A Fashion Statement of Sorts

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From the Associated Press

London Fashion Week went ahead this week despite the devastating attacks in the U.S., with organizers saying it was important not to allow terrorists to dictate the agenda.

All parties were canceled, and proceeds from the final gala will go to U.S. relief efforts, according to Nicholas Coleridge, chairman of the British Fashion Council, which organized the event.

“The designers were actually determined to go on. They felt they owed it to their teams,” Coleridge said at the start of the six-day event Monday. “Fashion is Britain’s sixth-biggest industry. We can’t walk away from it; the show just has to go on.”


Nevertheless, designers Paul Smith, Burberry, Justin Oh, Clements Ribeiro, Katharine Hamnett and Nicole Farhi all withdrew from the event. Most said the disruption in transatlantic flights had left many models and stylists stranded in the U.S. But Smith and Hamnett said they felt it would be inappropriate to show at this time.

Many American buyers did not make the journey, but are being represented by their London agents.

Before the week’s first show, by designer Ronit Zilkha, the audience observed a minute’s silence for the victims of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. Collections were taken for U.S. relief efforts.

In all, 61 out of 67 designers went ahead with catwalk shows. London’s vision for spring and summer of 2002 is delicate and feminine. The city’s new fashion darling, Hamish Morrow, offered a white collection. Jasper Conran showed variations of the little black dress and a daring combination of prints.

Zilkha showed sunflower prints and delicate chiffons, and Tristan Webber adopted a “Midsummer Night’s Dream” theme that featured pastel printed leather. Gharani Strok, the design duo of Nargess Gharani and Vanja Strok, showed caftan-style and crocheted dresses over tiny bikini bottoms.

Last year, the British garment industry produced almost $10 billion worth of goods. Between them, the garment and textile industries produced $20 billion in goods.


Garments and textiles are Britain’s ninth-largest export, larger than food, alcohol, tobacco and vehicles combined.