High hopes for British luxury ahead of London Fashion Week

By Li-mei Hoang and Marie-Louise Gumuchian

LONDON (Reuters) - British designers such as Vivienne Westwood, Paul Smith and Burberry's Christopher Bailey are among the top names who will show off their creations during London fashion week from Friday amid high hopes for growth in Britain's luxury sector.

Even as retailers start packing their stores with winter stock, September is one of the most important months in the fashion calendar as the four big catwalk fixtures - New York, London, Milan and Paris - gear up for spring/summer 2014.

Long seen as the smaller sibling to the other fashion capitals, London is best known as a showcase for cutting edge talent and avant-garde trends, mixing new names such as Simone Rocha with established designers like Westwood.

The spring/summer and autumn/winter fashion weeks in London each attract more than 100 million pounds ($160 million) in orders, according to the British Fashion Council (BFC) as well as buyers, journalists and bloggers from around the world.

"It's an exciting time for London with a host of established brands such as Tom Ford and Burberry firmly on the calendar alongside new talent and labels which are growing," said Helen David, head of womenswear at luxury department store Harrods.

"The city's reputation for innovative and eclectic designs continues to be cemented."

Despite a still struggling global economy, British fashion brands are hoping to cash in on evidence of a rebound in the luxury sector as solid demand in Japan and the United States combined with recovery in Europe offset China's slowdown.

Burberry, known for its camel, red and black check pattern, posted an 18 percent jump in first quarter sales, driven by robust demand for spring/summer fashion.

The British luxury sector is forecast to almost double in size over the next five years from 6.6 billion pounds in 2012 to 12.2 billion pounds in 2017, according to a Ledbury Research and Walpole Luxury Benchmark study published in July.

"The UK luxury industry is set for strong growth, despite a difficult environment in Europe," the study said. "British luxury brands remain optimistic ... with 83 percent of luxury brands expecting to see a rise in sales in 2013."

NEW NAMES

This week Finance Minister George Osborne said the British economy had turned a corner. Fashion contributes 21 billion pounds to Britain's $2.5 trillion economy, BFC figures show and, as the largest employer of all the creative industries, it also is estimated to support 816,000 jobs.

In a bid to boost its value, BFC chairman Natalie Massenet has called on Londoners be at their "most stylish" and give the city its "boldest and brightest fashion face" for fashion week.

Writing in the Evening Standard newspaper, she said: "All eyes will be on you as our international guests will be tweeting, instagramming and reporting ... across the world, all of which will help grow our brands, stimulate exports, create new jobs and generally make us a must-visit city."

Known for its verve and creativity, London continues to attract foreign names. Last season, U.S. designer Tom Ford made his catwalk debut here and this week celebrity-favorite shoe designer Manolo Blahnik will host a presentation.

Some 58 catwalk shows for spring/summer 2014 will be held from September 13-17, including other known brands such as Mulberry, Julien Macdonald, Temperley London and Matthew Williamson.

Fashionistas, also keeping an eye out for newer names such as Thomas Tait and Christopher Kane, say they expect last season's androgyny to continue to make its mark.

"I think this feminine/masculine unisex duality ... is going to continue," Navaz Batliwalla, founder of fashion blog Disneyrollergirl, said. "I think we've still got a bit more mileage on that part and I think there is a lot of brilliant technical innovations in terms of the fabrics."

($1 = 0.6361 British pounds)

(Writing by Marie-Louise Gumuchian, Editing by Paul Casciato and Alison Williams)

Most Viewed

  • Dum Laga Ke Haisha Star Bhumi Pednekar Has Lost Weight!
    Dum Laga Ke Haisha Star Bhumi Pednekar Has Lost Weight!

