By  on February 14, 2008

London designers are going their own ways for fall, turning out looks that range from sleek tailored suits to fanciful, full-skirted dresses.

Richard Nicoll: It may have been inspired by the Amish, but Richard Nicoll's collection was far from staid or dour. The designer put a sexy spin on some austere silhouettes, turning out sheer shirts with biblike collars, layered chiffon and silk skirts, and diaphanous floor-length shirtdresses worn over trousers. He also worked some tailored pieces into the collection, toying with tuxedo trousers and jacket shapes.

Nathan Jenden: Dressed as geisha, Pierrots and Tudor ladies, Nathan Jenden's girls flocked to a decadent masquerade ball. The designer's emphasis this season was on richly embellished fabrics in pieces such as a cobalt blue dress covered in what looked like tiny silk pincushions. Despite Jenden's fanciful tone, there were plenty of wearable party dresses, including a bronze beaded strapless cocktail number, pencil skirts and glamorous evening coats.

Todd Lynn: Todd Lynn conjured up his favorite Victorian-Goth muse, but also injected some Fifties Hitchcock glamour into the mix for fall. There were sharp pencil-skirted suits, sexy smoking jackets and sleek, form-fitting cocktail dresses in dark, moody hues. And Lynn embraced quirky, modern details, too, including deconstructed pockets and plenty of pleats.

Nicole Farhi: Drawing on an Alpine idyll for inspiration, Nicole Farhi turned out a fall collection filled with sleek olive wool overcoats, cropped army-inspired jackets and knit tunics with tiny geometric patterns. Her dresses, however, were the season's standouts: There were coppery-gold ones that flared at the waist, gray wool sleeveless shifts and a belted cream coatdress. Farhi has a loyal customer base of women of a certain age, but her well-made collections could still use a little pick-me-up.

Roksanda Ilincic: Roksanda Ilincic turned out a refined collection of her signature silk and satin dresses for fall. They came in the form of chocolate and peach Empire shapes with trains that pooled on the floor and long pewter or neon pink dresses with poufs at the waist or sculpted, pointy shoulders. There also were cocoon coats and stoles lavished with fur.Jens Laugesen: Jens Laugesen needs to kiss Catwoman goodbye and embrace a younger muse. The designer's skintight silhouettes — black catsuits and tourniquet-like cobalt trousers — were extreme, but, in a triumph of innocence over experience, his gentler styles were the ones that hit the mark. These included full black-and-blue silk skirts, high-waisted black dresses shot through with shiny gold threads and a ruffled, robin's egg blue shirtdress.

Krystof Strozyna: In his first collection after graduating from Central Saint Martins College of Art & Design last year, Krystof Strozyna packed a punch. The designer turned out tight minidresses with sculptural shoulders in white, hot pink and black, accessorizing them with huge lacquered wood bangles and brooches.

Meadham Kirchhoff: Edward Meadham and Benjamin Kirchhoff's moody collection featured mohair sweaters worn with draped satin skirts and pointy-shouldered, tailored jackets with nubby wool pencil skirts. The collection overall was drab, and the standouts were the tailored pieces.

Fashion East: London's new kids on the block shared their visions at the Fashion East showcase for young design talent. Louise Gray's layered chiffon shifts in neon pinks and greens with zips and chiffon appliqués were highlights, while JJ Hudson of Noki sent out a typically aggressive collection of shredded and customized leather jackets and vintage cartoon T-shirts with intricately crocheted attached hoods. The equally fierce rocker Skin from Skunk Anansie even made an appearance in the show. Meanwhile, David Saunders, designer of David David, worked his red, yellow, pink and purple geometric prints onto trenchcoats and rockabilly-style high-waisted trousers.

House of Holland: London's DJ-cum-designer-cum-man about town Henry Holland, who made his name with T-shirts poking fun at models and fellow designers, showed a wacky collection that took its cue from the Scottish Highlands. He sent out kilts and tiered skirts in hot pink mohair or purple-and-green tartans so short they could have doubled as underwear. It was a cartoonish romp through the heather, and it's likely that the most salable items will be the oversize orange-and-blue mohair sweaters — for those who love being the center of attention.

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