Alexander McQueen

This morning, looking at pictures of Kate Middleton in the black and white lace Alice Temperley gown she wore for her first royal film premier yesterday (Steven Speilberg’s “War Horse”), I was struck by the fact that it seems the Duchess of Cambridge only wears British designers for dress-up. There’s an interesting choice here.  Read more

British Fashion Awards 2011 - London. Sarah Burton with the Designer of the Year award. Credit: Ian West/PA Wire

Sarah Burton, Designer of the Year at the British Fashion Awards 2011. Ian West/PA Wire

Take a wild guess who won the designer of the year award at the British Fashion Awards last night. Yup, it was Sarah Burton for Alexander McQueen. A well deserved win, given her acclaimed royal wedding dress and the sensitive way in which she has interpreted Alexander McQueen’s legacy, but not really a surprise. It was the first of many not-really-a-surprises at the awards, held in London’s Savoy hotel, which is probably a good thing, indicating that there is a consensus behind which British names are ones to be confident about.

Mary Katrantzou, who won the Emerging Talent – Womenswear award, is fast becoming a highlight – if not the highlight – of London Fashion Week. Not only are her bold and unusual prints arresting, they are also tailored to be highly wearable and fairly commercial. The question of when a designer is no longer deemed to be emerging can be a problematic one though; there’s often no clear moment when they become – like a butterfly from a chrysalis – fully formed. Read more

It’s November — which in magazine-calendar-speak means December issues, which in turn means Best-Dressed Lists. Yahoo! First out of the blocks is Harper’s Bazaar UK, and guess who tops the list? Yes, Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, is perhaps the most unsurprising choice ever. Because really, let’s be honest: best-dressed lists are not just about being best-dressed, and the Duchess isn’t the best dressed woman in the country.

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If you don’t know Nicola Formichetti, aka the artist formerly known as Lady Gaga’s stylist, you will very soon. He has plans for world domination. Not I didn’t say fashion world domination. He’s gone way beyond that.

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It had to happen, I suppose. Post the huge-public-love-fest associated with the Kate Middelton/Prince William wedding, and the corresponding publicity and sales boost it delivered to many associated fashion brands from Alexander McQueen to Launer, maker of the Queen’s buttercup handbag, it seems every other English designer is hoping a royal nuptial association might have a similar knock-on effect. Any royal nuptial association.  Read more

Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, wore Alexander McQueen again to the royal couple’s “hotly anticipated” black tie BAFTA dinner in L.A. As a super-secret dress choice, it was a little anti-climatic compared to the wedding reveal, but as a choice that could have meaningful repercussions for McQueen the business, it was pretty significant.

After all, you know the rule: once (the wedding) could be a fluke; twice (the sailor dress in Canada) is a coincidence; but three times (last night’s gown) makes a trend. And the winds of trend are indicating that the newest, most-photographed, royal family member has settled on McQueen as the brand that will define her style. Read more

Since this is a royal wedding, every little bit of the royal wedding dress actually has symbolic meaning, and roots in different parts of British industry.  Read more

So the answer is in: Sarah Burton did indeed make Kate Middleton’s wedding dress. A major British brand for a new British royal.

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Royal Wedding Day minus 1 and slowly the sartorial chips are falling into place. Read more

The grand British fashion historian and critic Colin Macdowell has just written a rather incendiary, and I think alarmist, essay on the bussinessoffashion that (I think) has made the connection between the government forcing English students to pay for education and the death of English fashion. Read more