. I think his clothes are wonderful because they are so feminine and I love his bright colours.

"Often fashion shows are all black and grey and cream, and then you come to Matthew and it's like, 'ooh!'."

Williamson is one of a number of big designers back for the 25th anniversary celebrations, including Antonio Berardi, Pringle of Scotland, Burberry Prorsum and Jonathan Saunders.

Their presence is a major boost for the six-day event, which has in the past struggled to make itself heard among the fashion week big guns of Paris, New York and Milan.

The past three days have seen some magical shows here, notably from Italian-born Kinder Aggugini, who built on years of designing for Versace, John Galliano and Calvin Klein to create a truly beautiful solo collection.

But the attraction of having a designer like Williamson, who counts Sienna Miller, Gwyneth Paltrow and Kate Moss among his clients, is undeniable.

And he did not disappoint on Sunday 20 September, kick-starting his show with a beaded metallic linen dress matched with a stone leather jacket, followed by a gold beaded jacket and high-waisted, metallic shorts.

The metallic theme dominated, with his crushed metallic skirts married with bodices adorned with shards of mirrors, and a crushed metallic parka over a silk chiffon shirt -- bold outfits for strong women.

And there were jewels everywhere, from black beaded hotpants paired with a brightly printed swimsuit to intricate green and stone beaded cocktail dresses, and a soft grey leather jacket with gold beads on the shoulders.

"I liked the way he moved forward from that sort of boho (bohemian, hippy) look to a much more body conscious, more sophisticated but still very sexy (look)," Hilary Alexander, fashion editor of the Daily Telegraph, told AFP.

"A lot of it was inspired by sea urchins, hence all that rather spiky embroidery. I thought the colour combinations were beautiful.

"But this is what we want from Matthew, we want colour and excitement -- and he never fails to deliver."

Williamson was in London in 2007 for a one-off show featuring a surprise performance by Prince to celebrate ten years since he set up his design house here. But for the past seven years, he has been a regular in New York.by Alice Ritchie

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