Friday, October 25, 2013

Are 'Feminine' Looks The Future Of Men’s Fashion?

Some fashion trends sneak up on you. Others ring out loud and clear. Last week, as the Spring ’14 menswear shows kicked off in London, one trend sounded with all the subtlety of an air horn: androgyny is the new black.

The most forceful expression of this theme came from up-and-coming brand JW Anderson. The five-year-old label comprises collections for men and women, and designer Jonathan Anderson likes to overlap the look of the two. Last season, for instance, Anderson showed pairs of ruffled shorts for men much like the ones in his Spring ’13 womenswear collection.

And this time, Anderson’s dominant silhouette was a lean tunic paired with fluid, elongated trousers, another shape he’d begun to articulate in his previous womenswear show. But the look that got eyebrows arching and tongues wagging was Anderson’s male halter top: backless, semi-sheer and floral patterned, the look was unavoidably effeminate. “Atrocious,” sneered The Daily Mail.

JW Anderson´s Halter Men´s Tops
Anderson is upfront about the fact that he likes testing the boundaries between men’s and women’s clothes. But he insists that he’s not setting out to create controversy; for him, the gender-bending emerges organically, out of formal risk-taking.

“In a way, it’s funny that people had such a strong reaction to that look,” Anderson tells me. “I mean, that top started as a long raglan mac. And then we cut the sleeves off, and then we made it short. When you’re in the studio,” he goes on, “that kind of experimentation feels normal. In fact, it’s the point. You’re playing with a piece of fabric, trying to create a new line, a new proportion. But then you present that to the world, on a runway, and it becomes this ‘thing.’”

A Pattern Forming

If Jonathan Anderson were an outlier, one mad designer whipping up androgynous looks out of a surfeit of aesthetic zeal, that would be interesting. But what’s more interesting is the fact that Anderson is not alone. Another London up-and-comer, Shaun Sampson, showed pale pink organza board shorts and ‘skirts’ made to look like beach towels. At Alexander McQueen, creative director Sarah Burton opened the show with a fitted suit of white lace.

The Topman show featured fanciful cowboys, and embroidered florals. At a certain point, it started to feel unfair, or arbitrary, to think of those looks as ‘feminine’. I found myself wondering: who decided that men couldn’t wear lace? Or skirts, for that matter? Back in ancient Greece, guys were wearing togas, right? So when did all this vigilance around masculinity happen, exactly?

Sarah Burton´s Suit Of Lace
“I feel like we’ve been in a really conservative moment,” notes Martine Rose, another London-based menswear designer who tests gender conventions with her clothes. “It’s so lazy, this way of thinking – that ‘real’ men wear this, but not that. I was really influenced by [funk musician] Rick James, for this collection,” she continues, “and he was so sexy, so gangster, and wearing ruffled shirts and thigh-high red boots. He wasn’t letting his clothes define his sexuality. Or his masculinity.”

Rose’s new collection featured all manner of ‘feminine’ detail. What made it intriguing, though, was the fact that the attitude of the clothes was so incontrovertibly masculine. Rose draws a great deal of inspiration from sport, and beyond that, from the way even non-sporty guys wind up integrating athletic kit into their wardrobes. This season, she expanded that concept into lace-frilled running shorts and blouson trousers with the indolent slouch of tracksuit bottoms.

‘Crisis Of Confidence’?

“Footballers back in the seventies, they used to wear those little shorts,” Rose muses. “No one was questioning their manliness; other guys wanted to look like them, in fact. And they were sexy, those footballers. They had the confidence to show their bodies, and to be playful.”

Confidence. If there’s one thing these new androgynous looks demand of men, it’s that. Which raises the question: have the über-masculine looks dominating menswear up to now been signaling a crisis of male confidence?

When The Atlantic magazine publishes cover stories that trumpet ´The End Of Men´, it’s tempting to read the advent of Don Draper, style icon, as channeling nostalgia for an era when men were the breadwinners. Likewise, the rise of earthy looks – lumberjack hipsters, and all that – could be symptomatic of revanchist idolatry of the ‘manly’ man, who would never, ever change a diaper.

Topman Goes Romantic And Feminine
But you could just as easily argue that Mad Men fetishists in the US are really just sentimental for the days when America was coming up in the world. And all those guys in their Woolrich parkas and plaid flannel, well, maybe their dreams are of working with the hard, physical matter of the world, rather than the e-stuff and iThings of our virtual age.

Fine And Dandy

The point is, clothes can be complicated. They can tell a few stories, all at once. And so it’s entirely probable that there’s more to this gender-blurring fashion moment than gender.

Dandyism, wrote the 19th Century poet and essayist Charles Baudelaire, emerges in times of transition. And at such moments, he asserted, “a certain number of men, disenchanted and leisured ‘outsiders’…may conceive the idea of establishing a new kind of aristocracy.”

What Baudelaire is talking about, of course, is taste. And when Jonathan Anderson explains that his controversial halter tops were the product of his desire to create “a new line,” he’s talking about taste, too. So is Charlie Casely-Hayford, co-founder of the luxury menswear brand Casely-Hayford, when he says that feminine elements give his brand’s natty suits a sense of “refinement.”

You could argue that what we’re seeing on menswear runways right now is the establishment of Baudelaire’s aristocracy of taste. The folks in the front row were perfectly blasé about the halter tops at JW Anderson’s show. Their focus was on the way Anderson finessed the look, and his conviction in selling it.

Martine Rose´s Feminine Elements
There’s a kind of ivory tower thinking at work in this, no doubt about it. But I’m willing to bet that, given some time, the public will come around to some version of this new unisex aesthetic. It’s happened before: as Martine Rose pointed out, there was a fey moment back in the seventies. And the feminine influence is already apparent in a handful of brands, like Casely-Hayford, that traffic in relatively conventional men’s clothes.

And Charlie Casely-Hayford agrees that, in time, his customer will fully come round. “We want to challenge our customer, but we don’t want to freak him out,” he says. “So every season, I’m asking myself – can we do a skirt? Will he understand? We’re almost there,” he adds. “But, you know, not quite yet.

London's Brazilian Star Heads To Florence

Barbara Casasola will be the next women's guest designer at the Pitti show, set to take place in Florence from January 7th -10th next year.

"I am so honoured to be the next Pitti Women's Guest Designer," Casasola told us today. "It's a great opportunity to create an environment around my designs and tell the story of who the Barbara Casasola woman is."

Barbara Casasola
Born in Brazil but based in London, Casasola is a rising star of the city's Fashion Week. A former Central Saint Martins student, she soon attracted the attention of Roberto Cavalli who enlisted her to his womenswear team as soon as she graduated.

"All her work is produced in Italy and this is another reason why we are interested in her," said Lapo Cianchi, director of communication at Pitti Immagine. "We are convinced that she is on the verge of taking her place on the front line of international women's fashion, and that is why we offered her a platform at Pitti."

