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Tuesday, September 29, 1998 Published at 13:20 GMT 14:20 UK


Painting the show pink

Lolita meets Latino at Fashion Week

New York designer Betsey Johnson made her mark on London Fashion Week on Monday, painting the show tent pink.

The penultimate night of London's biggest fashion event saw the 56-year-old designer's theme of "I love being a girl" achieved in glorious technicolour.

Set designers worked through the night to metamorphose the plain venue interior into a hot fuschia canvas catwalk. It was hailed as a perfect backdrop for Ms Johnson's Lolita-meets-Latino look. Ms Johnson cartwheeled down the catwalk to an appreciative audience.

[ image: Hot and steamy in fuschia]
Hot and steamy in fuschia
Her collection comprised of steamy tutus with billowing petticoats, combined with sexy bodices and dramatic fish-tail dresses.

Despite being relatively unknown in this country Johnson's creations have been spotted on the rock and pop community for over three decades including Velvet Underground and the Andy Warhol clique in the 60s.

Star spotting

[ image: Posh Spice and David Beckham checking out trends]
Posh Spice and David Beckham checking out trends
London Fashion Week has drawn celebrities both on and off the catwalk.

Fashion-conscious stars who graced this year's shows include Noel Gallagher's wife Meg Mathews, singer Mick Hucknall, former TV presenter Paula Yates, Victoria Adams (Posh Spice) and her footballer fiancé David Beckham.

On Monday evening, Baby Spice was seen at the Copperwheat Blundell show wearing a blue silk trouser suit with a pink top.

[ image: Baby Spice getting inspiration]
Baby Spice getting inspiration
The Blundell creations included a number of see-through outfits which could have provided inspiration for Baby Spice's new mature look.

Jade Jagger, was also spotted in the front row of Matthew Williamson's show. She had helped organise the extravaganza and with Williamson she had managed to attract the biggest catwalk star of the week - Helena Christensen, who opened and closed the show at London's Smithfield Market.

The designer achieved his 'Disco Zen' look with brilliant colours of fuschia, turqoise and violet woven into embroidered details on white tulle dresses and cropped trousers accompanied with spangled, sequinned tops and bustiers.

[ image: Jodie Kidd modelling Bella Freud's sharp suits]
Jodie Kidd modelling Bella Freud's sharp suits
Jodie Kidd modelled some of British designer Bella Freud's creations. Tailored suits conjured up images of the 80s with a crisp modern edge.

Ms Freud's inspiration was drawn from the model and singer Grace Jones and from trouser suits worn by ex-model Bianca Jagger.

London Fashion week draws to a close on Tuesday with a provocative show by British fashion's enfant terrible Andrew Groves. He plans to use uncoventional fabrics such as surgical latex.

A handful of other designers including Michiko Koshino, Amaya Arzuaga and Paul Frith are also showing their designs.

Reflecting on London Fashion week Chairman of the British Fashion Council John Hoerner said:

"We are very pleased with the success of this season. We have seen some excellent shows which have delighted the press and buyers - everyone has commented on how British talent has successfully married catwalk spectacle with wearability."

Commitment to fashion

The event has grown since its humble beginnings when there were just 15 exhibitors back in 1993 to more than 140 this year.

London continues to support the £16bn fashion industry with the first British Fashion Designer Conference to be held there on November 25, backed by the British Fashion Council and the government.

"What makes London fashion so successful is its ability to successfully deliver the unexpected" said the council's chairman, Jack Hoerner.

The conference will focus on designers' access to finance and strengthening relations with manufacturers in developing new products.

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