LONDON FASHION WEEK kicks off today and, what with an influx of US buyers flocking to the city, the five-day event is set to be its biggest and best to date. The British Fashion Council has teamed up with YouTube for the first time, in order to broadcast 21 shows live from its LFW channel, making the extravaganza more accessible than ever before.
"I've just returned from New York and what struck me, and people told me, was the palpable excitement of what lay ahead in London this week," said new BFC chairman Natalie Massenet, as she launched LFW at Somerset House this morning. "In September, I stood here and promised do my homework and over the last few months Caroline and I have been planning and plotting, and have met with lots of designers and we have a plan. It is to take a holistic 365-day view to grow the industry. The time is now to make things happen for British fashion in a big way. We want to celebrate being the most exciting fashion capital in the world."
The schedule sees new additions in the form of L'Wren Scott, who joins the London line-up for the first time on Sunday; the London College of Fashion who will present its students' MA collections; and Vogue cover girlRihanna, who will unveil her debut collection for River Island in what is expected to be a star-studded media frenzy on Saturday evening, followed by a party that is set to be one the season's key evening soirées. River Island isn't the only high street chain to move into LFW territory - Whistles will hold an off-schedule salon-style show on Sunday morning.
Julien Macdonald will make his return to the schedule on Saturday, following a two-season absence, while Joanna Sykes will make her first outing for Nicole Farhi on Sunday - following her appointment as the label's creative director in July last year. Another show to be amassing a buzz (and thought to be a key reason behind the increased interest from US fashion leaders this season), is Tom Ford- who will stage his first full-scale womenswear show in London on Monday, an event that is known for being notoriously private and exclusive. Victoria Beckham,Donatella Versace and Diane von Furstenberg will host another must-see event on Saturday evening - theInternational Woolmark Prize - as they team up to choose fashion's next rising star.
Naturally, we're excited to see what the capital's crop of emerging talents have in store, Mary Katrantzou, JW Anderson, Peter Pilotto, Jonathan Saunders andMeadham Kirchhoff among them, as well as London's established names such as Burberry, Mulberry, Paul Smith, Preen, Matthew Williamson and Temperley London. Monday's line-up will give us some of the British fashion world's exciting new names, including Erdem andChristopher Kane - the latter's first show since signing a majority stake deal with luxury conglomerate PPR, a company that hasn't signed a British label since buying Alexander McQueen in 2001. Although the Scottish designer won't have had much time to use PPR's support to its full extent yet (the sale was announced last month), all eyes will be on his latest collection as he enters the next stage in his design career.
'"London Fashion Week is a dazzling showcase of great British talent," said Mayor of London Boris Johnson. "Its significance has been growing over the last few years, with strong attendance by press and buyers from around the world. With Natalie Massenet now at the helm, her eye for fashion and innovative ideas about selling will ensure it goes from strength to strength and inspire future generations to seek out jobs in this vibrant and creative sector. As well as investing in London Fashion Week, I will continue to do all I can to support the industry, which is so important to our city's prosperity.''
Contribution from Vogue.com
The first designer to have her designs on the catwalk is:
DESIGNER NAME: Zoë Jordan
BACKGROUND: Zoë studied architecture, however her love for clothing construction prevailed and Zoë Jordan was launched in spring/summer 12.
SIGNATURES: "The coming together of the androgynous and the feminine, handsome and ethereal, structured and languid. Essentially, Zoë Jordan represents feminine swagger and a boyish insouciance."
IDEAL CLIENT: “She's the boys’ best friend and the girls’ confidante.”
TRADEMARK PIECE: "Beautifully tailored coats with a Savile Row influence."
THE COLLECTION: “European architecture - stark minimalist monochrome interiors vs. Duomos (Cathedrals) of renaissance Italy.”
CULTURAL INFLUENCES: “Travel, interiors, music, art, the street, the bus - inspiration can evolve from anywhere! I am passionate about contemporary art and am always on the hunt. Recently I bought some photographs by a young Chinese artist and my latest exciting find is Noémie Goudal, she is going to be big news. As far as music goes, we have a cool, young Irish band kicking off the show with a bang for us this Fashion Week!”
PLANS FOR 2013: “It’s a huge honour to be opening London Fashion Week this season! Pressure is on!”
WALPOLE Awards for Excellence- Best Emerging British Luxury Brand- Finalist 2012
Shortlisted for the BFC/Vogue Designer Fashion Fund 2012
You can find Zoë Jordan at www.zoe-jordan.com