Wednesday, 25 February 2009

London Fashion Week @ 25

Can you believe that London Fashion Week (LFW) has been going for 25 years? I can’t get my head round it; I feel that the event has been going forever and I really cannot imagine a time when it never existed. I was also surprised to hear that LFW was more ore less created by PR guru, Lynne Franks and that the first ever show at LFW in February 1984 took place in a tent in a car park. The launch of LFW also coincided with the introduction of Virgin Atlantic and since then both brands have created a huge splash in the British cultural consensus. 1984 was also the year of Torvill and Dean the LA Olympics, Madonna mania, Band Aid and Thriller was the best selling album. Remember this was the era of the Miner’s strike where hardcore socialist battled with intolerant Thatcher regime and public morale was very low so the launch of a creative hot bed such as London Fashion Week was a breath of fresh air. According to designers such as Betty Jackson, showing at the inaugural LFW was like painting on a blank canvas. “It was really unorganised but we didn’t care because we were all so excited about it,” she enthuses. This is a far cry from the slick operation that the LFW now employ; it is all top notch security, elegant looking staff (dressed in black of course) at the reception and a very classy press area with complimentary hairdressers in the shape of Toni and Guy and MAC stand giving make overs.

The British Fashion Council is commemorating this momentous occasion by hosting a variety of events around London as well as legacy initiatives. The BFC have a brand new spanking website which is set to become an essential industry portal and act as a resource for designers. LFW will be moving to a new home and from September they will be based at the swish Somerset House. These celebrations will culminate in November at the British Fashion Awards where the good and great of British fashion will be honoured. The anniversary has been represented visually; all the publicity material for LFW has 25th logo emblazoned on it, including the corporate buses that ferry the journos and photographers between shows. So after an amazing 25 years what is next for LFW? Well the first thing is to maximise the exposure that the 2012 Olympics will bring to present the energy of the fashion industry. Also to maintain and grow London’s reputation as the birthplace of exciting talent and culturally diverse fashion industries. So roll on the next 25 years.

LFW in 1984

Designers: Betty Jackson, BodyMap, Jasper Conran, Arabella Pollen, Zandra Rhodes, Jean Muir, Vivienne Westwood and Caroline Charles
Venue: Olympia
Sponsors: Murjani
Celebrities: Boy George, Samantha Fox

LFW in 2009

Designers: Vivienne Westwood, Luella Bartley, Ben de Lisi, Basso and Brooke, Jenny Packham, Eley Kishimoto, Betty Jackson, Nicole Farhi, Jaeger and many more.
Venue: Natural History Museum
Sponsors: Canon Europe, London Development Agency, British Airways, Chambourd, Drapers, Evening Standard, Evian, Lavazza, LG, M*A*C Cosmetics, The May Fair Hotel, Monsoon, Moet & Chandon, Red Bull, Renault UK, Selective Beauty, Toni&Guy, TopShop, ToyWatch and UKTI.
Celebrities: Kanye West, Samantha Cameron, Alexa Chung, Roisin Murphy, Peaches Geldof and numerous others.

Images provided by the British Fashion Council

2 cool comments:

Ashley said...

Kudos to Vivienne Westwood, 1984-2009! Now that's lasting power.


Sabb said...

unbelieveable that there was a time before LFW!