See Kate Moss’s First Ever Photoshoot

Pictures of Kate Moss's first ever photoshoot are set to go on show in a new exhibition at London's Lawrence Alkin Gallery, opening on October 31. Photographer David Ross was asked by his friend - Sarah Doukas, who had recently set up her own modelling agency, Storm - to take pictures of a then-14-year old ingénue called Kate Moss, and those first pictures are soon to be displayed to the public

"Kate was a young girl like any other, but with a certain teenage air about her that was piercing," said Ross. "She was against the grain of any other look of the time. She was a cool kid and refreshing in that sense. She just had an attitude and an expression that kind of came easy, I guess."

According to Ross, the Croydon-born beauty didn't seem nervous, but he did his best to ensure that she was as comfortable as possible. The images themselves show the supermodel at her freshest and most pared-back. She wears a white, printed jumper and is seen both laughing and straight-faced.

Kate Moss
"I tried to make her feel safe about trying things if she wanted to," he said. "I told her that she was unique and, when I spoke to her, I just willed upon her what I wanted to achieve for her new agency. She didn't need to really do anything - that's the secret. You see, modelling is an art form and having a natural sense of how much to do and how little to do is a skill that you either have or you don't."

With 25 years passed since the pictures were first taken, and Moss's name now universally known, Ross admits that - although he could never have guessed what was in store for his young muse - there was something very special about her.

"These pictures are proof that Kate Moss holds the same mystique as Marilyn Monroe, who had the same elements about her during Fifties," he said. "In many ways, Kate has the sense of just knowing what she can do to people looking at her, via camera or not." 

"Kate Moss: Roll 1" is open from October 30 until November 3 at the Lawrence Alkin Gallery, Soho, London.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

The New Model Laws

Child models in New York - that is, those under the age of 16 - will now be afforded the same protection offered to other young performers, like actors and singers. Coco Rocha joined Sara Ziff, founder and executive director of the Model Alliance, at a press conference yesterday to celebrate the development.

"Having once been a child model myself, I know all too well that, up until now, a large underage workforce has lived and worked under very little legal protection in 21st century New York," Rocha said. "I'm so excited to see us make a huge step in the right direction, and I'm thrilled that Ive been able to be a part of such a momentous moment which is sure to change the future of our industry for the better."

Child Model Protection Law
The law, which becomes effective November 20, will ensure the following:

• A responsible person will be designated to monitor the activity and safety for each child performer under the age of 16 in the work place.

• Employers must provide a nurse with paediatric experience as well as health and safety information.

• An education requirement decrees that employers must provide teachers and a dedicated space for instruction.

• A financial trust must be established by a child model's parent or guardian into which an employer must transfer at least 15 per cent of the child's gross earnings.

"This is a major step for minors, made possible by the convergence of two social trends," Susan Scafidi, founder and academic director of the Fashion Law Institute at Fordham Law School, said. "Concern over children's welfare, and the increased recognition of fashion as an art form - thus models as performers."

Henry's Topshop Tights

Henry Holland has designed an exclusive collection of tights for Topshop.

Comprising three different patterns; optician's chart letters, palm trees and dollar signs. The capsule edit has Holland's rebellious street style stamp all over it. The House of Holland label is no stranger to hosiery, having previously created tights for Pretty Polly, which quickly became as sought after as the brand's statement T-shirts and were worn by stars including Jessie J, Ellie Goulding and Pixie Lott.

Henry Holland For River Island
The collection will be available in store and online at

Rihanna For River Island: The Christmas Finale

Rihanna has unveiled her final collection for River Island. The range lands in stores and online on November 7th.

The singer had seasonal celebrations in mind when it came to her latest fashion offering, injecting florals and metallic to "make it more elegant". As you'd expect, there are plenty of glittering dresses, strappy heels and skintight skirts, but also more casual pieces that allude to the star's tomboyish streak - including bomber jackets and denim jumpsuits. 

Rihanna For River Island
Rihanna wants you to be warm this winter, so she's incorporated faux fur cossack hats, ribbed hooded tops and a fur-timmed puffer jacket. Tartan is the pattern of choice, and appears on crop tops, tapered trousers and outerwear.

The Designer Of The Royal Christening Gown Revealed

The designer of the historic royal christening gown has been revealed as Janet Sutherland, the daughter of a Scottish coal miner from Falkirk, who received the title Embroiderer to the Queen for her efforts. The garment - worn by 60 royal babies since it was created for Queen Victoria's eldest daughter in 1841 - will not by worn by Prince George when he is christened at St James's Palace on Wednesday, however, as it is now too fragile. He will instead wear a replica made by the Queen's couturier, Angela Kelly.

"I am very proud to think an ordinary woman from a working-class background could have designed such a beautiful robe," Sutherland's great-great-great niece, Patricia Perry, told the The Sunday Times. "I look forward to seeing the replica on Prince George."

The white Spitalfields silk-satin gown, which has cap sleeves and a Honiton cotton lace overlay, was created to resemble the dress that Queen Victoria wore for her marriage to Prince Albert in 1840. The garment has been worn by every monarch since Edward VII - and was also worn by Prince William and his father Prince Charles.

A Royal Christening
The gown was last worn by Lady Louise Windsor, daughter of the Earl and Countess of Wessex, in 2004, while her younger brother James, Viscount Severn, was the first to wear the replica in 2008.

It was also rumoured this weekend that photographer Jason Bell - known for his work with publications including Vogue, Vanity Fair and GQ - has secured the commission to photograph the christening. Although he declined to comment, the two other photographers thought to be on the shortlist with Bell - John Swannell and Jillian Edelstein - both confirmed that they had not been chosen.

Enter Planet Chanel: Behind The Scenes With Lagerfeld

Karl Lagerfeld´s Chanel space odyssey is well underway for autumn / winter 2013 - and as the second drop of the collection arrives in store, the designer has shared behind-the-scenes pictures of the campaign shoot with us.

Chanel: Space Odyssey
The models on the catwalk orbited a giant globe at the show in February, and the designer brings the same otherworldly inspiration to the campaign shoot. From graphic eye make-up and poker-straight hair, to helmet-like hoods and chain-adorned boots, the pieces are brought to extraterrestrial life by Lagerfeld on set - complete with "floating" Chanel bags and gravity-defying furniture.

Kate Moss Joins The Vogue Team

Kate Moss is to become a British Vogue magazine contributing fashion editor, with her first story due to feature in a forthcoming spring issue. This marks the first time that the model - who has starred on 33 Vogue covers  since her debut for March 1993, as well as numerous shoots inside - will be directing the other side of the creative experience. She will be a hands-on editor, joining the rest of theVogue fashion team of stylists and working with her choice of photographers and models.

