London designers look to botany, nature for inspiration

By Li-mei Hoang

By Li-mei Hoang LONDON (Reuters) - Britain's established designers took to the stage on the fourth day of London Fashion Week on Monday to showcase their latest collections featuring tulle dresses, sequined tops and sheer floor length gowns. Burberry, which is celebrating its 100th anniversary of its iconic trench coat, sent models down the runway in a riot of bright colors and prints inspired by the British countryside, book covers and all things "contradictory". "We had been looking at this idea of the 'birds and the bees' and feeling very free," Burberry's Chief Creative and Chief Executive Officer Christopher Bailey told Reuters. "So it was this idea of these two contradictions but then I wanted it to also be about the joy of fashion and the joy of this industry," he said. "We did a lot of color, a lot of print." Models wore delicate bandaged tulle dresses in soft greens, pinks and yellows, paired with denim jackets. The British label's signature trench coat also featured bold abstract prints and were emblazoned with slogans such as "insects" and "flower". The nature reference also came through at designer Erdem Moralioglu's show, where models floated down the catwalk in sheer floor length gowns featuring intricate embroidery of tropical foliage and overlays of Victorian greenhouses. "The beginning of the show was the idea of this insular, Victorian study of botany, greenhouses and everything was very contained and architectural," Moralioglu told reporters backstage. The designer said he wanted to create a "lightness" to his latest collection, which also featured pencil skirts adorned in feathers, loose broderie anglaise tops and skirts and figure-hugging crochet dresses. "Erdem took us on a little bit of a jungle jaunt with beautiful re-embroidered lace and lovely little palm fronds that had a tropical but very sophisticated point of view," said Ken Downing, fashion director at U.S. luxury department store chain Neiman Marcus. American designer Tom Ford, who live-streamed his show for the first time, ended the day with a dazzling array of skintight outfits including sequined tops paired with bell bottoms, dresses with mesh cut-out detailing and fringed leather jackets and skirts. London Fashion Week runs until Sept. 16. (Reporting by Li-mei Hoang; Editing by Tom Heneghan)