Caroline Charles at Fashion Week

Here’s a tip: midday at London Fashion Week is not a good time to nip out of the press room. Anyone who has been before will know how much of a luxury the LFW food is – 12 noon is when it’s ready – 12.30 is when it’s all gone!

Just as I was on my way out, in came the free food to replenish those hacks and hackettes who are doing their best to live blog London’s most prolific and popular catwalk event…

I was famished from the fashion, but lunch for me was not an option.

Instead I had a date with Caroline Charles and – I’ll be honest – I wasn’t holding out for much. Sure, the woman is a style guru and catwalk legend (she’s been in the business for only 47 years!) but when it comes to 20-something citywear a signature Charles floor-length skirt is not exactly what you want to parade the streets of Shoreditch or Brick Lane with.

Caroline’s autumn/winter 2010 collection was a mix of manor house suave and gypsy fortune-teller – something about it shouted No Kids Allowed and I just couldn’t see young Londonites eating it up.

This year, things have changed and Caroline has gone back to the country manor house and stayed there… Well, at least for a few nights because this new collection is an estate-wife’s wet dream. It seems oddly youthful – I can really see pieces in it that could be introduced to a city female’s working wardrobe.

With the country manor house look came hats and hunter’s jackets – waists were also a huge focus for the show with belts, bows and sashes all tying up riding coats or one-pieces. The colours remained unoffending bar a dash of rouge red or turquoise, but on the whole I could see some of this stuff on a younger fashionista.

Most of the gear would look great with a contrasting white blouse or shirt and a signature piece – the grey multi-check thigh-length coat would look suitably stylish on any age. Easily accessorised and with modern prints and patterns mostly throughout, the label’s looking young.

Another theme that Caroline has given more attention since A/W ’10 is animal prints: zebra, snow leopard and jaguar were all on show. Combine that with the manor house hunter look and the models had a bit of Kate Middleton about them: sophisticated, sexy and a little bit Rah.

With the royal wedding just around the corner – and with Middleton only in her twenties – it could be that Caroline Charles starts creeping her way into younger ladies’ minds and wardrobes!

Oh and want another tip? Think about your papped face… This journalist was lucky enough to be sat behind the sexy Emilia Fox – but cue about 2000 flashes later and my face was a Facebook-untagger’s nightmare, only this time it’ll be on every glossy and gossip mag this side of Europe.

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