"I am absolutely delighted that Kate is going to work with us in this new role," Alexandra Shulman said this morning. "Her undoubtedly brilliant sense of style, depth of fashion knowledge and understanding of what makes a wonderful image will be exciting to see on the pages of British Vogue. I am really looking forward to working with her on ideas."

Kate Moss
"We are absolutely thrilled at Kate's appointment," said Sarah Doukas, founder of Storm Models, which represents Moss. "This is a natural development in her remarkable career. Bringing her unique sense of style and creative sensibility to Vogue is the perfect fit. She is the definitive Vogue cover girl."

Bowie Crowned Most Stylish Briton In History

David Bowie has been crowned the best-dressed Briton in history. The musician came top of the BBC History magazine's shortlist, which is chosen by various historians, fashion experts and curators.

Bowie - whose recent V&A retrospective was the fastest-selling exhibition in the museum's history - won 48.5 per cent of public votes. He was followed by Queen Elizabeth I in second place.

"David Bowie has received many accolades in his glittering career, but surely none of them compare to being voted the best-dressed Briton of all time," said the BBCmagazine's editor Rob Attar. "Bowie had to overcome a king, two queens and a political heavyweight to triumph in our poll, and in doing so has struck a blow for 20th- and 21st-century fashions." 

David Bowie
Other names to make the top 10 include Georgiana Cavendish, Duchess of Devonshire, in third position and British dandy George "Beau" Brummell at number four, who was said to have spent six hours a day getting ready. Unexpected names to feature on the chart also include diarist Samuel Pepys and Henry III.

Pringle’s Princess Goes To Scotland

Pringle of Scotland returned to its roots on Friday with the first catwalk showcase of its Princess Grace: More Than An Image collection, held in Edinburgh. The collection - a capsule offering inspired by Princess Grace of Monaco's elegant everyday wardrobe - was designed by Central Saint Martins MA and BA Fashion students, who researched the Princess's wardrobe with help from the Nouveau Musée National de Monaco.

"We were concerned that the story behind the Princess Grace collection would get lost amidst a traditional Fashion Week setting, so we decided that a homecoming to Scotland would do the collection justice," Pringle's COO Tracy Chapman told us at the showcase, held at Edinburgh's Signet Library. "We are staging our first catwalk show here and allowing ourselves time to talk about the collection's journey from the initial research by the Central Saint Martins students to final production at our factory in Hawick."

Thanks to Princess Grace's daughter, Princess Caroline, the students had access to family photos and video footage which gave them insight into Grace's style and her own extensive collection of Pringle knitwear. A family photo of Grace in a top with the slogan "Kelly for Brickworks" supporting her father's construction company inspired the modern "Grace" and "Kelly" sweaters found in the new capsule collection.

Pringle Of Scotland
"We're keen to collaborate with the students again as they bring such a youthful and unique perspective to our brand," Chapman added. "We've had a very successful response to the collection with people attracted to both the Grace Kelly story and the luxury of Scottish cashmere. The collection is only being stocked with one retail partner per market as we wanted to maintain complete exclusivity. We needed to work with retailers that could put it into an exhibition environment and share its story. Our only Scottish stockist, Jane Davidson, has almost sold out of their pieces due to an influx of pre-orders."

The catwalk presentation follows the release of Massimo Nicosia's first seasonal collection for Pringle and the launch of the brand's new flagship store in Mayfair.

"The new Mount Street store is the first step in our expansion plans," Chapman said. "We're planning more stores in 2014 and are currently investigating locations in several key cities. Our priority for the coming year is to create new retail environments that allow us to converse with our customers."

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Home Girls: The Models To Know

This was a wonderful season for British models. The lasting image of the shows was surely Edie Campbell striding through the Cour Carrée of the Louvre, naked but for a lick of Stephen Sprouse graffiti. As the face with which Marc Jacobs chose to open his final show for Louis Vuitton, Edie proved a provocative choice, not just because she was naked and shackled but because, in a show themed around showgirls, Jacobs chose not to open with a voluptuous blonde but with the androgynous model with a mullet. The message is clear: Brit girls rule. And while the runway belonged to Campbell - who took opening slots at McQueen, Saint Laurent and Louis Vuitton, as well as making appearances for Burberry, Marc Jacobs and Calvin Klein - an army of British-based models followed in her wake. 

Edie Campbell
Doncaster-born Sam Rollinson  racked up 34 runway appearances, making her the heir apparent to Edie's crown. A true favourite among stylists, her bold looks are only matched by an even bigger personality.

Scottish Fashion Awards 2013: Who Won What

Christopher Kane won the Scottish Designer of the Year accolade for the second consecutive year at the Scottish Fashion Awards last night. The ceremony took place in London for the first time, at Dover House, and once again celebrated the cream of the Scottish fashion scene.
Christopher Kane 
Other names to take home awards were Chanel,  who scooped International Designer of the Year for its use of Scottish textiles in its  Metiers D´Art Paris - Edinburgh collection, while Mary Chateris won Scottish Model of the Year.

"The Scottish Fashion Awards are now a globally recognised event, which acknowledges the finest fashion design, creative and textile talents we have in Scotland and indeed working around the world," said awards chairman Dr Tessa Hartmann. "It's incredible to think how much the event has grown in just eight years and we're very proud to celebrate the achievements of all the nominees in this magnificent building - Dover House."

See the full winners list below:

Scottish Designer of the Year: Christopher Kane

International Designer of the Year (For Best Use of Scottish Fabric): Chanel

Scottish Model of the Year: Mary Charteris

Scottish Fashion Icon: Emeli Sandé

Creative Excellence Award: Pam Hogg

Scottish Innovator of the Year: Louise Gray

Scottish Young Designer of the Year: Jennifer Morris

Scottish Textile Designer of the Year: Alice Palmer

Scottish Retailer of the Year: Schuh

Scottish Communicator of the Year: Penny Martin

Scottish Accessory Designer of the Year: Finlay & Co

Scottish Graduate of the Year: Lauren Smith

Scottish Ambassador of the Year: Harris Tweed Hebrides

Hall of Fame: Dr Brian Duffy

Meet The World's Best-Paid Male Model

Sean O´Pry has been named the highest-paid male model byForbes, after pulling in $1.4 million (£940,000) in the last year. But despite this being a substantial sum, it pales in comparison to the world's highest-paid female model's earnings. Gisele Bundchen earned $42 million (£26 million) in the same 12-month period that was assessed.

Sean O´Pry
O'Pry - now 24-years-old - was discovered on Myspace when he was 17 and is best known for his campaigns for Giorgio Armani, Versace, H&M, Hugo Boss and Salvatore Ferragamo, as well as his lucrative fragrance campaigns for Jil Sander and Viktor & Rolf. He is followed in the list by David Gandy, who earned $1.4 million (£876,000); Simon Nessman - who came in at $1.1 million (£690,000); Arthur Kulkov - who brought home $905,000 (£570,000); and Noah Mills who amassed $740,000 (£465,000).

