London swaps the running track for the catwalk

Associated Press Modified: September 14, 2012 at 1:01 pm •  Published: September 14, 2012
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LONDON (AP) — London turned its attention from the Olympics to the catwalk Friday as fashion designers, buyers and journalists flooded into the British capital for the spring 2013 previews.

Organizers hoped the London Fashion Week extravaganza, which features more than 60 runway shows, can build on the buzz generated by the Olympics.

"This summer has shown London in its best light, highlighting the city's creativity and unique DNA," said Caroline Rush, chief executive of the British Fashion Council. "September is set to be an extremely exciting season in what has been an amazing year for the U.K."

Theatrical hats, crazy heels and bright red lipsticks were out in full force at the first previews, which included shows by veteran designer Caroline Charles, Bora Aksu and Australian label sass and bide.

London Fashion Week is a more eclectic affair than its cousins in New York, Milan and Paris, featuring celebrity-studded shows by seasoned big names like Burberry and Vivienne Westwood as well as a crop of younger designers, including Christopher Kane, Jonathan Saunders, Mary Katrantzou and Roksanda Illincic.

"London is a melting pot of design talent and 2012 feels like a very exciting time to be showing in the city," said Ruth Chapman, co-founder of Matches, a high-end British fashion retailer.

British fashion was a talking point even before the Olympics, when Stella McCartney designed the Olympic uniforms for Team GB (Great Britain) — a minimalistic reimagining of the Union Jack. Other British designers including Alexander McQueen and Victoria Beckham received a tribute at the closing ceremony for the London Games.

One of this season's most keenly watched catwalks will be a comeback show by Philip Treacy, the celebrity milliner. Treacy, who has made fanciful hats for Sarah Jessica Parker, Madonna, Lady Gaga and Britain's royals, is returning for the first time in almost a decade.

Also returning to London is Preen, a popular British label that has shown successfully in New York for the past six years.  

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