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Temperely shows off her 18th century stylings
Designer Alice Temperely shows off her 18th century stylings
By The Associated Press

LONDON (AP) ' Designer Alice Temperley turned to the past for inspiration Saturday, charming her audience with a series of dresses based on 18th-century paintings that had fired her imagination.

The result was a startling mixture of past and present, with Temperley ' a favorite of many of London's fashionistas, including the Middleton sisters Kate and Pippa ' embellishing classic themes with a touch of modernism.

The result was often impressive as models seemed to capture a more glamourous era in evening gowns and shorter cocktail dresses with a hint of Russian and French.

Many wore lovely, oversize hats made in England from reclaimed fur but suggesting a bit of Dr. Zhivago romance.

Actress Minnie Driver and singer Pixie Lott were among the guests watched from the front row.

Backstage after the show, Temperley said she was seeking to capture a hint of the decadence of a bygone era as a "tonic" for modern-day blues.

"All that brocade and decadence really influenced me," the Central Saint Martins alumna said. "There are a lot of magical elements. I am seeing her as a very polished woman. I reworked a lot of different elements and embellished them. A lot of textures and looks ' you have to weave them together."

The somewhat romantic look relied on cinched waists, trumpet skirts, and carefully embroidered satins, velvets and taffetas ' although the taffeta was cut by laser, a technology unavailable to 18th century artisans.

Temperley, who was once known best for her party dresses, said she was influenced by religious paintings and wanted to celebrate opulence with ornate decorations, multilayered outfits, and elaborate confections.

The dresses were set off by thick belts embellished with gold, and many of the dresses used a black and gold motif also favored by Kinder Aggugini in his Saturday show. Some models wore long black gloves, adding drama, while others wore very colorful prints that seemed to carry a hint of Paris in its prime.

Others wore imposing, full-length leather coat dresses that seemed as if they would have been comfortable, and striking, on the wintry Russian steppes.

Although she looked to continental Europe for her styling cues, Temperley said her show was part of a celebration of Britishness at a time when national pride is on the rise.

"With the queen's Diamond Jubilee and the Olympics coming, this is a time to be proud to be British," she said.



London Fashion Week:

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