London Fashion Week

Yesterday, sitting on the benches beside the Alberta Ferretti catwalk as one does, I got to chatting to my neighbour about London Fashion Week. “It was great,” he said, “But it was all the same people you have already heard of. I hope it’s not losing its edge for new talent as it gets more established.” Well, according to the new talent, he should not fear. Read more

Calling Bill de Blasio: Just in time for fashion week, New York has been crowned “Top Global Fashion Capital” in Digital Language Monitor’s 10th annual survey of most-discussed fashion cities. For a fashion world nervous that post-Bloomberg the City Hall regime might not be quite as friendly to the industry (smacking, as it does, of elitism), this is good news. After all, New York edged out Paris by a mere .005%, while the 2012 and 2011 winner London fell to third place. And there are more surprises! Read more

So marketing megalith IMG has just been sold to private equity firm Silver Lake Partners and talent agency William Morris Endeavor for more than $2.3 billion – which means, as those of us who follow these sorts of thing know, that assorted fashion weeks from New York to London, Berlin, Tokyo, Moscow, Miami, Toronto and Sydney have just also been sold, IMG owning the rights to those events (among others). Which has interesting implications for the debate currently raging in fashion about the purpose of fashion weeks itself: namely, are they for the trade (for buying and selling clothes) or, as fashion becomes more and more a part of pop culture and a driver of social media, are they entertainment for the public and marketing for the brands? Read more

Given the diversity debate that raged during New York Fashion Week – and which is making its way over the ocean to London, where the shows began today — thanks to a letter Bethann Hardison sent to the fashion councils of the four fashion week cities pointing out, in no uncertain terms, the extreme uniformity of the runway, I thought it might be interesting to keep a scorecard of sorts during NYFW to see if all the talk had any effect. Here’s what I found. Read more

And you thought the recent municipal jockeying to nab a glamourous, potentially global-identity-changing event ended when the IOC announced Tokyo had won the bid to host the 2020 Olympics. Hah! Apparently, London is still in campaign mode, even post-its successful Olympic Games, and now Mayor Boris Johnson has turned his eyes toward fashion. Read more

As fashion weeks proliferate around the world (I blame IMG, which alone owns 14 different fashion weeks from Milan to Mumbai), and it gets harder and harder to get excited about them or even remember why we should care, I have been struck by the way, of all the fashion weeks not on the original NY-London-Milan-Paris calendar, Copenhagen Fashion Week alone has both understood and attempted to solve the problem. They’ve made a big bet on an identity differentiator that – and this is key – actually doesn’t have anything to do with design. Think that’s ridiculous? it’s actually very clever.

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Oooh, the trash talk out of Milan. Having finally woken up to the fact that London Fashion Week is getting buzzier, and that such a development could be a threat to Milan, its collections, and the related economic windfall that comes to a city during showtime, Milanese designers are joining forces to defend their territory – but the infighting has already begun. The gossip and name-calling is fun to watch, but behind it is a real issue currently afflicting every fashion week: the tension between national industry interest and a brand’s self-interest. Read more

Three years ago in the midst of the financial crash, Sarah Mower, the British Fashion Council’s ambassador for emerging talent and a writer (she was awarded an MBE for it), in conjunction with the British Fashion Council, set up what she called “the London Showrooms”. A temporary salon during Paris Fashion Week for young UK designers not yet ready to pay for their own showrooms around the world, or organise them, but eager to reach those among the international fashion body who might not have made it to the London shows because of budget or time.

It was a big success, and since then she has introduced such showrooms in Los Angeles, New York and Hong Kong, as well as another in Paris for menswear, and potentially one in Tokyo this year. Read more

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In a few hours (4pm UK time) Burberry will take to the runway at London Fashion Week (that’s chief creative officer Christopher Bailey with Samantha Cameron at the opening reception for LFW, left), and viewers will take to their smart phones not just to watch the show, which is being streamed on pretty much every part of social media you can imagine, but to order coats and bags… with their names on them! They will arrive on their doorstep in nine weeks, which is much earlier than in stores. Not only that: they will also be able to access video of their product being made, just for them. The knees go weak.

