Battle of the Cities – NYFW or LFW?

Only one more sleep to go until the 62nd London Fashion Week! This week’s FTL post features ones to watch for the London Spring/Summer 2016 collections and gives a summary of New York Fashion Week’s highlights. Which do you think will come out on top? LFW or NYFW?!

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Let the countdown begin!

Dig the new breed

London effortlessly challenges its rival global counterparts during fashion week, showing some of the most commanding creative flair in the world. Amongst its staple brands treading the boards, like Burberry and Christopher Kane, there is a new breed of designers, so fresh they only recently showed their graduate collections. Those that have attracted the talent-scouts graduated from Central Saint Martins just last year, such as South London-based Caitlin Price, who also won the Armani scholarship and Richard Malone (featured below).

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Great British heritage brand Burberry, showcasing a pastel inspired finale.

NYFW highlights

But who can argue with the feat of NYFW, closing today, which has generated 900 million dollars in revenue, drawing in over 200,000 people. Highlight of the week was the Oscar de la Renta timeless elegance show, which was the fashion power house’s second collection following the death of its founder. Pieces included Spanish-inspired suits, ball-gowns and cocktail dresses from its creative director, British-born Peter Copping. The designer used bold floral prints, crimson palettes, lavish lace and abundant ruffles to create a truly classic de la Renta collection. Lowlight, personally, was Kanye West for Adidas idly named “Yeezy Season 2”. The military-inspired assortment was made up of nude and neutral-coloured hoodies, bodysuits and loose-fitting trousers, which drew many parallels with his last collection. Not only has this all been done before, it was done last season by the man himself! Time to give up the game Kanye!

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Classic de la Renta – pure poetry!

Topshop partners with Pintrest

This week in London we will see Topshop team up with Pintrest to launch “Pintrest Palettes”. The savvy high street store is renown for its social media campaigns. The partnership will enable UK and US Pintrest users to create a custom colour palette based on Spring/Summer 2016 key colours via Topshop.com.

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Which Pintrest colour palette will you be this season?

LFW ones to watch

There’s so much jaw-dropping talent showcased during LFW, but for me it’s the new kids on the block that can be the most inspiring. FTL’s “ones to watch” are:

Richard Malone, graduating from Central Saint Martins last year with a Bachelor of Arts degree in fashion, he has already attracted attention from the fashion industry’s big-wigs. In 2013 his graduate collection was supported by the Grand Prix LVMH scholarship and he will show his collection as part of the Topshop-sponsored Fashion East collective this week. The label’s aesthetic has to date stemmed from structured silhouettes with contrasting hound’s-tooth fabrics and bold stripes. Pieces in Malone’s graduate collection invoked a 70s vibe with both cropped and bell-bottom flares on show. I’m excited to see what delights the upcoming collection will bring this week.

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Good luck to our new-comers on their debuts, the Frow be with you!

This is the Uniform’s Jenna Young is a fine arts textiles graduate of London’s Goldsmiths University. She worked in the luxury textiles industry for three years before launching her own label in 2013. Young also worked in fashion styling, and it was via this experience that her designs came to the attention of British Vogue fashion director Lucinda Chambers. The designer will also début as part of Fashion East this week. Young’s signature style is luxurious fabrics, no doubt stemming from her background. I predict plentiful silk organza and natural fabrics.

Marta Jakubowski completed the Masters of Arts program at the Royal College of Art and has already worked with the likes of Alexander Wang, Bruno Pieters, Hussein Chalayan, and Jonathan Saunders before embarking on her own label last year. In December 2014, the designer was chosen to show her Autumn 2015 collection for the British Fashion Council’s NewGen scheme. Wide velvet and cotton trousers in bold colours have played a key theme in Jakubowski’s collections to date. I’m hoping for a clever use of fabric and texture in her Spring/Summer 2016 collection.

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A personal FTL favourite – the Matlock established John Smedley, here’s to the northerners!

