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London Fashion Week: Thinking Big

Bigger is better. That was the message at London Fashion Week on Monday, where the collections were all about super-sizing.

Longtime favorite Nicole Farhi started the day with a collection full of oversized jackets with enlarged collars and lapels that seemed to have tripled in size. As the rain poured outside, models came down the runway in oversized wool jackets very appropriate for a cold winter day.

Photos: Front Row for Fashion
Photos: London Fashion Week 2008
Photos: Alexander McQueen 1969-2010

Collars were amplified on dresses and jacket lapels.

It was 'bye bye' to mini skirts - all signs indicate the long skirt is making a comeback for autumn. The below-the-knee lengths created a more mature and sophisticated collection at Nicole Farhi.

Once again, layering came into play. For daywear, knitwear was layered under large wool coats and leggings were worn under skirts. For eveningwear glittering sequin dresses were worn under a layer of chiffon for a subtle, glamorous look. Shoulders were emphasized in strapless dresses - in fact, shoulders have been liberally exposed in many collections the last few days.

Farhi's different take on the asymmetric neckline had tops falling seductively off the shoulder.

Contrasting textures were also a big theme in her collection. Shiny patent shoes were pieced with chunky knits and leather was worn with heavy tweeds. The main colors were warm grays and camel beige.

Some of these trends were also seen at the Osman show. In terms of texture contrast, the designer used heavy mohair pieces mixed with delicate silks, and offset some pieces with fur.

He also used oversizing: Models had collars up to their ears.

Osman started the show differently with four models walking in a line, wearing different interpretations of a jersey dress. There was an element of Grecian inspiration as each dress was draped at different parts of the body.

Osman's show-stopping eveningwear was made up of smart cocktail dresses and separates, some embellished with large jewels.

Again, at Osman, the hemlines fell below the knee and this time there were even floor-skimming maxi dresses.

"I think it's a fresh, modern look for autumn," said stylist Riannon Foster-Orr. "I like the patterns and his choice of fabrics, which I think will photograph well. My favorite piece was the oversized fur coat. It was a shape I haven't seen in a fur coat before. I felt like the jersey dresses were a modern version of the original Diane von Furstenberg wrap dress."

Osman managed to bring hints of summer into his autumn collection by adding a splash of pink and blue into a mostly winter color palette.

The fashion week extravaganzas continue Monday night with a catwalk show by Paul Smith. The list of events Tuesday is topped by the widely anticipated Burberry show. Wednesday will be dominated by menswear shows.
By Elenor Stephens