'I had to wait until it was properly official to tell people why I was coming back to London Fashion Week. And you're the second person I called after my sister Piera,' said British designer Antonio Berardi last night. What an honour! Berardi, 40, who rose to fashion fame alongside Alexander McQueen in London during the 1990s, may be the latest in a line of British designers and labels returning to London Fashion Week to honour its 25th anniversary, but his is no ordinary comeback. Berardi is coming home after a whopping 10-year absence. And how we missed him! His London shows were spectacular – so hot that Prince begged for tickets at the height of his fame. The last decade has seen the designer – whose loyal fans include Gwyneth Paltrow, Victoria Beckham and Madonna – show in Milan and, since 2005, in Paris. His A/W '09 collection got rave reviews in Paris, and his business (not to mention his A-List red carpet status) is riding high – making his London decision all the sweeter. 'Because I've been showing in Milan and Paris for so long, there's a generation that don't know me as a London designer, but that's what I am and I want people to know. I'm so excited to be coming home.' Berardi spoke to us from Ancona in Italy where he is taking his summer break. 'Well, it's a sort of break – all the embroideries from the new collection are being done locally so I'm on call.' So why London, and why now? 'Well, even though my business is based in Milan, I am a London designer. My stylist Sophia Neophitou [from 10 Magazine] is based there, and though it's a big decision, it feels right. Luckily I've got support from Peroni who are making a London show possible.' His exact London slot is still to be confirmed, so watch this space for more straight-from-the-designer details. Welcome home Antonio!
- Melanie Rickey