London designers call upon Shakespeare, nature for inspiration

London's fashion designers on Sunday drew inspiration ranging from nature to William Shakespeare, presenting oversized coats and embellished dresses while reassessing how to sell clothes faster to a new generation of online consumers.
Pleated skirts, rose-printed dresses and studded leather jackets, in saffron and tangerine, were seen at British fashion brand Mulberry, which returned to the catwalk for the first time after two turbulent years.
Models sported a variety of accessories, from a tiny lifelike heart to oversized totes, which designer Johnny Coca said had been inspired by the works of Shakespeare and the streets of London.
Coca said the collection was important to help shape the style of Mulberry's new offering, but accessories would remain his main priority in the year to come, after an attempt to become more exclusive backfired.
"I'm really focused on all the categories, but the bulk of our business (is) in our accessories, which is why we are working a lot on that," Coca told reporters backstage after the show.
Mulberry Chief Executive Officer Thierry Andretta said in a recent interview that many of its new products would be available after the show and some within a few weeks, sooner than the traditional four to six months.
His comments come as fashion brands are trying to find ways of getting clothing and accessories to customers more quickly in different climates around the world.
"Slowly, slowly, there is definitely going to be a move," said designer Anya Hindmarch, whose lively catwalk show featured a life-sized gaming grid and handbags bearing Pac Man motifs.
"I think it will all get there at the right time, but without a doubt it is moving towards that. The customers want it right away," she told Reuters backstage after her show.
Fashion brand Alexander McQueen held a dramatic evening show inspired by surreal symbols and nature, with models wearing embellished leather corsets, oversized coats and floor-length sheer dresses decorated with butterfly motifs, feathers, flowers and heavy chains.
"We are seeing the idea of all of this lovely femininity that has a bit of an edge everywhere," said Ken Downing, fashion director of US department store Neiman Marcus.
"Certainly the use of embroidery, the use of details in adornment and embellishment on top of the leather pieces are just superlative," he added.
Earlier in the day at high-street retailer Topshop Unique's show at London's historic Tate Britain gallery, models wore tightly fitted long johns, sheer leopard-print dresses and oversized fur coats.
Inspiration also was drawn from Shakespeare's works – "The Winter's Tale" and "The Taming of the Shrew" – for printed silks and floral embellishment on dresses, which were paired with ankle boots and cropped jumpers.

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