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September 22, 2009 3:22 PM

Eye, Fashion

London: Best Face Forward

The 25th London Fashion Week -- so anticipated for so long -- is already winding down. There's giddiness in the air, with all the late-night parties, cocktails, dinners and flowing Champagne....

The 25th London Fashion Week -- so anticipated for so long -- is already winding down. There's giddiness in the air, with all the late-night parties, cocktails, dinners and flowing Champagne. At 10 Downing Street on Friday night, I watched designers like Matthew Williamson and Osman Yousefzada -- and even a grande dame like fashion editor Hilary Alexander -- morph into school kids. Everyone felt the need to pose, just like the prime minister, at the front door of the building while friends snapped pictures of them.

But while there have been a lot of laughs, the collections have all been relatively safe and quite grown-up. The kookiness for which the British are so renowned, and which put London fashion on the map, seems to have disappeared -- for the moment, at least.

Some believe this isn't necessarily a bad thing. I was having a chat with Joan Burstein, the owner and founder of Browns, which was the first to carry such British designers as John Galliano and Hussein Chalayan, and she told me how wowed she was by the shows' organization. She even told me she arrived at one show 10 minutes late -- and it had already started.

Gone are the days of the 90-minute waiting times, the mini bottles of Moët drunk through a straw and the out-there, "Return of the Jedi"-inspired outfits some designers have sent down the runway.

But London has had these "grown-up" phases before. Let's see how long this one lasts.
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