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London Fashion Week opens with first shows previewing new spring styles

London shares rose on Thursday as the market received a boost from the launch of the privatisation of the Royal Mail, dealers said.AFP/File LONDON (AFP) London shares rose on Thursday as the market received a boost from the launch of the privatisation of the Royal Mail, dealers said. At 8:38 am, the benchmark FTSE 100 index was up 10.92 points ot 0.17 percent at 6,599.35 points. The government said an initial sale of shares in the state-run postal service will occur within weeks. “Her Majesty’s Government today announces its intention to proceed with an initial public offering of Royal Mail,” said a joint statement, which added that the IPO is “expected to take place in the coming weeks”. Royal Mail is to list on the London Stock Exchange, while the coalition government said it would “retain flexibility around the size of the stake to be sold”. The government had in July announced plans to privatise more than 50 percent of Royal Mail following a major restructuring of the organisation in recent years, triggered by fierce competition from email. Royal Mail was expected to be Britain’s biggest privatisation since the 1980 sell-offs of former nationalised giants British Gas and British Telecom. Media reports say the part sale of Royal Mail could be worth up to ??3.0 billion ($4.74 billion, 3.57 billion euros). The government previously said that it would take on Royal Mail’s historic pension deficit. William Morrison shares jumped 3.67 percent to 308.10 pence as the supermarket chain announced flat interim sales and lower profit but raised the interim dividend by 10 percent to 3.84 pence per share. The company said turnover was steady at ??8.9 billion pounds in the six months to August 4, though with like-for-like store sales dropping 1.6 percent and pretax profit sinking to ??344 million from ??440 million in the year-earlier period. “We anticipate an improvement in our sales performance during the second half and accordingly the board believes the group’s performance for the full year will be broadly in line with its previous expectations,” Morrisons said. Tui Travel added 2.11 percent to 362.90 pence and British Airways owner International Consolidated Airlines gained 1.70 percent to 317.40 pence.

Looking for things to do? Select one or more criteria to search Kid-friendly Get ideas Turkish designer Bora Aksu, the first to show over the 5-day event, started things off on a bright, cheerful note with a collection of sweet, doll-like dresses and skirts in lemon yellows, blues and bright pinks. It looks like pink, now everywhere in shops for the autumn and winter season, could migrate to the next season. Later on in the day Jean-Pierre Braganza took the idea of girly innocence and gave it a tough, sexy twist, mixing up cotton-candy pinks with revealing styles and his signature asymmetrical hems. Ladylike full skirts, too, seem to be here to stay for at least a while, as seen at Jasper Conran, who paired them with neat starched white collars, stripes or sheer organza overlays. London Fashion Week, which came hot on the heels of its sister event in New York, will feature 58 catwalk shows in all, including Burberry, Vivienne Westwood, Julien MacDonald and Stella McCartney. It will be followed next week by shows in Milan and Paris. ___ BORA AKSU London was awash in rain Friday, but within the comforts of his catwalk show space Aksu evoked sunnier climes and exotic Aegean holidays. Aksus catwalk show was an ode to his homeland, Turkey, featuring rich hand-woven textiles, ethnic embroidery and tassels. The preview opened with a series of white dresses, pencil skirts and shorts ensembles that focused on the clothes textures: thick quilted cottons, crochets and laces, layered with wispy chiffons and tulles. The silhouettes and many of the details were sweet and girly, with high collars, frills, puffy Victorian sleeves, tiered peasant skirts and flouncy shapes that hide the curves though a cropped, boxy jacket here and there kept things from being too saccharine. ___ JEAN-PIERRE BRAGANZA The Canadian-born Braganzas spring womenswear preview is inspired by the contradiction of femininity, and his opening outfit tells you what this is all about: a satin dress suit with a businesslike blazer and a flirty mini skater skirt, in bold blocks of black, white and pale pink. Braganza takes that interplay between sweetness and toughness further as his collection unfolds. The same baby pink reappears as dresses in his signature draped silhouette, tops and skirts with high-low hems and low-slung shorts. Theres quite a lot of skin on show, whether through cutouts at the back or an asymmetrical hem that ends high at the thigh. There are urban styles like a sporty, oversized tops and a sleeveless biker jacket in cracked leather, but also surprisingly elegant and easy to wear blouse and pencil skirt ensembles thrown in the mix.