Organizers of Britain’s Fashion Week refused on Monday to explicitly ban ultra-thin runway models, although event organizers insisted that no size-zero women would be used in this week’s shows.
The British Fashion Council, a consortium of major fashion retailers and publishers that oversees London’s show, formed a task force to devise strategies to promote health and well-being among young women. The council’s action sidesteps bans on the ultra-thin models that have been enacted at shows in Milan and Madrid.
“I think the general consensus was that the girls on the catwalk were looking healthy,” said Caroline Rush, the council’s spokeswoman.
London’s council recommended that fashion houses use only healthy-looking models aged 16 and over — and said Monday that such recommendations were being respected.
The week of shows opened Sunday with the Dublin-born designer Paul Costelloe and the British designer Caroline Charles. Established stars from the country’s fashion firmament continued to dominate Monday — including Ireland-based John Rocha, who debuted his work at a tent pitched on the lawn in front of London’s Natural History Museum.
An exhibition at the museum carries the ready-to-wear and accessory collections of more than 200 designers. Tunic tops, long beaded necklaces and knee-high boots dominated.
The bigger fashion houses tend to peddle their wares in New York, Paris or Milan, and where designers go, buyers follow.
But the British Fashion Council has been trying to position itself as a more hip, urban venue, touting cutting-edge work from up-and-coming designers.
The event began in 1994 with only 15 shows and 50 exhibitors. This week, 49 catwalk shows will take place, including familiar names Marc Jacobs and Jasper Conran. Jacobs, who will be showing his military-inspired Marc by Marc Jacobs line on Friday, is also opening his first London store this week.
As part of the New Generation design program, the clothing store Topshop is sponsoring a group of 15 emerging designers at Fashion Week. Among the group for the second time is Christopher Kane, a Scottish protege of Versace whose collection includes vibrantly colored mini-dresses embellished with lace and beading.