    Bhumi Pednekar made her Bollywood debut opposite Ayushmann Khurrana in Dum Laga Ke Haisha doesn’t actually look even tiny bit close to her character from the movie. The reason why we didn’t see Bhumi come in front of media to interact, as her character and role in the film was kept a secret from audiences. …

  • Swine flu hits Sonam, Vidhu Vinod Chopra & family
    Swine flu hits Sonam, Vidhu Vinod Chopra & family

    Actress Sonam Kapoor who was diagnosed with swine flu on Friday was moved to Kokilaben Ambani Hospital in Mumbai. …

  • Sunny Leone Recreates Zeenat Aman’s Hot Look!
    Sunny Leone Recreates Zeenat Aman’s Hot Look!

    For her upcoming film Ek Paheli Leela, Sunny Leone has recreated Zeenat Aman’s iconic look from Satyam Shivam Sundaram where she’s shown to be wearing a white sari. Elaborating on the look, director Bobby Khan says, “The way SSS captured Zeenatji’s beauty was beautiful. When I bounced the idea off Sunny, she immediately approved. Our film has glamour but we’ve kept Indian sentiments in mind, which is why she wore a spaghetti top with her sari.” Directed by Bobby Khan starring Sunny Leone, …

  • Why Is Salman Khan Sniffing Camphor And Cinnamon?
    Why Is Salman Khan Sniffing Camphor And Cinnamon?

    We had recently reported that Sonam Kapoor has tested positive for Swineflu, and after spending a brief period at Sterling hospital in Rajkot, she has been moved to a suburban hospital in Mumbai. After Sonam was diagnosed on the sets of Prem Ratan Dhan Payo, the crew has obviously been on high alert and everyone has been tested. The team is currently shooting in the garden owned by Maharani of Gondal, Kumud Kumari. …

  • Pooja Misrra Sues TV Channel: Claims 'Farah Ki Dawat' Was Her Concept
    Pooja Misrra Sues TV Channel: Claims 'Farah Ki Dawat' Was Her Concept

    The controversial Pooja Misrra, who became an overnight sensation after participating in Bigg Boss Season 5, has sued a renowned TV channel for allegedly stealing her concept of a cookery show, which is now being hosted by Farah Khan (Farah Ki Daawat). In a legal notice sent to the TV channel, which airs the show, Pooja's legal representatives have said, ''All boundaries of professionalism and decency were crossed when Colors went ahead and plagiarized 'Pooja Misrra Productions 'maiden cookery …

  • When Sonam Kapoor Crashed Out On The Sets Of Prem Ratan Dhan Payo
    When Sonam Kapoor Crashed Out On The Sets Of Prem Ratan Dhan Payo

    Seems like Actress Sonam Kapoor is having her hectic schedules these days. She is been shooting in Gujarat with actor Salman Khan for their next film of Sooraj Barjatya’s Prem Ratan Dhan Payo. Take a look at the photographs of Sonam Kapoor, she just crashed out, looking so comfortable, she took a quick nap on the sets of Prem Ratan Dhan Payo. Sonam Kapoor has been attending various events and award shows and equally she is managing her shooting of her upcoming movie Prem Ratan Dhan Payo with …

  • Oops! Sonakshi Sinha Does It Again!
    Oops! Sonakshi Sinha Does It Again!

    Sonakshi Sinha never goes out looking for trouble, because trouble usually finds her. The actress broke her hand again! Sonakshi Sinha took to her Instagram account and posted a picture of her injured hand, wrapped in pink bandage. Last night, on Friday, Varun Dhawan threw a Badlapur success bash and the actress, like a good and supporting friend, made it to the party, even with her broken hand. …

  • Sonam Kapoor Tests Positive For Swine Flu, Hospitalised
    Sonam Kapoor Tests Positive For Swine Flu, Hospitalised

    Actress Sonam Kapoor was recently discharged from hospital suffering from respiratory infection. Later she soon resumed back to work at Gujarat for shooting of her upcoming movie Prem Ratan Dhan Payo. Sonam Kapoor’s mother Sunita Kapoor had visited Gujarat on Saturday and took her by air-ambulance. Watch Video Here Sonam Kapoor has been shooting with actor Salman Khan for Sooraj Barjatya’s Prem Ratan Dhan Payo at Gondal in Gujarat from last 10 days. …

Loading...