LONDON (AP) ― Royal bride-to-be Kate Middleton’s favorite designer Issa London was basking in the spotlight Saturday on the second day of London Fashion Week.
The label was showing its new collection, with interest at fever pitch ever since Middleton announced her engagement to Prince William wearing one of its slinky silk dresses.
The U.K.-based label, Middleton’s go-to choice for grown-up, ladylike outfits, is overshadowing such better-known designers as Daks, Jaeger and Jonathan Saunders, who are also showcasing their autumn and winter collections Saturday.
Although Issa also counts Madonna, Scarlett Johansson and Princess Beatrice among its fans, the worldwide fascination with Middleton’s style has propelled it overnight from relative obscurity to a household name ― at least in Britain ― triggering a welcome sales surge and numerous knockoffs of the engagement frock.
A model presents a creation by fashion designer Kinder Aggugini for the Autumn/Winter 2011 collection, on the second day of the London Fashion Week in London, on Feb. 19. (AFP-Yonhap News)
Speculation has been rife that Daniella Issa Helayel, the Brazilian-born designer behind the Issa label, may even design Middleton’s dress for her wedding on April 29. While that isn’t considered likely ― as Issa has not made wedding gowns before ― the rumors are enough to make the label’s show one of the week’s hottest tickets.
British bookmakers consider Bruce Oldfield the leading contender to create Middleton’s wedding gown.
Other designers presenting their collections Saturday included Kinder Agguguni, John Rochas and Clements Ribeiro.
Aggugini shunned the glitz of fashion week headquarters Somerset House, opting to host his show at a tiny showroom in central London.
Models walked a zigzag path that worked around the seated guests, showing off a series of highly structured wool coats ― some with abstract flower-shaped cut outs ― over dark skinny jeans and short pencil skirts.
Black and cream cashmere wools dominated, punctuated by scarlet, mustard yellow and a summery white and pink floral printed silk that was used in dresses ― and surprisingly, in a thick parka.
Aggugini said a key look was his geometric, cape-like coats with cropped balloon sleeves and claimed the collection was an arty mix of ’50s French couture and ‘80s Japanese conceptual fashion, inspired by the style of art collector Peggy Guggenheim.
“Fashion needs to be hand-finished, it needs to be special” to differentiate from the designer copycat looks churned out by high street shops, he said.