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London kicks it off with a smile

London Fashion Week opened on Friday with a rare thing — a model who actually smiled on the catwalk.

fashion and trends Updated: Feb 20, 2011 01:51 IST

London Fashion Week opened on Friday with a rare thing — a model who actually smiled on the catwalk. The smile at the start of the Paul Costelloe show that opened London Fashion Week set a positive tone as Costelloe’s show featured upbeat, cheerful outfits that will comprise his autumn and winter collection. The usually stern and expressionless models seemed to be enjoying the ensembles.

The fashion crowd popped its first bottles of champagne just after 9:45 am. Samantha Cameron, the British prime minister’s wife, and Harold Tillman, chairman of the British Fashion Council, got the festivities going with welcoming speeches that emphasised the role fashion plays in Britain’s economy.

“Fashion is one of our most important industries, full stop,” said Cameron, wearing an elegant black outfit. “It brings about 20 billion pounds ($32 billion) a year to our country, and it sends a positive message about British creativity.”

Cameron was debuting in her role as a Fashion Week ambassador. She is expected to attend several shows in the next five days amid a packed schedule that includes Burberry Prorsum, Vivienne Westwood, Issa of London, Paul Smith and other fashion icons. “We feel very upbeat and excited, but we are all suffering along with others because of the cuts the government has made,” Tillman said. He said the fashion council is working with city officials and private sponsors to try and expand the program, despite the financial austerity in Britain.

He said registration for the London Fashion Week has increased and international buyers are playing an increasingly important role. If Costelloe’s show is an early indication, the financial crunch should not have a negative impact on the mood and styles. His show was more colourful than in recent years, and seemed to be a relaxed celebration. Outfits featured various shades of green and bright prints.