Marc Jacobs’s Very Public Ex-Boyfriend Split

Marc Jacobs and his boyfriend, chocolatier Harry Louis, have parted ways. Brazilian-born Louis announced the news on his Instagram account, posting an image of the couple with a shattered glass filter on top.

"So I would like to be the first one to share with you all the news... Me and Marc have decided not carry on with our relationship as boyfriends," he wrote. "The distance and lack of time because of work schedules aren't really something realistic, and he's such a beautiful and amazing person, that I think he deserve a bf who will stay at least in one of the cities that he leaves [sic] in... Also, I need that too... We love each other very much, and that it was a decision from both!!!! Every special minute we've spent together will be treasured, and a new chapter of our both lives has started... Both of us focusing in work, and make it work!!!!"
Marc Jacobs Single
Louis - who runs an upmarket chocolatier business - attended Jacobs's final Louis Vuitton last week, posting an Instagram picture of the designer taking his final bow, along with the caption: "Farewell to the greatest designer of LV of all times!!! Marc, we love you!!! Me for other reasons, but the world admire and are inspired by your talent and courage in always thinking outside the box." The couple are said to have first started dating in 2011, and have often been pictured holidaying together in Brazil.

"So, for those who were always supportive of us, please don't be sad, life goes on, to all of us," continued Louis. "And for those who were praying that this day were coming, there you have... Marc Jacobs and Harry Louis aren't officially a couple anymore!!!!"

Kate Moss For Topshop Returns

Kate Moss will launch a new collection for Topshop  in April. The supermodel - who designed for the high-street store between May 2007 and November 2010 - is reportedly already working on the range, which will be sold in 40 countries worldwide and on

The offering will comprise 40 pieces, spanning womenswear, accessories and footwear, and - as with previous Topshop collaborations - is expected to be inspired by Moss's personal wardrobe. The brand's creative director andVogue contributing fashion editor, Kate Phelan, and stylist Katy England are also involved in the project.

Kate Moss For Topshop
Green and Moss reportedly came up with the idea while on holiday together this summer. It is still unknown whether or not the pairing will be long-lasting.

Moss's first collection for Topshop in May 2007 was met with much fanfare: the supermodel launched the range by posing in the windows of the Oxford Street store, while the clothes themselves became ubiquitous among the under-30s. Highlights included a floral tea dress which sparked a series of high-street copies, and denim cut-offs, similar to shorts that Moss wore to Glastonbury.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Westwood Takes Us Into The Evening

Vivienne Westwood has teamed up with  to create a capsule collection of red carpet dresses, celebrating the designer's long-lasting fashion influence. Each of the four styles incorporates key signatures of the label, both past and present, from the squiggle print that appeared in the autumn/winter 1981 Pirate collection to the brand's celebrated hourglass silhouettes.

"The squiggle print is iconic and translates brilliantly to Vivienne Westwood's signature red carpet gowns - effortlessly glamorous with a subversive twist," said Matches head of fashion Natalie Kingham. "They offer our clients something timeless and extremely special."

Modelled by Daisy Lowe, the range - which features a mix of cocktail dresses and floor-length gowns - comes in a colour palette of pink, monochrome and dusky caramel. Prices range from £2,125 to £2,970.

"We are pleased to partner with for this collection, as they have chosen some beautiful existing styles from our archive and allowed us to introduce new silhouettes to their customers," a statement from the Westwood design team said. "The collection is really classic and elegant, as it incorporates the best of Vivienne's designs then and now."

The Vivienne Westwood Red Carpet Collection launches exclusively on on October 9.

Versace Not Impressed By Versace Movie

Donatella Versace  is not a fan of the new made-for-television film House of Versace, commissioned by American network Lifetime. The movie - which stars Gina Gershon, who played a Donatella-inspired character called Fabia in Ugly Betty - is set to air this Saturday.

"Versace has neither authorised nor had any involvement whatsoever in the forthcoming TV movie about Mrs Versace," the company said.

The movie is based on a book by Deborah Ball, House of Versace: The Untold Story of Genius, Murder and Survival, published in 2010 - which was also created without Versace's approval.

"Since Versace did not authorise the book on which it is based, the movie should only be seen as a work of fiction," a spokesperson for Versace told WWD. The book focuses on Donatella's quest to maintain the house of Versace following the murder of her brother Gianni - who will be played by Enrico Colantoni - in 1997.

Paris Finale: Watch Jacobs's Last Vuitton Show

The day kicked off with Marc Jacob´s final show for Louis Vuitton. News of his departure was confirmed only this morning by Bernard Arnault, LVMH chairman and CEO, and marks the end of the designer's 16-year tenure at the fashion house. As we'd expect from a man responsible for staging some of fashion's most theatrical shows, his swansong was one of epic proportions - featuring pieces from Jacobs's most famous sets, including the carousel and clock tower.

Marc Jacob´swill be presenting what we've been promised is a "greatest hits" collection, reviewing his last 16 years at Vuitton. Whether this collection really is his swansong is still up for debate, but the speculation has served to make it even more hotly anticipated than usual. Will Kate Moss walk, as she has in previous seasons? Will she be joined by her heiress apparent Cara Delevingne? Will Marc wear a kilt or pyjamas? And will his set top Chanel's art gallery yesterday? Find out when the pictures arrive just after the show at 9am

Miu Miu  is the show - along with Prada and Céline - that the fashion editors of the world most want to shop from. Last season's dresses and coats provoked wish-list pondering even before the show's finale - and waiting lists were started as soon as the stores knew delivery dates. Often known as Prada's "little sister", Miuccia's other label ostensibly caters to a younger customer, but one with the same off-beat, chance-taking style who loves Prada. The shoes and bags - like Prada's - are always some of the season's most coveted - and what better way to round off a month of shows than with one that makes you say: "I want that!"

Behind The Scenes: Dreaming With Georgia Jagger

If only we could all dream a little dream like Georgia Jagger in Bay Garnett's whimsical and romantic October issue shoot.

"I wanted to do something on Victoriana, so I started with Picnic at Hanging Rock and Tess of the d'Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy and then added Laura Ashley. Then it went somewhere more romantic and became the Seventies takes on Victoriana," explains Garnett of the ethereal shoot, photographed by Venetia Scott.

Georgia Jagger
"Scott brings so much to the party, she's got a great eye and she totally got the idea. We come from the same point of view, it's about the whole picture," elaborates Garnett. To this end it was important for the shoot to feel like Jagger was telling her own story, the choice of clothes key in telling it.

"I wanted a light palette to keep it really pretty and really scrumptious," says Garnett, who had been intent on finding a beautiful English white meadow to complete her narrative - which she did to great effect with Jagger running carefree in Valentino, or lying draped over a horse in Chloé.

"I love how Georgia looks like a girl as opposed to a model in the pictures," she adds.

