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London Fashion Week Hit by Fur Protest

September 18, 2005

LONDON (AP) _ Welsh designer Julien MacDonald kicked off London Fashion Week Sunday with a display of flamboyant colors and patterns, but the glamour was briefly interrupted when animal rights protesters jumped onto the runway.

Two activists from international pressure group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals climbed on stage halfway through the show. They held signs that read ``Fur kills,″ before security guards led them away.

When MacDonald appeared at the end of the show to receive applause from the audience, a third animal rights protester got onto the runway with a sign describing the designer as ``fur scum.″

MacDonald launched a collection of luxury furs last season, although none was on display for Sunday’s Spring/Summer display at the Natural History Museum in central London. None of the PETA activists could be found for comment after the show.

Bright patterns, colors and fabrics characterized MacDonald’s latest collection, the first major show of London Fashion Week.

``The show was fun, it was poppy, it was bright and very glam,″ said Alannah Weston, creative director for Selfridges & Co., one of London’s leading department stores.

Prints in shades of green, orange, pink and purple dominated the beginning of the show. Shorts and skirts came in bright patterns that echoed back to the 1950s and 1960s.

Last season’s Bohemian look also made a return to the runway. Most of the skirts were loose-fitting with flowing folds of fabric, while some bore a Roman touch with lines of gold applique.

Sequined dresses, halters and shrugs in purple, green and gold showed MacDonald’s usual glitz. His swimwear followed the metallic theme: women wore tiny silver and gold bikinis, while men wore shorts or swimsuits in colorful prints.

Many of the formal dresses were updated versions of more classic silhouettes. A simple off-white knee-length strapless gown was accented with a skirt of tulle ruffles around the waist. A long purple evening gown was slit up the front with a cloud of feathers beginning at the knee.

Nearly all the models wore large necklaces and a wristful of bracelets made of wood or shells and had their hair done in loose, gentle upsweeps.

In a later show by Danish-born Jens Laugesen, models wore androgynous designs such as sleeveless, single-breasted tuxedo jackets with just one button and high-waisted, structured pants. Unlike MacDonald, Laugesen stuck to a restrained color palette: black, white and very pale pink. His models wore black leather shoes with 4-inch thick wedge soles.

Laugesen rounded off his collection with a series of sleeveless, mid thigh-length dresses in either black or white, all of them featuring a black or white tulle overlay.

``It was really interesting how he was playing with the feminine/masculine mix,″ said Jodie Ruffle, a 20-year-old student at Middlesex University who attended the show.

London Fashion Week, held twice a year, runs until Thursday. Other highlights include shows by Nicole Farhi, Betty Jackson and Ronit Zilkha.

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On the Net:

London Fashion Week: www.londonfashionweek.co.uk

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