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Naomi back in UK

London, Sept. 15 (Reuters): London Fashion Week rolled out its glamour big guns with a fantasy show from Julien MacDonald starring supermodel Naomi Campbell in a surprise return to British catwalks after a year of legal dramas.

Campbell, who has spent much of this year abroad after her reputation was attacked in a court battle with a tabloid newspaper, was welcomed with rapturous cheers as she opened MaDonald’s “Super Paradise” show yesterday in a plunging white lycra swimsuit and dripping with diamonds.

“Campbell is fantastic, the most beautiful model in the world and a number one star,” a beaming MacDonald said in an interview after the Spring/Summer 2003 show at London’s Grosvenor House Hotel.

“She is here to show she is young, alive and very happy.”

Campbell’s scene-stealing opening was followed by a series of models sent down the catwalk in glittering, barely there dresses which hugged the body.

Vivid island prints were mixed with rock-chick tight leather pants and skirts studded with gold metal rings. Acid yellow and hot pink lycra moulded the body to show maximum flesh.

A skintight gold lame catsuit slashed to the navel and a glittering ruby cobweb dress were just begging to be strutted down a red carpet.

Models, already sporting big “Valley of the Dolls” hair were given extra weight with towering hats shaped as tropical plants.

“It is extravagant and fun with all the glamour and colour that a Julien MacDonald piece is known for,” the designer said.

“Its all about tropical islands, glowing women, glamourous yachts in St Tropez and looking incredible.”

MacDonald’s high-octane show was indisputably the high point of London Fashion Week so far with influential fashion writers and buyers split on whether the capital is losing its reputation for cutting edge innovation.

Michael Roberts of the New Yorker magazine, who was among the influential international writers in the front row of the shows, said he had not expected much from London this season but was nevertheless disappointed to be proved right.

“London is very cyclical. You get a run of two or three years where there are the most incredibly exciting designers then another few years where it is low key, which is now.”

“London has suffered the loss of its most visionary designers, like Stella McCartney and Alexander McQueen, who had very strong identities very early in their career,” he said. “There are not enough opinionated designers in London now.”

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