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Wednesday, September 30, 1998 Published at 16:25 GMT 17:25 UK


Final curtain for fashion

A Groves creation inspired by the movie Face Off

A naked model in a sheath dress of razor blades provided the shocking finale to London Fashion Week.

Designer Andrew Groves thrilled audiences with his show entitled Cocaine Nights. His inspiration came from the box-office hit thriller Face Off, a tale of a rogue who steals the face of an FBI agent.

In keeping with the plot his models appeared with flesh-coloured masks moulded to their faces covering their eyes and mouths while they paraded down the runway dressed in pure white creations.

The designer, famous for letting loose a swarm of files from a model's cloak and onto the catwalk, used particularly weird and wonderful materials for this show.

[ image: No insects in sight on Groves's catwalk]
No insects in sight on Groves's catwalk
Groves said he wanted to obliterate all straight lines and promised no insects or animals as seen in his previous shows.

Gauze and webbing were twisted into open jackets, tabard dresses held together with a rope-belt and wide-legged trousers, some in cream and white, others in vivid multi-coloured clown-like costumes.

The male models appeared with bruises on their necks, sweating torsos and hollow-looking eyes in Groves' attempt to resurrect drug chic.

[ image: White but no kagouls for men in '99]
White but no kagouls for men in '99
Other designers who closed fashion week were Paul Frith, the ex-royal marine who embarked on a career in fashion. His models were adorned in fake fur and see-through dresses. He managed to marry his masculine grey pinstripes with casual vividly coloured dresses throughout his show.

Modernity seemed to be the theme of both Amaya Arzuaga and Michiko Koshino who also held shows on the final day of London's biggest fashion extravaganza.

Arzuaga claimed her collection showed a "fresh way of dressing." Key pieces in the collection were platinum knit dresses with asymmetric necklines mixed with sheer panelling on cropped cardigans and boat necklines on tailored tops.

Koshino dressed her models in silver-crochet chain-mail dresses and jumpers and zipped jackets with hoods which came down over the face and masked their features.

Fashion hints for '99

[ image:  ]
" This was the best London Fashion Week ever, with a huge turnout of press and buyers," said The Mirror newspaper's Fashion Editor Ollie Pichton Jones.

If the designs staged at this year's shows are anything to go by the top features for spring and summer of 1999 will be wisps of muslin, gauze, parachute silk, zebra stripes, fuchsia, sequins, cashmere cardigans, crochet, clogs, long skirts, square necklines and asymmetric cuts.

Tickets most in demand were for old favourites Westwood, Alexander McQueen , Hussein Chalayan but newcomers Matthew Williamson and Anthony Symonds also drew in the crowds.

Ms Pichton Jones believes that the main trends to come out of Fashion Week were a return to femininity with double layers of chiffon, embroidered flowers, beading and frills.

Her hot fashion tip for summer '99 she says is gingham. "Chop up your tablecloth, gingham is back," she said.

[ image:  ]
For men the look is definitely urban sportswear says Nick Sullivan, Associate Fashion Editor for Arena magazine.

"There will be a lot of heavily researched materials which will be lightweight - thin knits, combat pants in thin cottons. Look out for velcro, drawstrings and functional pockets and there will be no ties in sight. Next year will definitely be interesting."

Susannah Frankel, Fashion Editor at the Guardian newspaper, was of the same mind. She felt that the designs at London Fashion Week were both competent and mature.

"Even the body of the outlandish designs of Alexander McQueen and Hussein Chalayan - two great designers - are wearable. If I was getting married I'd get married in Alexander McQueen's lace any day."

Going, going gone

Although Fashion Week officially ended on Tuesday events are open to the public until Saturday.

Each day there will be the Best of Summer '99 catwalk parade featuring designs by 20 top designers including Vivienne Westwood, Amanda Wakeley, Bella Freud, Jasper Conran, and Paul Smith.

A designer sale also open to fashion enthusiasts will coincide with the parade.

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