London fashion week: Stylish, glamorous, utterly bonkers

London's beautiful people will be spending most of the next week tearing from show to show, nursing fabulous party hangovers and trying to work out whether they should be saluting or sneering at the rubber gimp suit being paraded in front of them.

London's beautiful people will be spending most of the next week tearing from show to show, nursing fabulous party hangovers and trying to work out whether they should be saluting or sneering at the rubber gimp suit being paraded in front of them.

London Fashion Week is not for the easily exhausted. The shows are located in every crevice of the city (the more hip the designer, the more annoyingly random the venue) and the schedule always runs at least two hours behind. If the calendar weren't full enough, tonight is also the Baftas while Wednesday promises the rock and roll mayhem of the Brits. Get the Berocca ready, London's going to be non-stop glam for the next seven days.

Those who don't know their Balenciaga from their Bottega Veneta tend to mistakenly brand London Fashion Week as the dowdy cousin of Paris, Milan and New York. But while America might have the money, Italy the big names and France the haute couture, London is the launching pad for new designers. 'It's the creative kindergarten of the fashion world,' says Melanie Rickey, Grazia's fashion features editor.

And if the Eighties were about the New Romantics and the Nineties were defined by cool Britannia, the noughties are emerging as a cross between the two. Rickey refers to the trend as 'nu rave'. 'There's a young, vibrant energy' she says. 'Every decade has its moment and in London, it's now.' The US is clearly feeling the effect with a host of American fashion editors set to attend the shows. Anna Wintour, the most powerful woman in fashion, is reportedly flying in for private meetings with some of the key designers.So who should we be watching out for? The name on everyone's lips is that of 23-year-old Christopher Kane. After graduating from Central Saint Martin's a year ago, he's already bagged a position as design consultant for Donatella Versace while also finding time to create his own line, and his capsule collection for Topshop has just hit stores.

Another man who does a seriously hot frock is 29-year-old Mario Schwab. He won Best New Designer at November's British Fashion Awards and counts both Kate Moss and Kylie Minogue as fans. Meanwhile Duro Olowu's patchwork print silk dresses are fast becoming cult items.

Fashion week, of course, wouldn't be fashion week without some bonkers stuff going on. Gareth Pugh's clothes are about theatricality, not practicality. Think futuristic designs with a lot of latex. It's also important not to forget the designers who've helped to make the London fashion scene what it is. Paul Smith and Margaret Howell will both be showing and it's Jean Muir's final collection.

But the hottest ticket of the season is Marc Jacobs, who will be closing LFW with his Marc by Marc Jacobs show and having a very elite party 'with a few of his friends' in order to celebrate the opening of his first London store. The 2000 sq ft Mount Street premises will carry his his entire main line collection.

· Nicole Jackson is fashion assistant on Observer Woman Monthly


Nicole Jackson

The GuardianTramp

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