French turn to London fashion

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The Independent Online

François-Henri Pinault, the chairman and chief executive at French fashion giant PPR, will be talent spotting at London Fashion Week tomorrow with his wife, the actress Salma Hayek.

The couple will attend the highly anticipated show by Scottish designer Christopher Kane, who sold a 51 per cent stake in his business to PPR last month. Mr Pinault is on the hunt for new luxury brands as he looks to sell PPR's mass-market businesses.

Group managing director Jean-François Palus described Kane as the group's "new baby" and said: "We have learnt about the specifics of the English touch through our British designers. They are very up-to-date with technology and we can learn from them."

Although PPR's profits are largely generated by its three big brands – Gucci, YSL and Bottega Veneta – its 11 younger lines, including Stella McCartney and Alexander McQueen, posted 20 per cent sales growth last week for the final quarter of 2012.

Mr Palus added that PPR is keen to tap into the "spirit and energy" of the UK's best designers as the industry descends on London Fashion Week.