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September 19, 2009

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Wintour adds glamor to fashion event

LOOK out London, Anna Wintour is coming.

The only fashion editor so famous she's been portrayed in two separate movies (one fictionalized, one documentary) is giving London Fashion Week a boost as it opened yesterday in its new home, the venerable Somerset House on the River Thames.

The presence of the intimidating, influential editor of Vogue is one more sign that British designers are gaining respect in the fashionista universe, even if London's fashion shows have traditionally gotten less attention than those in Paris, Milan and New York. Wintour is returning to London Fashion Week after a two-year hiatus.

The British Fashion Council lured several top designers back, creating anticipation for the 25th anniversary edition of London Fashion Week.

The September 18-23 extravaganza boasts some of fashion's biggest names, including Vivienne Westwood, always good for shock value; Stella McCartney, showing her adidas line; and Christopher Kane, a Wintour favorite who has a rock chick following.

"This is a massive season for London Fashion Week," said Alice Olins, fashion writer for The Times of London. "Suddenly there is great excitement because this season we really do have the shows, putting us right up there with Paris and New York."

She cited Burberry, Pringle of Scotland, Clements Ribeiro, Antonio Berardi, Jonathan Saunders, and Matthew Williamson as stalwarts returning to London catwalks.

"Those are really big names coming back after a long absence," she said. "Having them means the buyers and models and journalists will follow."

Olins also has high expectations for Somerset House, a neoclassical building dating back to 1547.

"This feels right, it feels permanent," she said. "It's iconic."


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