Ok, so that sarcasm was maybe a bit uncalled for. On one level I think offering videos of the customised product is a very smart thing. It pulls customers into the process, which provides an increased sense of ownership and also underscores the hand-made side of things, partly justifying the price and categorisation of Burberry as a luxury brand. But on another, this feels a little smoke and mirrors to me. Read more

Yes, it’s more Marc Jacobs news! The Jacobs show, aka the most-anticipated show of NY Fashion week due to the designer’s ability to turn on a dime season after season, has just emailed all of us fashion types to announce they are moving the show from Monday, the usual slot, to Thursday at 8pm due to “weather and production problems”.

Here are some excerpts: Read more

Alastair Carr, design director, and Benoit Duverger, managing director, at Pringle of Scotland talk to Carola Long, FT deputy fashion editor, about the rebel teenager who inspired their Autumn/Winter 2012 look, the brand and the commercial importance of showing at London Fashion week.

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One of the weirder pieces of news to emerge from London Fashion Week so far comes not from a boldface fashion name, but a Savile Row tailor, Cad and the Dandy: it has just gifted a suit to Kim Jong-eun.

Yes, that is correct: North Korea’s new leader. Forget Alexa Chung and other front-row stalwarts seen at shows from Mulberry to Matthew Williamson. This puts a new spin on celebrity dressing, not to mention penetrating the Asian market. Read more

The London 2012 Olympics may not start until July, but Stella McCartney’s personal marathon begins in February. The designer, who is creating the uniforms for Team GB, has agreed to return to London Fashion Week for a one-off extravaganza on February 18. This follows a pre-collection presentation in NY in January and a perfume launch, and precedes her usual autumn/winter collection show in Paris. Expect drumrolls of pre-publicity, fights for tickets, clogged thoroughfares — expect, in other words, an effective dry run for the Olympics proper. Especially when it comes to competition.

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The Chambre Syndicale, French fashion’s governing body, has just announced Versace is returning to the couture schedule eight years after leaving it due to cutbacks. Is this good news? Or rather, is it enough good news?
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Follow the FT’s latest reports from London Fashion Week.  Read more

Follow the FT’s latest reports from London Fashion Week.  Read more

Today at about 4 pm UK time (I say about, because we are talking fashion time, which is always a fungible concept) crowds at Piccadilly Circus will get a treat: broadcast on the big promo screen for all the people to see, the Burberry fashion show, in real time. OMG! Read more

View the pictures in the right panel, and scroll through the review on the left. Read more

Skirts are not the only thing getting longer this season; so, apparently, are job titles. Tom Florio, the ex-VP of the Vogue Group (which once consisted of four magazines but shrank during the recession to two magazines and some web sites) has just landed at IMG, the sports/fashion management monolith, as “Senior Advisor for Fashion to the Office of the Chairman.” It’s a mouthful.

It also sounds awfully like those Minister Without Portfolio titles beloved by so many heads of state, and almost always disliked by everyone else (like cabinet ministers), who feel said minister is spending too much time interfering in other people’s official and titular business.

Certainly the fact that Mr Florio’s job “will be…identifying new, high margin product offerings across all of IMG’s Fashion related businesses” (this from the press release) cannot be encouraging for the folks currently at IMG’s fashion-related business, who apparently were not so good at identifying those opportunities themselves. To allay such fears Florio told the New York Post that when you work with an entrepreneur like IMG chief Ted Forstmann, titles were “irrelevant.”

How reassuring. If you believe that, you might be interested to know Hermes is for sale. Read more

London Fashion Week is drawing to a close today but not without a final finale from luxury fashion house Burberry. Live streaming their show to hundreds of eager consumers in stores across the world, it was the ticket of the week. Read more