Ensemble by Meadham Kirchhoff. Courtesy image


Christopher Raeburn (l) and his
reclaimed fabric coats. Courtesy image

The next Alexander McQueen may have just visited New York.

Under the British Fashion Council's guidance, 21 up-and-coming British designers set up shop earlier this week in New York's Soho Grand Hotel to show their wares to the New York press and retailers.

The London Show Rooms is an initiative of the British Fashion Council and the Centre for Fashion Enterprise to promote its young designers on a broader scale, mainly in Paris and New York, and ideally to reach people who can help their businesses grow on an international level.

"This is the third time that we've come with the London Show Rooms," explained Anna Orsini, strategic consultant and spokeswoman for the group, to StyleList. "It's important for us to come here for the editors to meet the designers, not just backstage after a fashion show, but to go through the rails," or clothing racks, examining the clothes and accessories up close.

Outfits by James Long (l), J.W. Anderson (c) and Mark Fast (r). Courtesy image


And in fashion circles, while New York designers are seen as saleable and businesslike, British designers are seen as supremely creative almost to the point of being quirky. The designers who showed this week were no exception and included Christopher Raeburn and his women's clothing made from reclaimed fabrics like parachutes and red bits from the Buckingham Palace guard uniforms; Craig Lawrence; David Koma and his impressive laser-cut dots collection; Dominic Jones; Fannie Schiavoni; Felicity Brown; Holly Fulton and her Chanel-inspired Art Deco prints; J. JS Lee; J.W. Anderson, with gorgeous old tie silks that were recolored and fashioned into things like skirt-over-skinny-pant combos; James Long, with macramé-adorned and embroidered knitwear; Louise Gray, featuring bright pattern mixing; Mark Fast; Mary Katrantzou and her proliferation of prints that she combines, mixes and matches like solids; Meadham Kirchhoff and dark, dramatic pieces styled with cool wicker jewelry; Omar Kashoura; Michael Van Der Ham and his posh velvets and fringed numbers; Nasir Mazhar, with well-styled hats with funny details like pencil holders; Sibling and the brand's cheeky pub crawl-inspired sweaters; Thomas Tait; Tim Soar, with womenswear that is retailored and deconstructed from men's tailored clothing; and Yang Du, with whimsical cashmere ponchos bearing bright faces.

Gorgeous deconstructed frocks from Felicity Brown. Courtesy image


The most famous recent "alum" from this program is Erdem Moralioglu, designer of his own Erdem label, whose celeb following includes Keira Knightly, Ashley Olsen and Ginnifer Goodwin. However, Alexander McQueen benefited from this program's precursor.

"Alexander McQueen was part of New Gen, in times that we were not offering this support," Orsini explained. "The difference from Alexander McQueen's time is that New Gen was a showcasing award. We have changed it in the past five years to be a business support, with one-to-one meetings, help with financing, distribution, legal problems they might have and then the showcasing the designers."

Model wearing Craig Lawrence. Courtesy image

For more brilliant Brit design, check out our gallery of London Fashion Week Fall 2011's top looks.