LONDON (AP) – Haute couture met red carpet glamour as London Fashion Week kicked off with movie star style Sunday.

Flamboyant Welsh designer Julien Macdonald’s autumn/winter offerings were the highlight of the first day of London fashion shows, revealing a collection featuring fur and crystals.

But the dress that stole Macdonald’s show had already had its first outing – on the British Academy Film Awards red carpet the previous evening.

Hollywood actress Juliette Lewis wore the Bordeaux red silk georgette gown with a bird of paradise feather train to Saturday’s glitzy awards ceremony at London’s Leicester Square.

The gown, shimmering in Swarovski crystals and valued at $46,708, was a signature piece of Macdonald’s catwalk show.

Other celebrities who joined Lewis, dressed in a Macdonald-designed three-piece suit, in the audience at his show included model-actress Rachel Hunter, singer Sophie Ellis-Bextor, underwear model and reality television star Caprice, celebrity chef Jamie Oliver’s wife Jools and artist Tracey Emin.

Danish designer Camilla Staerk showed her first ever menswear collection, inspired by broody Australian rock star Nick Cave.

The range of black and dark blue tailored suits were offset with narrow shirts and skinny silk ties.

Staerk’s womenswear was inspired by the French movie “La Maitresse,” about a woman who leads a double life as a dominatrix.

She sent models down the catwalk in long sleeved lace 1940s style dresses, high waisted pencil skirts, cat suits in red and panther prints, cropped sweaters and punk-style puffball skirts.

Picking up where New York catwalk shows left off last week, London Fashion Week, which continues until Thursday, will feature 47 catwalk shows and is expected to attract 4,500 international buyers, fashion journalists and photographers.

The twice yearly London event is less about supermodels and big name labels and more about quirky, up-and-coming designers.

Organizers of the event, which has a new venue away from its previous address in the exclusive Chelsea neighborhood, are focusing this year on nurturing new talent and merging art with high-fashion.

They have commissioned controversial British artist Tracey Emin, famous for pieces that have included a dirty, unmade bed and a tent embroidered with the names of past lovers, to create an art installation – a neon pink sign forming the words “Kiss Me” – in a bid to expand the event beyond fashion.

Also included in the schedule is a New Generation program showcasing emerging designers.

In recent years established and such well known designers as Stella McCartney and Alexander McQueen have chosen to exhibit their wares on New York, Milan and Parisian catwalks.

One notable omission from this week’s schedule is design duo Boudicca, who decided to show at last week’s New York fashion week to garner exposure among an American audience.

“We chose New York because America is our largest market and it was one of the first to embrace the Boudicca label and we wont forget that,” designers Zowie Broach and Brian Kirkby said in a statement.

But fashion stalwarts including Nicole Farhi, Jasper Conran, Betty Jackson and Margaret Howell are still likely to capture buyers’ attention when they show their new ranges later this week.



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