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By Marie-Louise Gumuchian
LONDON (Reuters) - Chunky knits and frilly dresses took over the London catwalk on Friday as the British capital kicked off its leg of the autumn/winter womenswear fashion week calendar.
After New York, fashionistas gather for London Fashion Week (LFW) where a mix of established names, highstreet labels and emerging designers will present their latest creations during five days of runway shows and presentations.
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While smaller than fellow fashion capitals New York, Milan and Paris, the event in London - which is known for its fashion schools and new creative talent - will host labels including Burberry, Mulberry, Versace's Versus line and Temperley London.
With some brands using the catwalk to make political statements during New York Fashion Week, fashionistas expect London designers could follow suit.
"There seems to be a mood of activism. There seems to be a lot of people finding a voice," accessories designer Anya Hindmarch said when asked what to expect this fashion season.
"I think London is all about creativity."
Among the first to present his autumn/winter 2017 collection was designer Eudon Choi, who dressed models in chunky ribbed jumpers worn like shawls, wide-leg trousers and sports shoes.
Taking inspiration from architect Adolf Loos, London-based Choi, who first trained as a designer for menswear in Seoul, presented a line of "utilitarian designs", adding metallic button-like fastenings on his tailored looks.
The collection featured shirts with extended backs, quilted parkas, oversized coats, sweaters adorned with tie details and satin dresses.
London-based Turkish designer Bora Aksu, who took inspiration from prominent British suffragette Princess Sophia Duleep Singh for his line, presented floral as well as frilly dresses in white, pale pink and blue, with black and white checked jacket and skirt combinations also featuring.
Models, some in small hats, wore calf-high black boots on top of tights embroidered with words such as "love" and "freedom".
More than 50 catwalk shows and 30 presentations will be held during LFW, which takes place with the uncertainty of Brexit looming over the industry.
"We don't know what the trade deal is going to be at the moment so there's a lot of scenario planning around it," Caroline Rush, chief executive of the British Fashion Council told Reuters.
"The immediate upside ... is that the pound is becoming slightly lower (which) has meant that tourism has increased ... but of course the longer term impact we're yet to see."
Two small demonstrations took place outside the main venue.
A handful of women held banners reading "Fight for real age models at LFW", while separately three women in bikinis and crocodile masks held banners in the form of handbags with slogans such as "Animals die for exotic skins".
(Additional reporting by Pedro Caiado and Jane Witherspoon; Editing by Gareth Jones)