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Ruffles and high romantic drama at John Rocha's London Fashion Week show

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LONDON - As romantic destinations go, Iceland probably ranks pretty low down most lists.

But John Rocha — one of London's most romantic designers — said his experiences of the North Atlantic island nation's ever-changing light and natural wonders were the inspiration behind his latest womenswear collection, shown Saturday on Day 2 of the style extravaganza.

"There's a certain part of the year when it's all dark, and then it's all bright. I love the transition and all the different textures there," he said after the show.

Rocha opened his showcase with a series of all-black outfits adorned with huge billowing clouds of ruffles, both worn as sculptural hats and as collars. The collection had many of Rocha's trademarks: oversized ruffle flowers, voluminous layers of light chiffon and tulle, and lace or crochet fabrics so intricate they are more works of art than wardrobe items.

Classic red and dark forest greens injected some colour, and patent leather shoes with chunky heels balanced the femininity of the fabrics.

Not everything was dark and dramatic. A few of the see-through black organza ballgowns were embroidered with a sprinkling with colorful 3D flowers, as if the model had just rolled around in a flower bed and the petals had stuck to her dress.

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Follow Sylvia Hui at http://www.twitter.com/sylviahui

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