Fur hasn't been seen on the London runway since the late Princess Margaret
was a girl. But this season, it's a growing trend being pursued,
unexpectedly, by some of the city's youngest designers. One of these is
Rafael Lopez, a Spaniard who passed through Central Saint Martins College of Art and
various jobs in Italy before returning to show his own collection here.
Lopez clearly has an appreciation for femininity and a Latin yearning for luxe: Witness his jacket made of strips of sage-colored mink, and coat of patchworked leather, suede and chinchilla. His collection looked best when he used dark-chocolate silk velvet in casual shapeslike bomber jackets or low-slung cropped pants that laced at the side of the legor black velvet for a slouchy sweatshirt and swishy full skirt. Other great show pieces were a sculptural suede bubble skirt and an oversized cardigan. Many of Lopez's evening dresses, pieced and patchworked in Art Deco patterns, were overly influenced by Balenciaga's "Victorian" collectionbut that's far from a rare phenomenon this season. And while the fashion press waits impatiently for young designers to get over Ghesquière, it's allotting creative credits to those who show sparks of their own individuality. On that countand boosted by the fact that his small Summer collection flew at retailLopez has officially joined the "worth watching" list.