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London catwalk shows straight into the shops

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London catwalk shows straight into the shops
Beetroot juice on tap, cropped frayed jeans in the front row and frilled blouses on the catwalk at J. JS Lee’s opening show. So far, so familiar for London fashion week, which began on Friday morning with a Soho car park as its headquarters.

But the newest trend at London fashion week is one coming from within the industry in what might be called “Insta-gratification” – the ability to buy the clothes seen on the runway immediately. The biannual event is due to be transformed from September, when Burberry will show a “see-now, buy-now” collection, doing away with the up to six month wait between the show and the clothes appearing in the shops.
Massenet, the founder of Net-a-Porter, was nowhere to be seen on Friday. She was, instead, at Buckingham Palace, in the process of becoming a Dame. There are some things, it seems, that can stand even in the way of fashion.

This season boasts two notable catwalk returns on Sunday. Alexander McQueen will show on the womenswear schedule for the first time in London in over 10 years in the evening. It is the first time a Sarah Burton-designed womenswear collection, usually shown in Paris, will be seen here. And Mulberry, the Somerset-based brand famed for accessories like the Alexa handbag, returns to the catwalk for the first time since the designer Emma Hill left in 2013.

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The new creative director, Johnny Coca, is tasked with returning the brand, which has struggled in recent years, to the kind of success that saw profits rise 207% in the second half of 2011. His previous gig was as an accessories designer at Celine, the Parisian house with a fervent cult of followers in the front row. “London is a global fashion capital so it makes sense for international businesses to show here,” said the BFC chief executive, Caroline Rush.
Topshop will broadcast the setup of their Unique show on Sunday to their 6.2 million followers on Instagram, but, if that seems old hat, the shots will be taken by Nick Knight, who usually shoots covers for Vogue and videos for Kanye West, rather than the brand’s digital marketing team. The brand describe it as a way to “challenge the classic, often ubiquitous documentation process”.

In what is being billed as a battle of the handbags, Charlotte Olympia goes up against Anya Hindmarch with both of the accessories designers having catwalk shows. Charlotte Olympia, designed by Charlotte Dellal, is famed for fun bags and shoes and an photogenic inner circle that numbers models and socialites, had her first a catwalk show on Friday evening. Hindmarch’s shows have featured gymnasts and choirs in the past. Sunday’s, which had a Rubik’s cube as an invitation, will no doubt come with further bells and whistles.

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