It's hats off to spring fashion

Hats and hoods adorned the heads of the super skinny models at this week's London Fashion Week. Fashion writer Katy Evans reports.

Hats and hoods adorned the heads of the super skinny models at this week's London Fashion Week meaning only one thing - if you want to get ahead on the high street get some headgear. Fashion writer Katy Evans reports.

SPRING and summer is the time of year when, traditionally, we look to lighten up our attire and put those warm winter accessories - such as gloves and scarves - to the back of the closet for next year.

But on the runways at London Fashion Week it was hats that stole the show, usurping bags as the most prominent accessories for next season. And not just normal hats. In fact, the more elaborate and eye-catching (or eye-poking out in some cases) the better.

Monday got off to a flying start with Manish Arora's exotic birds of paradise-inspired collection, which saw models with colourful butterflies stuck to their eyes and lips, and one enormous head-piece adorned by a bright yellow toucan (well yellow is in now, you know).

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Zandra Rhodes also went with the bird-theme by plonking a huge plumage on the head of six-footer Marks and Spencer model Erin O'Connor.

Basso and Brooke created a real stage show on Tuesday evening with their bright, oriental and 20s-inspired collection featuring hats such as this water lily creation, which could double as a pretty pond accessory.

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More 'real life' but still ridiculous was the sighting of riding hats at Balenciaga - great news for all keepers of horses who can, if they so choose to, stride out into everyday life wearing their black head protectors, safe in the knowledge they are now the height of fashion.

Jasper Conran sent models down his striped-background runway in a plethora of headgear from neat and tidy trilbies to wide, satellite-style straw varieties.

Conran was also one of the leading advocates of, get ready for it … the hood. Yes that's right, hoodies - just like all other components of popular 'street' culture, from mod style to punk - have been hijacked by haute couture and will soon be seen sported, no doubt, by a string of celebrities.

But these hoods are a far cry from the cheap chav tracksuit variety. Conran's hoods harked back to Kylie's Can't Get You Out Of My Head video - the one where men and women alike admired Ms Minogue's physique as she writhed around in a white, hooded one-piece, slashed saucily from collar bone to navel and from hip to ankle.

Conran's white, hooded draw-string top seen here is probably quite practical for those pesky April showers, but as for the matching 'nappy' - perhaps not.

More hoods were seen at Wednesday's c.neeon show, and also in on the act was designer Ashish, whose distressed denim outfit with built-in hood-cum-baseball cap was on show on Monday (strange black made-up marks optional).

Another take on the baseball cap was seen at Emma Cook, whose feminised, ruched versions may appeal to the slightly less adventurous.

Sixties fashion house Biba brought the headband back into fashion (great news for long-haired lovelies who suffer from 'hair sticking to face' syndrome when out partying), and, by contrast, showed enormous wide-brimmed hats - perfect for shading out the sun's rays.

John Rocha showed crocheted hats that seemed more suited to winter, as did Betty Jackson, and Peter Jensen used exotic blooms to create a flowery take on the Princess Leia look.

But for downright outrageousness, my hat goes off to Gareth Pugh. The designer du jour, lauded by none other than Ms Wintour (she attended his show last season), sent out models in monochrome, rubber gimp/sci-fi-inspired outfits, all of which completely covered their faces and none of which, I dare say, will be seen out in the real world on a warm spring/summer day. Highly ridiculous, highly impractical, but then London Fashion Week has built a reputation for creative craziness and long may it be so, if only to provide a little light-hearted entertainment on a Friday morning in September.

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