London Fashion Week opened on Friday showcasing up-and-coming designers and established names like Vivienne Westwood and Burberry – while Hunter Wellington boots will prove the perfect solution for the torrential rain outside.
Hot on the heels of the New York autumn-winter 2014 shows, 77 designers are showing their latest creations around the British capital in the five-day event.
More than 5,000 buyers, journalists and bloggers from 48 countries are expected to attend the shows in London, which generate more than £100 million in orders, according to the British Fashion Council (BFC).
Alongside the big names, London will showcase the collection by trendy British wellie boot maker Hunter, a timely reminder that outside the fashion bubble, much of the rest of England is being battered by storms and deluged by floods.
“With the British weather, of course this focus on rainwear is certainly of the moment,” BFC chief executive Caroline Rush told reporters.
The ready-to-wear Hunter Original collection, under the stewardship of Stella McCartney’s husband Alasdhair Willis as creative director, will be full of surprises, Rush promised.
“It’s not all about the wellies, but you’ll have to wait until Saturday,” she said.
The opening day’s catwalks focused on the work of graduates of Central St Martins, the London school that is a conveyor belt of fashion talent.
Sister combo Felder Felder, who graduated in 2007, showed bright fabrics inspired by German artist Gerhard Richter, combined with pencil skirts and tops adorned with shredded organza that revealed a tantalising hint of rebellion.
Earlier, South Korea-born Jackie JS Lee’s striking dresses and jackets in white, deep blue and electric blue were often stamped with a chevron motif.
Meanwhile Fyodor Golan, a Latvia-Israeli design duo whose previous experience includes work with Alexander McQueen and Issey Miyake, took their use of innovative textures to a new level with a skirt made of 80 smartphones.
The phones use GPS to sense when the skirt is moving and change their display screens – showing photographs and video – to subtly change the colour of the garment, which is thought to be the first of its kind. Despite the buzz around emerging stars, Rush said the international focus would be on “the whole cohort of future global fashion brands”, citing Christopher Kane, a label snapped up by Kering group, and J.W. Anderson, who has signed a deal with the LVMH luxury brands giant.
“Those deals in the past couple of years have really helped cement the understanding that there is opportunity for growth and investment in young British businesses,” Rush said.
The fashion industry is worth £26 billion to the British economy and employs almost 800,000 people, according to new figures from the BFC. One major contributor is Topshop, the brand that is riding the crest of a wave with a new store opening on New York’s Fifth Avenue and Kate Moss’s latest collection hitting the shops within weeks.
The eagerly awaited catwalk show by its top-end line Unique, drawing on floral prints and school uniforms, takes place today (Sunday).
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