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02.27.09

London's New Look

At London Fashion Week, the biggest designers drew inspiration from space travel, tropical storms, and neon clubs. View our gallery of runway highlights.

London Fashion Week came to a close Wednesday, and featured truly memorable presentations from some of the UK’s top talents. From thunderstorms to the Big Bang Theory, London’s runways were replete with looks inspired by both Mother Nature and the great beyond—perhaps a nod to the economic meltdown wreaking havoc the world over, and other entities beyond our control. Space Age chic, transparency, and even a bit of DayGlo surfaced on the catwalks. Here are some of our favorite looks.

Wunderkind Henry Holland opened his Pantone-themed fall show with model and friend Agyness Deyn (it was the once-ubiquitous model’s sole Fashion Week appearance). What followed Deyn was a slew of striped color-block separates fashioned as suits for men and women, sheath dresses, fur, and matching tights. The collection was classic Holland, in the sense that it paired a vibrant palette with heavy doses of humor.

Over at Christopher Kane, a fellow member of British fashion’s new guard, looks were first and foremost influenced by structure. He showed crisp plaid jumpers as well black accenting on semi-transparent cocktail dresses. Kane’s architecturally minded designs may have been strict with regard to lines, but they didn’t skimp on femininity. (No wonder the designer’s spring collection sold out within 24 hours of having debuted on Net-a-Porter’s virtual racks on February 13.)

With geology as his inspiration, Josh Goot, an Australian designer who broke onto the scene in 2004, presented a range of fall looks that shared in House of Holland’s color-block obsession, as well as Christopher Kane’s fascination with shape. Goot’s palette was significantly muted, and even his most ornate looks gave the impression of having been pared down.

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Karl Prouse, Catwalking / Getty Images

Julien Macdonald’s fall collection was covered in fashions that screamed Edward Scissorhands-meets- Alien. The predominant themes from Macdonald’s runway have shown up in numerous designers’ fall collections (namely: biker chic and big shoulders borrowed from the ‘80s), but that doesn’t mean he’s playing copycat. Macdonald’s been in the biz for over a decade (some years of which he spent at Givenchy).

Over at Nathan Jenden’s namesake collection presentation, the designer proved yet again that despite being creative director at Diane von Furstenberg, he’s not one-note. In a fall show dubbed "frostbite," Jenden sent cool, sleek concoctions down the runway. From fishnet-embellished LBDs, to origami-esque skirts and dresses, Jenden succeeded in making monochrome feel absolutely fresh.

Deriving inspiration from the weather was Central Saint Martins-grad Mark Fast. The Canadian specializes in knitwear, but definitely not that of the cuddly, cute variety. After all, Fast’s inspiration for fall came from thunderstorms.

It may have been Mary Katranzou’s first runway show, but the fashion world is in agreement that this young designer knows what she’s doing. Space Age graphics in bold colors adorned adorable shift dresses.

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Stuart Wilson / Getty Images

Over at Peter Pilotto, the designer and his partner, Christopher De Vos of Vivienne Westwood, looked to the Big Bang theory for inspiration. It worked. Big time.

London Fashion Week favorite Giles Deacon did not disappoint despite high expectations. For fall, he played with an oversized imprint mirrored Chanel’s famed logo, enormous fur gloves that extended all the way up the forearm, porcupine skirts, and a particularly iconic cocoon coat.

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Tim Whitby / Getty Images

Luella’s fall 2009 line was especially wearable. For the collection, she drew inspiration from both military and collegiate uniforms, infusing them both with a strong punk flavor. The clothes is sure to be a hit with fashion’s ‘It’ girls like socialite Pixie Geldof and musician Lissy Trullie, both of whom moonlighted as models for the show.

Vivienne Westwood, the matriarch of British fashion, stuck to her signature tartans, corseted waists and asymmetric cuts for her Red Label presentation. We can’t wait to see Pamela Anderson—the new face of Westwood—don the punk-tinged clothes.

Alisa Gould-Simon is a Brooklyn-based freelance writer and editor of The Daily Beast’s Fashion Week coverage. She also covers fashion and culture for BlackBook, New York and PAPER.