Couture House Jean Patou Set To Reopen

Couture  house Jean Patou - which through its history has been helmed by designers including Karl Lagerfeld, Jean Paul Gaultier and Christian Lacroix - is being re-launched.

"We already have plans," the label's vice president, Bruno Cottard, told WWD. "We have ideas and know what sort of fashion we would like to do - and have even consulted designers, who are all excited… for them Patou is an enormous reference."

Jean Patou
Patou established his couture house just before the advent of the First World War but shuttered it to serve in the French army. Following the war, he reopened the house and became known as an innovator, helping to move fashion on from the flapper look with the creation of longer hems and sleeveless dresses. He is considered the inventor of the tennis skirt and was also the first designer to popularise the cardigan.

In 1928, Patou created "Huile de Chaldée", the first-ever sun-tan lotion. When he died in 1936, his sister and her husband continued the label, with its survival owed mostly to the popularity of its fragrances - in particular "Joy", which is still produced today. In 1987, the label's then-designer Christian Lacroix left to set up his own couture house, and the brand was closed.

A Rare Look At Models With Their Mothers

Morwenna Lytton Cobbold, former Burberry model, photographer and DJ, will open a new exhibition of photographs capturing models with their mothers in London later next month. The showcase will raise money for Breakthrough Breast Cancer, with all pictures available to buy.

The display, held at The Gilbert Scott Restaurant from October 1 until October 31, initially began as a private project, consisting of portraits of fashion models with their mothers: "I travelled to their homes, removing the sitters from the conventional big fashion shoot set up. Having worked and travelled around the world as a model myself since I was 16 years old, the importance of time at home with family has become increasingly apparent."

Models With Their Mothers
The photographs, shot on medium-format film with a Mamiya RZ Pro II camera, are warm and personal, capturing the rare moments when models return home to relax with their families. Cobbold - who will DJ at Manchester's LK Bennett store at Fashion´s Night Out next month - explained that she wanted to document family dynamics through portraiture: "Coming from a world of high-production, large-scale fashion shoots, for my personal work I wanted to strip back all the artificiality and styling and make my images more about the people in them. I asked the sitters to wear their own clothes, do their own hair and make-up, and to arrive alone at their homes to create an intimate and personal portrait, a side of the sitters rarely seen."

Despite a career in modelling, Cobbold explains that she has always taken photographs: "My mum gave me her Eighties Nikon FE2 camera, which I learnt all the basics on. It began my love of shooting film, and I built a darkroom in our old bike shed at home." To accompany the exhibition, her photographs will be published in a book, Mother, to fundraise for Breakthrough Breast Cancer, a charity chosen by the model after being an ambassador for the Fashion Targets Breast Cancer campaign.

Models & Mothers: An Exhibition in aid of Breakthrough Breast Cancer will be on display at The Gilbert Scott Restaurant and Bar from October 1 - October 31

Marc Jacobs To Leave Vuitton?

Marc Jacobs may be leaving Louis Vuitton, if this morning's reports are to be believed. Speculation has emerged suggesting that the designer - who has helmed the label since 1997 - may not have his contract renewed when it ends next month. French magazine Challenges said that his departure has already been internally approved. A spokesperson for Vuitton declined to comment on the rumours.

Reuters - who spoke to an anonymous source about Jacobs's alleged exit - tipped former Balenciaga creative director  Nicolas Ghesquiere to take the role. However, another source told the news agency that, "Nothing has been decided yet."

Marc Jacobs
"Marc Jacobs has done fantastic work at Vuitton, but I think that today we need to reframe the leather goods and fashion proposition which has until now mainly been focused on the bags," a luxury goods expert said.

Since joining the brand 16 years ago, Jacobs introduced the men's and women's ready-to-wear lines, and launched collaborations with a string of famous artists including Stephen Sprouse and Yayoi Kusama.

Be A Fly On The Wall At Beckham’s Studio

Victoria Beckham  is teaming up with Skype to tell the story of her life as a designer "in a groundbreaking storytelling format" that will give fashion watchers a brand new insight into her working process.

We're hoping for a full-access fly-on-the-wall style documentary, and we're told it will also "give the audience opportunities to enage directly" with VB and her team via Skype. The idea was presumably sparked when Beckham spoke about conducting meetings and fittings using the online video chat service - and Skype didn't hesitate to act. "In just five short years, Victoria Beckham and her team have built a hugely successful international fashion brand," they said this morning. "A journey which Skype is proud to have played a part in enabling."

Victoria Beckham
"Most evenings, I'm curled up in front of Skype, in my dressing gown, speaking with my studio in London," she said in 2010. "I travel a lot; my team travels a lot, but I wouldn't have it any other way. I'm very proud to be British; my brand is British, and I'm very proud of that."

We're most excited to see what she wears to the office, closely followed by meeting her dedicated team. And if Harper happens to pop in, we won't complain about that either.

Is Naomi Set To Be The Next Oprah?

Rumours  that Naomi Campbell has been offered her own television chat show in America may just turn out to be true, a spokesperson for the supermodel told us this morning.

"I can confirm that there are offers on the table," her representative said today, "but I can't elaborate further at this time due to ongoing negotiations."

Naomi Campbell
Campbell has spent a considerable amount of time in television studios lately - filming her model mentoring show, The Face, as well as giving interviews about the lack of racial equality in the modelling world as part of her role in the diversity coalition - but a show of her own would mark a new phase in her career.

Former model Tyra Banks also had a chat show - The Tyra Banks Show, which launched in 2005 and ended in 2010 - and interviewed Campbell as a guest in one of her most famous episodes, which saw the two air their past feuds and resolve their long-time differences.

Michael Kors’s Model Obsession

Michael Kors has revealed that he uses his catwalk as a platform for diversity: "I like the idea of models that can be chameleons." After 33 years in the business, the veteran American designer clearly knows what he likes - and it isn't uniformity.

Michael Kors
"I don't like it when the models all look the same. To me it's so incredibly boring to turn them into mannequins, it's so much more interesting if we have different ages, ethnicities, body types, heights," Kors, who recently launched his first beauty collection, told us. "We run the gamut from Frankie Rayder who's in her late thirties and Karen Elson, to girls that are just starting out who are 17; we go from the fairest of the fair to the darkest complexions. So if I see mannequin-like models, I'm bored, and it's the same thing with women on the street. I want to see them bring their own personality."

So, who has caught Kors's eye of late? "There's a girl called Malaika Firth who I think is gorgeous - she's just amazing; Vanessa Axente - I love her smile - I love a girl that has a great expressive smile; and then strangely, I don't know why, but I seem to have this Estonian obsession. Karmen Pedaru is from Estonia, Carmen Kass is Estonian, and there's a new girl called Elisabeth Erm and she's also Estonian. I think they're feminine, sexy and strong all at the same time. But personality is everything."

