London Fashion Week kicked off this week with fashion labels such as Burberry, Tom Ford and Vivienne Westwood all starring on the catwalk, and word on the street is that this years show is set to be the best ever.
LFW boasts a show stopping schedule of stars that includes our very own punk Queen Vivienne Westwood, the quintessential British label Mulberry, the colour popping Matthew Williamson – famous for his Butterfly Collection, and Welsh wonder Julien Macdonald, returning after a two-season break.
Most expectations come in the form of the Tom Ford show, which is an exclusive event scheduled for Sunday, where the designer will showcase his talents with a full catwalk show in London for the first time. Ford, who previously designed at Gucci and Yves Saint Laurent, and has dressed everyone from Michelle Obama to James Bond star Daniel Craig, had previously only staged exclusive presentations here.
But it’s not just the big brands that are attracting attention, as High Street labels are also making their debuts this week.
The most anticipated show, has to be Rihanna’s Collection for River Island, and the very fact that the High Street store has made it onto LFW is surely down to the Barbadian singer’s influence. On designing the collection for River Island, Rihanna said in an interview with Vogue magazine: “This has been something I wanted to do ever since I started loving fashion. Every time I saw something on a rack there was something I wanted to do to change it, and so I thought that the only way I could do that is by designing the perfect thing for me.”
It would appear that Fashion Weeks are subtlely changing by allowing High Street brands to showcase their collections, as only last week, New York Fashion Week included several high street brands amongst the designer labels. And River Island is not the only High Street brand taking advantage of this new shift towards main retailers; Whistles is set to show a catwalk collection, alongside the now stalwart Unique for Topshop show that has fashionistas fighting over coveted tickets each year.
Whistles CEO and former Topshop brand director Jane Shepherdson said she was excited about the impending catwalk show. She said: “We’ve spent the last couple of years refining the collection till we were happy that it completely reflected our original vision. The 25 looks we show are almost the very essence of Whistles, the most gorgeous 10 per cent of the pieces that will go in store in autumn.”
Other High Street brands to feature at LFW include Henry Holland, who frequently designs for Debenhams, Peter Pilotto, a favourite of Christine Bleakley, Mary Katrantzou, whose multi print dresses were a hit with celebrities such as Alesha Dixon last year, and Erdem, who is a favourite designer of the Duchess of Cambridge.
So are we now seeing a watering down of designs at LFW, or is the fashion show becoming more aware of what real customers want, in these times of economic austerity? One thing is for sure, the boundary between designer labels and High Street retailers is definitely blurring, as top fashion houses are no longer leading the way in creating trends that the rest of the fashion industry must follow. In fact, many High Street stores are now dictating the way we dress, long before the creation or idea has hit the catwalk.