London Fashion Week open

Best of British: Vintage year predicted for London Fashion Week as it opens tomorrow
By Deborah Arthurs

As the curtains close on New York's catwalk shows tonight, on this side of the Atlantic frantic preparations are underway for tomorrow's launch of London Fashion Week.

The six-day celebration of style will cast a spotlight on British design, which has had a shot in the arm of late, thanks to its new ersatz ambassador, the Duchess of Cambridge.
Flying the flag: The Duchess of Cambridge often wears Erdem Moralioglu and Issa,

In the five months since the royal wedding, the Duchess of Cambridge has become one of the UK's most stylish names, gripping fashion followers both home and overseas with her wardrobe choices.

A clutch of her favoured designers - Montreal-born, London-based label Erdem, in whose designs Kate was photographed on her summer tour of Canada - and Issa, by Brazilian designer Daniellla Helayel, who has long been firm favourite of the Duchess of Cambridge - will be showing this week, with Issa on Saturday evening, and Erdem Monday afternoon.

Kate chose a sapphire blue dress by the designer to announce her engagement to the then Prince William, again on the night before her wedding and also during her Canada visit, placing Issa - already a successful brand - even higher on the global radar.
Star quality: Since showing in London, Burberry has attracted famous faces including Sarah Jessica Parker, Emma Watson and Alexa Chung

Fashion experts anticipate the so-called 'Kate effect' may popularise British fashion across the board - and in particular, the new polished style she has adopted since becoming a modern day duchess.

The collections of British favourites Giles, Jonathan Saunders, Burberry and Christopher Kane are eagerly awaited, as well as the first on-schedule London appearance of U.S. designer Tom Ford.

Taking lead from New York's bold colours, prints and retro inspiration, we can expect a similar feel for the London shows - but with the quirky flourishes we've come to expect from the adventurous sibling from the fashion weeks.
One to watch: Mary Katrantzou will be one of the hottest shows this year

Jane Bruton, editor-in-chief of Grazia magazine, predicted a vintage season.

She said: 'Every season London Fashion Week raises the standard that it set six months before,' she told PA.

'It always seems impossible, but our home-grown talent manage it every time. I'm looking forward to seeing what Jonathan Saunders and Mary Katrantzou have to offer this season, as the print masters are currently our most talked-about designers not only here, but internationally too.

'Christopher Kane, Erdem and Roksanda Ilincic are already catering to high-profile clients such as the Duchess of Cambridge, Michelle Obama and Samantha Cameron so there will be a huge buzz around their collections.'

And with the celebrities in the audience of the shows generally as much of a draw as the collections themselves, she tipped Burberry as the one to watch for its 'A+++ list' front row.
Roksanda Ilincic already catering to high-profile clients

She added: 'The return of Tom Ford is giving London Fashion Week serious high gloss this season too, and Giles is always a personal favourite of mine. I have a feeling it's going to be a vintage season.'

One of the highest profile fashion events in the world, the shows are expected to generate orders in the region of £100 million and to contribute some £20 million to the London economy.

Visitors from many countries routinely flock to the city for the biannual fashion week, which features 50 or so catwalk shows on the official schedule alone and another 45-plus staged off-schedule.