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A sexy red lace dress with a high neck and open back caused a chorus of 'oohs' from the assembled crowd as Daniella Helayel showed her Autumn / Winter 2012 Issa collection. No doubt many of them were deciding which Middleton sister would be brave enough to wear it (Pippa, obviously), as Issa is a brand often mentioned in conjunction with the tabloids' favourite sisters.

But Issa existed long before Kate Middleton wore that blue dress for her engagement announcement, and while there was a long, green jersey dress of a similar style and plenty of dresses that used the same super-flattering wrap and tie waist detail as that infamous dress, much of this collection was obviously not designed with the Duchess in mind. Perhaps front row attendee Gemma Arterton (below with Daniella Helayel) might be a better bet?

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The show, entitled 'Trans - Siberian Express', took us on a journey from Moscow to Beijing, with Russian doll inspired prints jostling for attention next to dragon-embroidered kaftans and nomadic scarves, a rich red cape and a slinky kimono maxi.

At times, with so much rich culture to inspire, the show felt a bit disjointed; the paisley and floral prints were, at times, reminiscent of 70s textiles by Celia Birtwell, and looked odd followed shortly by a sheer beaded dress with fringing and an art deco-esque feel that was more 1920s. It was undeliably pretty, but didn't seem to fit with the rest of the show.

Fluffy fur trims on glittering green brocade were cute, and swirly printed trousers were an injection of London cool and an unexpected hit, but as usual where Issa excels is in slinky jersey maxi dresses and evening gowns, be they printed or plain, and these are no doubt what'll be flying off the shelves come September.


We attended the Issa show as guests of LG, whose 'Steam Team' are preparing collections backstage to ensure they hit the catwalk in perfect, crease-free condition!

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