The Best of London Fashion Week

From Vivienne Westwood's new jewelry line to Tom Ford's top-secret fall 2011 preview there was a lot of excitement in London for the Fall 2011 shows. Here are the highlights.

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Burberry Prorsum not only had a standout show this season -- think mod coats and Jean Shrimpton references -- the brand continued to lead the fashion pack with its use of social media. Its fall 2011 runway show was livestreamed in Piccadilly Circus (London's equivalent of Times Square) and in Burberry stores in 19 countries. For one week following the show shoppers will be able to purchase the collection on Burberry.com.
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Vivienne Westwood launched a jewelry collection during London Fashion Week in conjunction with Palladium Alliance International. The pieces are made entirely using Palladium (a rare silvery white metal) and are inscribed with messages from Westwood's eco-conscious spring 2010 collection. The line will be available to order beginning this spring.
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Leave it to Tom Ford to make news with his Fall 2011 women's collection when no one is even allowed to talk about the clothes. Ford asked guests of his fall 2011 two-day preview to sign a non-disclosure agreement preventing them from talking about the collection till the summer.
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If there is one label to watch out of London this season it is Meadham Kirchhoff. Ben Kirchhoff and Ed Meadham did a unique take on school uniforms for fall 2011. There were references to Chanel, Salem witches and peasant looks. What it boiled down to ultimately was really cool clothes in red, white and black.
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Mulberry is emerging as one of the hottest accessories brands around. While the brand usually stages a presentation in New York, and a party in London, this season the label decamped to London entirely. The show boasted an impressive front row that included Kirsten Dunst, Gemma Arterton and Clemence Poesy.
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Young designers in New York have the opportunity for their shows to be sponsored by MAC Cosmetics and Milk Studios. Young designers in London have Topshop. The Topshop Show Space, which this season was located at Billingsgate Market, sponsors a range of rising talents each season. Those who made the cut this season included Michael van der Ham, Mary Katrantzou and Peter Pilotto.
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Step aside Michelle Obama, there is another first lady with a keen interest in fashion: Britain's Samantha Cameron. Cameron hosted a reception at 10 Downing Street for London Fashion Week (wearing a Christopher Kane skirt) with guests like Preen's Justin Thornton and Thea Bregazzi and Roksanda Illincic. Cameron then took in a couple of shows including Burberry and teamed up with Anna Wintour to preview the Alexander McQueen retrospective, which will go on display at the Costume Institute in New York in May.
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Call it the Kate Middleton effect, but Issa and its designer Daniella Issa Halayel are getting an awful lot of attention this season. There was a 1970s vibe to the fall 2011 collection and veteran models Andrea Dellal and Yasmin Le Bon (both 46) closed the show.
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Shoe designer Charlotte Olympia Dellal presented her fall 2011 collection with a three-minute short film entitled "To Die For." English model Portia Freeman plays the lead in the film inspired by Agatha Christie novels.
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Christopher Kane pushed the boundaries this season with an unusually minimalist collection. The designer also announced that he is launching a capsule collection with J Brand jeans, which will be part of his resort 2012 collection.
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Mary Katrantzou has garnered a reputation on the London fashion scene as the city's master of prints. One season her print of choice was perfume bottles, another season it was hotel rooms and this season she was inspired by Fabergé eggs.
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British designer Alice Temperley has showed her collection in New York for the past four seasons, but she went back to her home turf of London to show her 10th anniversary collection at the British Museum. The collection took its cues from Victoriana and Venetian fans.
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Shoe designer Nicholas Kirkwood collaborated with 15 designers this season on their shoes including Rodarte and Peter Pilotto, but perhaps his romantic velvet pumps for Erdem's fall 2011 show were his best. Expect these to be a big seller come fall.
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The one-year anniversary of Alexander McQueen's death landed on February 11th, and on February 22nd Samantha Cameron, Anna Wintour, Sarah Burton (now Creative Director of McQueen) and Stella McCartney came together at London's Ritz Hotel to announce the upcoming retrospective, Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty, landing at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in May. Six McQueen designs were on display at the preview event.
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