Aspects: Is Britannia Cooling off?; Fashion and Lifestyle Editor Carole Ann Rice Previews London Fashion Week, Where Some of the Titans of Style Are Absent from Their Home Turf. Should We Worry?

Article excerpt

It seems like only yesterday that Patsy and Liam languished on a union flag duvet across the cover of Vanity Fair. Half-dressed and studiously aloof, they exquisitely epitomised the sartorial blip that was Cool Britannia.

But the bubble burst as Britain, or more precisely London, swung like a pendulum do, and the fashion tides turned once again to further, more fertile shores.

We had the looks, the music and the attitude and the kind of gritty street chic that had the French reaching for their smelling salts.

Nothing lasts forever, not even a well-turned sneer and the art rats of couture are leaving a sinking ship.

Last night saw the start of London's Fashion Week, a social diary event that was once the hottest ticket in the cosmos for those for whom hot means cool.

But where are our usual suspects who lead the world in avant garde style?

Alexander McQueen and Vivienne Westwood both deserted Blighty to show their collections on the New York catwalks last week, which means they are following a trend that many are reluctant to acknowledge.

Even our own Nicole Fahri, all fine knit sweaters and scrubbed pine drawers, has opted for a bite out of the Big Apple and has taken her beautiful beige ensembles to a new audience.

It is a seismic shift that is about as inevitable as cocaine in a model's make-up bag, and just as sure as white is white and pink is the new black, the fashion cycle rolls on, eventually wheeling back to our shores in a few seasons time.

Fashion is about two per cent creativity and 98 per cent consumerism and hype. …