It’s Official: Chanel Is The Coolest Fashion Brand

Chanel has been named the world's coolest fashion brand, closely followed by Prada  and Alexander McQueen. Each label featured on the top 20 of the annual CoolBrands list, with Chanel coming in at 13, followed by Prada and McQueen at 14 and 19 respectively.

Apple topped the chart, which is compiled by 38 "key influencers" - including Daisey Lowe, Julien Macdonald and Sadie Frost - and voted for by 3,000 consumers. Car brand Aston Martin took second place, while Rolex came third and Nike fourth. Glastonbury reached number five.

Other names to feature in the top 20 include YouTube (6), Google (7), Twitter (8), Virgin Atlantic (9) and Ray-Ban (10).

Naomi On Kate Versus Cara

Naomi Campbell would rather people didn't compare Cara Delevingne to Kate Moss. But it seems that the supermodel - who is currently filming the second series of her model mentoring show The Face - may be sharing some of her valuable advice with the young model soon enough.

"Cara is Cara Delevingne, Kate is Kate Moss. People are just saying that because she is the same height as Kate. But there is only going to be one Kate Moss. Kate is an icon," Campbell told the Mail On Sunday. "Cara may become an icon: who knows how long she wants to do it for? It has just begun for her and she is doing amazingly well… I was actually asked to speak to Cara, but I don't know her very well. I've met her a very few times and she's been very pleasant. I haven't spoken to her properly yet. For me the timing has to be right."
Kate And Naomi
Campbell also revealed that The Face is by no means her first foray into mentoring, and that her first charge was none other than Moss herself.

"I love mentoring young girls. I've always been like that," Campbell said. "When I told Kate Moss about the show, how I was mentoring these young girls, she watched the US show and then she said: 'Naomi, I was your first.' It's true. I looked after her when she first started out; she lived with me in New York. She was amazing already: she had the book, she had the jobs, but I'd tell her what people were like, how she should be with certain people. We're still good friends. All of us [supermodels], we've all stayed close, we're all still there."

What Really Happens At A Victoria's Secret Casting?

It´s quite common to want to be a Victoria´s Secret  model - but the idea is a less inviting one when the casting process is taken into account. "It's quite terrifying for them," says Sophia Neophitou-Apostolou, who has been creative director of the show for the last three years.

"They are provisionally cast by John Pfeiffer but the final decision is made by the whole team, sitting at this long table in a room with really harsh lighting and they have to walk towards us and away from us. They all have to do it - even the contracted girls - and it's incredibly nerve-wracking for them."

Victoria´s Secret
So how have the likes of  Gisele, Miranda Kerr, Jourdan Dunn et al  made the cut? "It's about being show-ready," explains Sophia. "It's really like being an Olympian - they have to be in peak condition. It's not about being thin or anything like that - it's about being ready to perform and be the best you can be in that moment."

Unable to reveal details of her fourth show (which will take place in New York on November 13) Sophia is asked to submit 12 possible themes for each one - six of which are then edited and approved. Last year, the Degas Ballet, Dangerous Liaisons and Giffords Circus (in which Iris Palmer once rode in 2000) made the cut. "As a stylist, this job takes you to a place you'd never otherwise go," says Sophia, who also works with Roland Mouret, Anya Hindmarch, Antonio Berardi, Richard Nicoll and Elie Saab, and took over the VS reins from Charlotte Stockdale and Brana Wolf before her. "It's a real honour to follow people of such high pedigree into a job I love so much. It's brilliant fun - just complete theatre and spectacle. You should see it backstage - it's out of this world."


Fendi Preview: Making Dreams

Fendi will open a new public exhibition tomorrow, entitled Making Dreams, dedicated to its long-standing relationship with cinema. The Italian label - which showed in Milan yesterday - has created the costumes for films such as Evita, The Royal Tenenbaums and The Age of Innocence, also dressed the Bond girls in Die Another Day.

Fendi Exhibition
Clips from these films will be on show, as will the costumes themselves - including archive furs. The display will also feature photographs of the five Fendi sisters, taken by Lord Snowdon.

The showcase, curated by Patrick Kinmonth and Antonio Monfreda, will be held in Milan's Cinema Manzoni - one of Italy's most beautiful cinemas - from tomorrow until October 6. Entry is free.

Kate Moss's Playboy Cover Confirmed

Kate Moss will appear on the cover of Playboy to celebrate the magazine's 60th birthday - and her 40th. The cover was rumoured in June, although both parties declined to comment at the time, and has now been confirmed by the magazine.

"This is a massive global brand,"Playboy's editorial director, Jimmy Jellinek, told the Los Angeles Times. "You need a global icon in order to celebrate that - that was the impetus. You're talking about the face of Burberry, the biggest supermodel in the world on the cover of Playboy. She's the perfect partner for us to help launch the next 60 years… It started with Marilyn Monroe on the cover of Playboy 60 years ago, an icon for her time. Now we've got Kate Moss!"
Kate Moss For Playboy
Moss's cover will be for the January/February issue and is rumoured to already have been shot by her photographer friends Mert Alas and Marcus Piggott.

Playboy founder Hugh Hefner added: "She's a worldwide celebrity, is iconic, and crosses the boundaries from sexual imagery to upscale modelling. It's a natural for us."

London Fashion Week Latest

The final day of London Fashion Week has arrived, but we're still talking about last night's star names - Tom Ford attracted fashion's most discerning editors and buyers to his show, held at the grand venue of The Royal Horticultural Halls in Vincent Square. Other evening highlights included Giles and Osman.

First up is Anya Hindmarch - who promises another impressive collection if her otherworldly show invitation is anything to go by. Stella McCartney will talk the press through her latest collection for Adidas next, followed by one-to-watch Simone Rocha - who has become known for her romantic yet strong aesthetic.

Central Saint Martins wunderkind Thomas Tait is expected to deliver another innovatively austere offering next, before Lulu Kennedy presents her current three design protégées at Fashion East - Ashley Williams, Claire Barrow and Ryan Lo - who are each returning to her catwalk for a second season. Another name to look out for is Lucas Nascimento, whose futuristic but feminine designs are already a favourite with front-row guests.

London Fashion Week 
For many, Meadham Kirchhoff will be viewed as London Fashion Week's grand finale - always a colourful and unabashedly creative extravaganza, more akin to theatre than a traditional catwalk show.

See Temperley’s Somerset Girl Collection

Alice Temperley is tapping into the lucrative mother-daughter market by adding pieces for little girls to her best selling Somerset collection for John Lewis. The Somerset Girl collection, launching later this month, will feature dresses and separates that echo pieces in the womenswear collection - and the designer hopes that her new mini customers will love them just as much.

"I am excited to be branching into girlswear," the designer - who has one son, Fox - said. "My mother and grandmother always made really beautiful dresses for me whilst I was growing up - pieces that I still treasure today. Clothes hold memories and I hope these will do the same for little girls. The collection consists of easy, playful clothes to have fun in."

