The Wedding London Fashion

The Wedding London Fashion

London Fashion Week swung into action on its opening day yesterday by turning to three of the most established names on the British catwalk circuit.Paul Costelloe, the Irish master of tailoring and tweed, helped get proceedings under way.He was joined by Caroline Charles, who after 30 years is still transforming 40- and 50-something executive wives into exotic flowers, and Ben De Lisi, the American red-carpet specialist who dashed from his catwalk show to dress the actress Kate Winslet for her appearance at the Baftas.

De Lisi's show concentrated on glamour gowns in metallic lace, scarlet chiffon and pewter organza, designed both for the grand entrance and the dramatic exit.While plunging cleavage and draped décolletage demonstrated the full-frontal approach, waterfall cascades of ruffles and draped bias-cut trains gave emphasis to the rear view.Charles used exotic maharajah- and Manchu Dynasty-inspired embroidery to embellish high-collared jackets and bustiers, worn with narrow silk trousers or tiered skirts in black lace.Her five granddaughters, aged four to nine, made their catwalk debut in flower-girl dresses of gold and ivory organza to accompany the bride, who wore a black and gold, leopard-print lace wedding gown, with burnished gold organza train.

Costelloe took inspiration from his student years at the Chambre Syndicale in Paris to send out a 1960s-style collection that concentrated on A-line pinafores, suits and shifts, in Scottish tweeds and worsteds, trimmed with scarlet and gold silk brocade.He also revived the signature trapeze shape, in a gold, embossed linen dress.

The British Fashion Council, which organises the twice-yearly event, decided not to follow the lead of Madrid Fashion Week in banning stick-thin models, but asked designers to use only healthy-looking girls aged over 16 in their shows.Its chief executive, Hilary Riva, said: "Costelloe's collection has been a positive start to the week."

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