At fashion week this season I got to thinking: where else would you see a brand’s 125th anniversary collection (Daks), followed by the first full collection from a graduate who finished her BA degree just six months ago (Louise Alsop)?
Or where would a well-established 60-year-old designer (John Rocha) show on the same schedule as his 28-year-old daughter (Simone Rocha)?
The answer is, only in London. Running from February 14-18, last week’s London Fashion Week was as packed and diverse as ever, with global brands and conglomerate-backed designers showing alongside rising stars and fresh-faced graduates. And that has always been London’s calling card; not that it was always necessarily a good thing.
Once upon a time London was the edgier, rebellious sister of Milan and Paris. A centre of creativity, but commerciality was often a dirty word. It was the place where designers could go crazy but buyers remained reserved.
But this edition was arguably the best and most rounded to date, with designers balancing creative credentials, design leadership and covetable, but most importantly, sellable collections. There were numerous strong ranges with a host of buying opportunities, offering a point of difference in store and online (some of my favourites are pictured on my Instagram page).
And buyers were out in force. All the UK’s major department stores and designer stockists were joined by a raft of independents, alongside a similarly impressive international contingent.
Now I just hope those buyers, who happily attend and heap praise on the event, put their money where their mouths are. Our designers have done their part and now the buyers must do theirs. If no orders are written then no shoppers can buy the clothes, and it would seem fashion week really is just an exercise in PR, social media hype and front-page gossip fodder. London’s designers are better than that. See page 47 for our picks of the top trends and the designers doing them.
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