Hype is out of style in London

LONDON FASHION Week kicks off this weekend and while, for the past few seasons, Britain's fashion capital has managed to live up to the hype of recent years, this season the future looks less rosy.

The Cool Britannia moniker is nothing short of derisory these days. Yesterday's decidedly uncool press call, the brainchild of the beleaguered British Fashion Council (BFC), featuring Wonderbra model Adriana Sklenarikova with "I love London" emblazoned across her bra and shorts, didn't help much. This, coupled with over-stated reports in the press of a mass exodus on the part of our designers to more lucrative and sunny climes (Milan and New York, to be precise) has only fuelled speculation that there are bad times ahead.

Antonio Berardi - it is true - has decamped to Milan; as an established designer. He is not unwise to have moved on to a more commercially motivated fashion capital. Vivienne Westwood showed her Red Label diffusion line in New York last week. She did so more to publicise the opening of her new shop there than because of any antipathy towards London, where she continues to live and work. Philip Treacy also showed in New York, although he will show in London next week also. He has done this once before. More serious, however, is the fact that Alexander McQueen, it was yesterday confirmed, will almost certainly be showing in New York next season.

"We need to build up our business there," said a McQueen spokeswoman. "We do well in New York and in Los Angeles but so far there's very little happening in between."

She stressed, though, that London-born McQueen would be returning to London the season after that.

This is not the first time our big-name designers have moved on, however. Most famous was the departure of John Galliano to Paris in the early Nineties. Katharine Hamnett, Rifat Ozbek and Westwood again all left London for Paris once they had outgrown the still relatively small business infrastructure that supports our designers.

What's more, their departure made way for younger designers, McQueen included, to make their mark.

More than any other fashion capital, London is famous for showcasing fledgling design talent, too raw to penetrate the still far more bourgeois fashion capitals of Milan, Paris and New York.

To this end, next week's series of shows includes an unofficial schedule that boasts names like Shelley Fox. She is the recent recipient of the first Jerwood Fashion Prize, the largest award of its kind to date and a business back-up for designers. There is also a debut collection by Markus Lupfer, who was formerly a design assistant at Clements Ribeiro and also a Jerwood finalist.

On the official schedule, meanwhile, Robert Cary-Williams, Tristan Webber, Seraph and Mulligan are all names to watch.

Despite rumours otherwise, Hussein Chalayan - expected to win British Designer of the Year - is showing in London for now. This, coupled with showings by more established names - Ghost, Paul Smith, Betty Jackson and Jasper Conran, to name just a few - makes London more than worth looking at.

Simon Wilson, chief executive at the BFC, said yesterday: "We are hoping that overseas attendance figures will be higher than ever this season - 2,000 press and buyers are expected to come through the doors."

Among them will be American Vogue's Anna Wintour, flying in for this season, as well as senior buyers from both America and Europe.

More good news comes from Vidal Sassoon, who announced last week that he will continue to sponsor London Fashion Week for the next five years, to the tune of pounds 2.2m.

By international standards, it may still be early days for London but it would be wise for people to allow it to build on the considerable impression it has made up until now.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
News
Richard Norris in GQ
mediaGQ features photo shoot with man who underwent full face transplant
News
Gardai wait for the naked man, who had gone for a skinny dip in Belfast Lough
newsTwo skinny dippers threatened with inclusion on sex offenders’ register as naturists criminalised
News
Your picture is everything in the shallow world of online dating
i100
News
The Swiss Re tower or 'Gherkin' was at one time the UK’s most expensive office when German bank IVG and private equity firm Evans Randall bought it
news
Life and Style
Attractive women on the Internet: not a myth
techOkCupid boasts about Facebook-style experiments on users
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Project Manager (HR)- Bristol - Upto £400 p/day

£350 - £400 per annum + competitive: Orgtel: Project Manager (specializing in ...

Embedded Linux Engineer

£40000 - £50000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: Embedded Sof...

Senior Hardware Design Engineer - Broadcast

£50000 - £65000 per annum + Benefits: Progressive Recruitment: Working for a m...

Reconciliation Analyst

£200 - £250 per day: Orgtel: Reconciliation Analyst Gloucestershire

Day In a Page

The children were playing in the street with toy guns. The air strikes were tragically real

The air strikes were tragically real

The children were playing in the street with toy guns
Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite – The British, as others see us

Britain as others see us

Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite
Countries that don’t survey their tigers risk losing them altogether

Countries that don’t survey their tigers risk losing them

Jonathon Porritt sounds the alarm
How did our legends really begin?

How did our legends really begin?

Applying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
Watch out: Lambrusco is back on the menu

Lambrusco is back on the menu

Naff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz
A new Russian revolution: Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc

A new Russian revolution

Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc
Eugene de Kock: Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

The debate rages in South Africa over whether Eugene de Kock should ever be released from jail
Standing my ground: If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?

Standing my ground

If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?
Commonwealth Games 2014: Dai Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Welsh hurdler was World, European and Commonwealth champion, but then the injuries crept in
Israel-Gaza conflict: Secret report helps Israelis to hide facts

Patrick Cockburn: Secret report helps Israel to hide facts

The slickness of Israel's spokesmen is rooted in directions set down by pollster Frank Luntz
The man who dared to go on holiday

The man who dared to go on holiday

New York's mayor has taken a vacation - in a nation that has still to enforce paid leave, it caused quite a stir, reports Rupert Cornwell
Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business, from Sarah Millican to Marcus Brigstocke

Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business

For all those wanting to know how stand-ups keep standing, here are some of the best moments
The Guest List 2014: Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks

The Guest List 2014

Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks
Jokes on Hollywood: 'With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on'

Jokes on Hollywood

With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on