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Riot of styles as London Fashion Week heats up

London – A riot of colours, fabrics, prints and styles swept down the catwalk at London Fashion Week on Saturday, from Mark Fast’s tight knits to feminine dresses with a darker edge from Kinder Aggugini.

Fast opened the second day of this 25th anniversary event alongside Greece’s Mary Katrantzou in a showcase of some of the best of London’s new talent.

His intricate, sexy knits, this season in grey, beige, pink and black, have made Fast a favourite here — even if one fashion editor remarked that there was a little too much flesh on display for so early in the morning.

Excitement is building ahead of eagerly anticipated shows from returning stars Matthew Williamson and Antonio Berardi, Burberry and Pringle, after a mix of established and new talent kick-started the event on Friday.

A reception at Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s Downing Street home, hosted by his wife Sarah wearing a dress by Erdem, rounded off the first day after shows from Paul Costelloe, Caroline Charles, Emilio de la Morena and Eun Jeong.

Saturday saw shows by two of the hottest tickets in town, veteran "ghost" designer Aggugini and Charles Anastase, whose return to London from Paris one year ago caused a fanfare that has yet to die down.

Italy-born Aggugini worked for almost 20 years with Versace, John Galliano and Calvin Klein and although this is only his second solo show here, he has already built up a devoted following.

His spring/summer 2010 collection married feminine softness and light with a harder edge, taking its inspiration from the darker elements of fairytales and the subsequent loss of innocence that they bring.

"It’s that moment, when, as a child, you realise that the stories you were told begin to reveal a different meaning. You begin to understand there is a dark underlying strand and the naivety goes," he said.

Aggugini took children’s pretty dresses, opened them up at the seams and added darker, more textured fabrics before reconfiguring the outfits on a taller model — with spectacular results.

Anastase, meanwhile, delivered a more austere take on his ethereal and often nostalgic style, but the audience loved it.

He mixed fabrics and shapes, matching a black trench coat with a pale, ballooning tiered dress, as well as colours, laying an aubergine short tunic over a white t-shirt and with a bright red skirt.

The lines were a little softer at John Rocha, who was born in Hong Kong but has lived in Ireland for years and took that country’s Celtic jewellery and paintings by Irish-American abstract artist Sean Scully as his inspiration.

Using treated hand-knitted crochet and glazed silk georgette in a palette of tobacco, almond, egg blue, rose and pink, Rocha created sculpted silhouettes that contrasted with softer fabrics draped around the body.

In stark contrast to them all was rising star Danielle Scutt, who put on a typically confident show of punky, sexy clothes.

She laid sharply different prints next to each other on the fabric and added structure to skin-tight yellow and black dresses with leather-edged black lace draped around the body, to create highly covetable statement pieces.

Alice Ritchie/AFP/Expatica