After the riots which swept the capital, there is no doubt that London is in need of some good media coverage. What better tonic than the froth and glamour of London Fashion Week? It seems though that this year’s offering is already falling flat.
While London’s fashion scene is famous for its energetic and eclectic vibe, the capital’s September Fashion Week is failing to pull in some of the biggest brands around. While London was named the "world’s top fashion capital of 2011" by Global Fashion Monitor - doubtless helped by the Duchess of Cambridge’s wedding dress - London Fashion Week itself seems to be slipping off the radar.
Of course, it doesn’t help that New York Fashion Week has moved its dates so that London is now the drab filling in the fashion sandwich, sliced up by Milan on on side and New York the other. Many models are simply flying from Milan to the Big Apple, leaving London in their jet stream.
London is creative, innovative, and cool but it doesn’t have the money to attract some of the hottest names in the modelling world. The Cibeles in Madrid, subsidised by the government, coincides with London Fashion Week and anyway, during that time Milan agencies are casting models for their shows. Many models would rather walk down the catwalk for Gucci than primp and preen for a London label.
Even some of Britain’s home grown talent have turned their backs on their native land. Former Spice Girl Victoria Beckham is showing her collection in New York, Alistair McQueen is showing in Milan, while Stella McCartney is saving her main catwalk collection for Paris (although she has generously gifted us her Adidas collection; cheers, Stel).
However, Tom Ford has shown some loyalty to his roots and has been scheduled to return to show in London for the first time this season. A good sign, and one that the British Fashion Council hopes will lead to other big name designers showcasing their collections here. They are apparently already in talks with several designers who are keen to share the spotlight when London hosts the 2012 Olympics.
Lucy Yeomans, editor of Harper’s Bazaar, points out that if some of the bigger names put on shows at London Fashion Week then the American editors would come over more than once every two or three seasons. "People talk a lot about Stella McCartney and Alexander McQueen. Those are the two people we would love to come back. I don't know what Anna Wintour's plans are," says Yeomans. "But if we had Stella and McQueen showing here, you'd see her here every season."
It may be too late for London Fashion Week this year but with the world’s eyes firmly fixed on London during the 2012 Olympics, here’s hoping that our fashion week can hog the limelight for the city a little while longer. Fingers crossed.