Somerset Girl
"Following the success of Somerset womenswear, it seemed like a natural step to expand Somerset into childrenswear," Camilla Rowe, head of childrenswear at John Lewis said. "This aesthetic of the range perfectly complements the womenswear collection and the quality, design and fabrication is just as strong."

See the Somerset Girl collection here. The collection will be available in all full line John Lewis shops and online at from September 26.

Vivienne Westwood Uncovered

Ahead of the Vivienne Westwood Red Label show on Sunday, Vogue has launched a book dedicated to the legendary designer - available to buy today. The latest in Vogue's On Designers series, which launched in August last year, is written by renowned fashion writer and author Linda Watson - who assisted Westwood on two collections before making her move into journalism.

"Historically, Vivienne Westwood's contribution to fashion is unsurpassed," Watson told us. "For over 40 years she's questioned the status quo. Punk is a case in point. Created in the Seventies, its impact is still evident today. Since then, she's become the queen of experimental cutting, relentlessly combining innovation with tradition. As Anna Wintour says, 'Vivienne Westwood has been an unbelievable influence.'"

Vivienne Westwood
As with past On Designers books, the pages are filled with sketches and photography from the Condé Nast archive, and will offer Vogue's view of what makes Westwood one of the industry's most influential names. Look back on her punk origins; remember some of her most daring and risqué designs; and explore the still-flourishing career of Britain's reigning fashion queen.

Why The Age Of The Supermodel Is Over

Peter Lindbergh, the photographer who created some of the most famous group shots of Cindy, Naomi, Christy and Linda, believes that we will never see models of their calibre again. Even his original supers have lost their allure, he says.

"In the beginning those women were a revolution," Lindbergh said. "They had balls, they had brains, they put their hair back and wore no make-up, that was it… There were 10 faces ruling the world, but those 10 faces were eventually corrupted by the beauty and fashion industries. They lost all of that freshness, all of the independence, and simply became what the women in magazines had been before."

The Supermodels
Since the supermodels reigned in the late Eighties and early Nineties "the image of a woman has been turned upside down" - to its detriment, according to the photographer.

"Today, you could easily put a group of models in a room: Lara Stone, Gisele,you could have them together in five minutes, but they represent nothing new, they are already there," he told The Telegraph. "Maybe now if the industry had had enough of all the current models and you could find the five most romantic new faces out there, that totally change our perspective of beauty, then maybe a new supermodel era could happen. Just maybe."

Hello Helena: Kitty's New Look

Helena Christensen  has collaborated on a new Hello Kitty T-shirt for Oxfam - and for a change it's the kitten who has a supermodel makeover; sporting hair. The T-shirt's sales will benefit Change, a fund-raising project championing women's rights worldwide, and support Oxfam's aim to bring 80,000 people out of poverty in 2013.

Hello Helena
"I've always been a big fan of Hello Kitty," Helena Christensen said. "She's still as cool and chic today as she was when I was a child, and I am thrilled to be a part of this project. As a Global Ambassador for Oxfam I am delighted that these lovely T-shirts will help raise vital funds for the charity's work with vulnerable women across the world, empowering them to have a say in their own future and escape poverty. Thank you for buying this T-shirt, I hope you enjoy wearing it!"

New York Fashion Week Latest

While Marchesa's fairytale dresses and Proenza Schouler´s  playful proportions stole yesterday's fashion limelight, the final day of the New York schedule brings forth three of the city's key shows - Ralph Lauren, Marc Jacobs, Calvin Klein Collection.

Lauren starts the proceedings this morning, and will no doubt conjure up another strong theme that will punctuate wardrobes next season. Past offerings have concentrated on Anna Karenina, Downton Abbey and South America.

New York Fashion Week
Francisco Costa celebrates his 10th anniversary as creative director at Calvin Klein Collection this year, so his latest collection for the brand could well be a greatest-hits homage. We hope so, there's nothing we'd like more than a revisit of that famous white mini dress from Clueless.

The line-up's grand finale comes courtesy of Marc Jacobs, and who better equipped to do so than the man who lit his stage with glowing suns last season? The designer's catwalk shows, whether for Louis Vuitton or his own label, are legendary - and today's outing is bound to be no exception.

Cara Delevingne Cries For Fendi

We said it was coming and here it is -Cara Delevingne´s  first starring screen role. Well, sort of. Karl Lagerfeld  cast her in his autumn/winter 2013 Fendi ifilm, a seven-minute short, and now you can watch it exclusively here.

The teaser premiered on Vogue last week, but the full-length version shows Delevingne as a frightened, tearful ingenue who arrives with Saskia de Brauw at a grand mansion for a black-tie party. The pair are met by a sinister host, played by Lady Amanda Harlech, who guides them round a suitably haunting estate. The situation takes an eerie twist, and the duo are given an escape route by a handsome stranger, naturally.

Think of it as a prelude to Delevingne's first feature-length leading lady role - she has recently started filming British movie Kids In Love. A release date has not yet been announced.

Lacroix For Petit Bateau

Christian Lacroix is returning to fashion (we're always glad when he does), and this time his collection is set to be beautiful and affordable. The legendary couturier has teamed up with French favourite Petit Bateu as well as the Paris Opera, WWD reports, to create a capsule collection set to thrill mothers and daughters alike.

Christian Lacroix
The range, which will be available from Petit Bateau stores and at the Opéra Garnier boutique in Paris from December 6, will feature four pieces for women and two for children. It has not yet been revealed what the pieces will be - or, in fact, what part the Paris Opera, for whom Lacroix has previously designer costumes,will play in its creation - but we are eager as always to see the results of his spectacularly creative brain.

Lacroix left his eponymous label in early 2010, after it was reduced to a licensing operation following a bankruptcy filing, and has since been occupied by a variety of projects; from designing exhibitions, hotels and stage costumes, to creating capsule collections for other stores, including Spanish brand Desigual in 2011.

Meet This Year's Victoria's Secret Catwalk Angels

Victorias Secret´s 2013 show will star its most famous Angels - Adriana Lima, Alessandra Ambrosio, Lily Aldridge, Candie Swanepoel, Lindsay Ellingson, Karlie Kloss, Doutzen Kroes, Behati Prinsloo.
Victorias Secret 
However, Miranda Kerr is noticeably absent from the line-up, having announced in April that she was streamlining her VS duties to focus on being a mother. It remains to be seen whether or not Brit girls Cara Delevingne and Jourdan Dunn will make their second catwalk outing for the brand.

The show airs on American television channel CBS on Tuesday, December 10. To mark the news, the brand has also released three sketches of ensembles to be worn by models on the big day.

The glittering annual extravaganza will take place in New York, and is set to feature musical acts as per tradition. Although rumours of a One Direction performance were recently squashed, a confirmed name is expected to be announced in early October.

