Feb 19, 2012
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Westwood, Paul Smith show ladylike fashion in London

Feb 19, 2012

Confident, sexy women with an eye for chic but comfortable clothes were the target audience of catwalk shows by British designers Vivienne Westwood and Paul Smith at London Fashion Week on Sunday.

A model presents a creation by British designer Vivienne Westwood (Photo: AFP, Carl Court)

Presenting her Red Label under giant crystal chandeliers, marble pillars and gilded mirrors in an east London hall, Westwood simplified her signature draped dresses to create feminine and eminently wearable dresses in purples and greys.

There were capes, bow-front blouses, flared skirts and cardigans in muted colours and her favoured tartan prints, interspersed with flashes of colour from orange tights, a green trilby hat with a bow, or a red leather belt.

In a nod to her punk roots, Westwood also threw in a few leather jackets with wide lapels, a pair of ripped jeans and messy up-does akin to quiffs.

Speaking to reporters before the autumn/winter 2012 show at Goldsmith's Hall near St Paul's Cathedral, the 70-year-old was disparaging of modern fashion, saying people nowadays bought too many cheap, unoriginal clothes.

"People have never looked so ugly as they do today regarding their dress. We are so conformist, nobody is thinking. We are all sucking up stuff, we have been trained to be consumers and we are all consuming far too much," she said.

A creation by British designer Paul Smith (Photo: AFP, Leon Neal)

Westwood, a campaigner against climate change, added: "I'm talking about all this disposable crap. So I'm saying buy less, choose well, make it last. Everybody looks like clones and the only people you notice are my age."

Across town, Paul Smith showcased similarly classy but understated designs, this time with mannish trouser suits worn by models wearing oversized glasses and their hair in thrown-together low ponytails.

He used blocks of colour to vamp up otherwise simple outfits, from a blue woollen skirt with darker panelled sides worn with a jersey with a green body and blue arms, to trousers with one colour at the front, another at the back.

The palette was dominated by grey and aubergine, with a couple of outfits in blurred stripes of green or red, and a turquoise and black velvet jumpsuit.

The highlight of London Fashion Week has been a special collection by Stella McCartney, worn by a flash mob of dancers at a black-tie dinner on Saturday. Alexander McQueen's McQ line also makes its eagerly awaited debut on Monday.

by Alice Ritchie

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