The veteran luxury British brand, John Smedley, and a long-time love of mine, is finally launching an out-and-out women’s wear collection. This I have to say, I am very excited about! Pip Jenkins, head designer of the John Smedley women’s range, said the collection will include “a lot of lighter, sheer fabrics designed for layering, and cuts that feature wrap and split detailing designed to drape and flatter the female form.” A new direction for the staple knitwear brand, which I’m sure to be raiding the Brook Street store for post show!

FTL verdict

For me, London always comes out on top, perhaps I’m biased, perhaps I just think the standard is higher. If NYFW dropped the dead-wood and focused more on emerging innovative talent, rather than Kanye and his entourage I might have a different opinion.

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LFW SS16 kicks off on Friday 18th September leaving its old premises, Somerset House, behind to make a new home at the art-deco Brewer Street Car Park in Soho.

One thing’s for sure, London’s collective of burgeoning talent, both veterans and newcomers, are guaranteed to bring something new and exciting to the trends of Spring/Summer 2016. Let the count-down begin!

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NAT-A-PORTER NO MORE!

The shock-resignation of Natalie Massenet from Net-A-Porter, just before the merger with Yoox Group was due to take place, has sent shock-waves through the fashion industry!

Starting out

Massenet’s start-up story is a familiar one. Founding the company in her spare room in 2000, the ultimate Fash Tech entrepreneur saw a gap in the market for an online platform supplying luxury fashion. This led to the birth of Net-A-Porter and forever changed the way we shop online!

Massenet is an American-born former journalist who began working for Women’s Wear Daily and Tatler, which is where her idea of an e-commerce website in a magazine format began. However, the glitz and glamour of the early stage setup was not so high-brow, as Massenet initially stacked the signature Net-A-Porter black packaging in her bath! How times have changed!

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Perhaps Natalie’s bathtub will no longer look so rosy!

In Natalie’s words

So what happened? In her own words this week, Massenet gave us an insight into her decision, saying:

“The completion of Net-a-Porter Group’s merger with Yoox Group is the right time for me to move on to explore new ideas and opportunities…The business I started in 2000 could not be in better shape today. Having joined forces with Yoox Group, the company will be bigger, stronger and superbly well positioned under Federico Marchetti’s leadership to lead the industry and create the future of fashion. As a continuing loyal customer I will be excited to see the next chapter for this amazing business.”

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So long Natalie!

The FTL verdict

Is this really such a surprise? Well, given the fashionista’s position following the merger was to be restricted to an editorial and communications role, perhaps it’s not completely unexpected!

If all had gone to plan, Ms Massenet would have become the executive chairman while Mr Marchetti stepped into the chief executive role. To add fuel to the fire, over lunch with the Financial Times in May this year Mr Marchetti was quick to clarify where the power would lie. There was to be only one boss, he said, “And that’s me”.

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In the wise-words of the Godfather of Soul: “Paid the cost to be the Boss!”

Yet to be seen is how the merger between these two rivals will work in practice, in a marketplace that has become increasingly crowded and competitive. For example, is it business-savvy to retain The Outnet, Net-A-Porter’s cut-price site that directly rivalled Yoox? Most definitely not, but which of the two will bite the dust?! There are many questions surrounding what the future holds for Yoox-A-Porter (by the way, I highly doubt this will be the new branding!), but what’s certain is that the new group will have to act decisively to retain shareholder confidence.

Both companies have faced mounting pressure from new businesses entering the luxury e-commerce space, as well as from traditional brands beginning to sell their products online to consumers directly. With big brands reeling from the ongoing economic slowdown in China, and the feeling that the days of rapid expansion are behind them, the mood of the luxury industry, as a whole, is far from sanguine.

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Will the branding change post merger?

Also, despite Ms Massenet’s diplomatic statement, it looks like this was a rather contentious departure: Bloomberg reports that Massenet leaves with over £100 million ($153 million) after the sale of shares in her company. The Financial Times reported that the sum came as a result of a dispute over the value of the Net-A-Porter Group that led to her quitting.

The FTL concludes a trouble at the mill scenario, what other explanation could there be for such a sudden departure?!

Do you know what really caused this turn of events? Do you have an opinion on the matter? If so, we’d love to hear from you via the comments box below!