London Fashion Week opens with range of styles

LONDON (AP) — Bye for now New York, hello London: Spring womenswear previews opened at London Fashion Week Friday, as fashion editors, buyers and models fresh off the plane from the other side of the Atlantic kicked off a whirlwind series of catwalk shows in the British capital.

It’s too early to pick up any themes for the new season, and London, perhaps more so than the other fashion capitals, always offers up a good mix of different styles. On Friday there were classic, elegant and commercially safe outfits as well as edgy tough-girl chic, monochrome as well as pastels, and tailoring side by side with loose, flowing shapes.

Turkish designer Bora Aksu, the first to show over the 5-day event, started things off on a bright, cheerful note with a collection of sweet, doll-like dresses and skirts in lemon yellows, blues and bright pinks.

It looks like pink, now everywhere in shops for the autumn and winter season, could migrate to the next season. Later on in the day Jean-Pierre Braganza took the idea of girly innocence and gave it a tough, sexy twist, mixing up cotton-candy pinks with revealing styles and his signature asymmetrical hems.

Ladylike full skirts, too, seem to be here to stay for at least a while, as seen at Jasper Conran, who paired them with neat starched white collars, stripes or sheer organza overlays.

London Fashion Week, which came hot on the heels of its sister event in New York, will feature 58 catwalk shows in all, including Burberry, Vivienne Westwood, Julien MacDonald and Stella McCartney. It will be followed next week by shows in Milan and Paris.

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BORA AKSU

London was awash in rain Friday, but within the comforts of his catwalk show space Aksu evoked sunnier climes and exotic Aegean holidays.

Aksu’s catwalk show was an ode to his homeland, Turkey, featuring rich hand-woven textiles, ethnic embroidery and tassels. The preview opened with a series of white dresses, pencil skirts and shorts ensembles that focused on the clothes’ textures: thick quilted cottons, crochets and laces, layered with wispy chiffons and tulles.

The silhouettes and many of the details were sweet and girly, with high collars, frills, puffy Victorian sleeves, tiered peasant skirts and flouncy shapes that hide the curves — though a cropped, boxy jacket here and there kept things from being too saccharine.

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JEAN-PIERRE BRAGANZA

The Canadian-born Braganza’s spring womenswear preview is inspired by the “contradiction of femininity,” and his opening outfit tells you what this is all about: a satin dress suit with a businesslike blazer and a flirty mini skater skirt, in bold blocks of black, white and pale pink.

Braganza takes that interplay between sweetness and toughness further as his collection unfolds. The same baby pink reappears as dresses in his signature draped silhouette, tops and skirts with high-low hems and low-slung shorts. There’s quite a lot of skin on show, whether through cutouts at the back or an asymmetrical hem that ends high at the thigh.

There are urban styles like a sporty, oversized tops and a sleeveless biker jacket in cracked leather, but also surprisingly elegant and easy to wear blouse and pencil skirt ensembles thrown in the mix.

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JASPER CONRAN

It’s all about big stripes and pretty, unfussy sun dresses at Conran’s spring catwalk.

They’re horizontal and vertical, wide and thin, sometimes put together in the same outfit. But they are far from jarring, thanks to the muted colors and neat, clean lines of the clothes.

Cotton and linen skirts were full, sometimes belted or pleated, but always hit just below the knee. That prettiness is topped with white floral lace, applique flowers and a starched white collar that appeared on pretty much everything. Long flowing kaftans with softly colored prints finished off the show.

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