The Business Of Fashion Week

A decade  ago, London Fashion Week was just a tearaway little sister to three more established elders: seen-it-all, done-it-all, post-coital-cigarette-smoking Paris; corporate focused, financially fly New York; and straight-A student (albeit smouldering) Milan. In those days, London's most successful designers inevitably eventually graduated to one of these international outposts, but today its reputation for producing talent affords us a fairer share of the global limelight.

Natalie Massenet  was named chairman of the  British Fashion Council a year ago, and we're now beginning to see signs of the effect she and the weight of her £350m company is having: significantly inflated sponsorship; 75 12-ft flags hanging the length of Oxford Street; Manolo Blahnik and Smythson on the schedule for the first time; a new designer shop in Somerset House during Fashion Week; constant chatter on the social mediawaves - plenty of new developments will be credited to Massenet's leadership. She insists, however, that the developing success of the event is down to the expertise of BFC chief executive Caroline Rush. Massenet's self-determined brief is in her efforts to bring British fashion close to the consumer. "In New York everybody knows when Fashion Week is on - it feels like Fashion Week - I want it to be the same here," she says.

Nathalie Massenet
"Our visual message will travel digitally to let people all over the world feel the excitement - and that drives desire and sales," she says, her crisp Brooks Brothers shirt and tailored black skirt matching the glass-fronted, white-plumped-sofa office as if to encapsulate the gloss of her success.

In addition to getting all designers online and transactional as soon as she can, her BFC ambition goes far and wide. Less concerned with persuading big labels like Stella and McQueen to show here - "because whether you're showing in Timbuktu or London, you're still marketing British fashion" - she's more about positioning London as to fashion what Silicon Valley is to technology.

"It's undisputed that we have the most dynamic, creative designers here - luxury businesses everywhere are infused with our talent - but we haven't championed our industry as a business," she says of an industry worth an estimated £21 billion to the UK economy. "If you're a teenager in Palo Alto launching an app, you know from the outset how you plan to finance your business. If your 16-year-old neighbour were creating an app, everyone at a dinner party would ask, 'How much is he raising to do it?' We need the same question asked of anyone starting a label."

To make that happen, Massenet has pulled together a dream team to lead five pillars of activity - Reputation; Business Know How: Education; Digital & Innovation; and Investment - headed up, respectively, by "pillar presidents": creative director and front-row titan Sophia Neophitou-Apostolou; James McArthur of Anya Hindmarch (formerly Balenciaga and Harrods); fashion journalist and BFC ambassador Sarah Mower and Meribeth Parker, group publishing director of luxury at Hearst; Google's director of retail Peter Fitzgerald; and Jonathan Goodwin of Lepe Partners, who worked with Tamara Mellon at Jimmy Choo and runs the Founders Forum.

Each will work directly (and voluntarily) with the BFC staff to engineer success for British fashion designers, by way of tool kits, seminars, the match-making of students from London business schools with fashion colleges, scholarship programmes and dialogue with the most experienced, successful group of industry professionals in the country."Fashion is bigger here than the car industry. It needs to be celebrated as such so we'll see more jobs, more exports and more stores opening on our streets, as designers develop into self-sustaining, independent businesses. The BFC is here to improve their chances of success by adapting and advising them properly in the context of a new global economy."

"In 13 years of doing my day job I've learned a few things about motivating people. It's about setting a vision and, as long as everyone knows why they're doing what they're doing, you achieve that vision."All the presidents, invited to an off-site meeting chez Massenet at the beginning of the summer, have been given Team GB-style personalised sweatshirts and tote bags (featured left). "The focus is incredible. From the mayor's office to number 10, we're getting everyone on board with this," says Massenet.

But is London fashion, traditionally so flamboyant and creative but lacking in business flare, ready for this? "Of course!" says Massenet "We have a generation of young designers who have grown-up in the digital age, but they're in the business of making clothes so they don't necessarily have access to this world. My day job gives me access to these people - it's a killer advantage.""We've cracked the hard part -we have the talent," she continues. "Now it's simply a process of letting designers know their options - whether they are a three-man operation in Hoxton or a business with multiple flagships on the way to being the next Burberry: how to do it, how much to leverage and then, when you get to the stage when everyone wants you, how, why, when do you sell and who to? We're going to ensure 'business' isn't a dirty word in fashion. We want to make people dream of working in an industry that isn't fluffy - it's an amazing way to earn a living and create jobs based on creativity."

Short-term results will mean a bigger, better London Fashion Week - maybe even a longer one because "London is always the most packed schedule - you can't miss anything because our designers are unpredictable". In the medium term, says Massenet, it's about questioning the state of the industry, "whether that's thinking about bringing consumers into the shows, or taking our Fashion Week on a tour of other cities every season". Most radical, she muses, would be a one-season, one-city show concept that could see Olympics-style bids for cities to host all the international collections in one place each season. Long term it suggests a legacy that will leave future British fashion graduates in a more confident position to let their creativity come to the global forefront.

It's a revolution that brings support from all the designers on the British schedule, for whom Natalie is constantly on call. "She's a visionary and I'm thrilled that she represents our voice," says Erdem. "Not only does she have this incredible global credibility, but she is also available in person when you want to ask advice," adds Christopher Kane. "She truly understands what it takes to grow a business in the UK with relevance around the world."

"My personal ambition remains the same - to be creative, to be modern, to stay one step ahead, to enjoy life. I've learned to take nothing for granted because the rules are changing all the time."The designers also value Massenet's political skills, but she shrugs off the suggestion of any ambition for an official place on the global stage. "I just have my fingers crossed that the shows start on time, that people have an amazing experience here and that we send them to Milan just a little bit tired."

Lastly, the inevitable question: how does a woman like this get dressed every morning? "I just wear what I like and lots of it is British," she says, before reeling off a list of designer labels - including "some cute Stella", Kane, Jonathan Saunders and Williamson - that make up one serious wardrobe, and adding wickedly: "I buy it all on this great website I know.

Holly Fulton Kicks Off The LFW Countdown

Holly Fulton  is helping build excitement for London Fashion Week , which kicks off on Friday, by teaming up with Ebay to launch an exclusive capsule collection. The Scottish designer has created four limited-edition pieces for the website, available to buy now until September 18.

"I wanted to work with Ebay as it's a fantastic chance to connect with a broad customer base, because such a diverse range of shoppers will receive the collection," she told us. "I'm a dedicated Ebay fan, so I was just as excited on a personal level."

Holly Fulton
Additionally, Ebay will sell three pieces from Fulton's most recent autumn / winter 2013 - which was inspired by Seventies art rockers. The offering includes a T-shirt and a sweatshirt, both of which come emblazoned with a detailed animal motif, as well as statement jewellery that references the graphic shapes of the art deco era.