Tom Ford to unveil womenswear line in London catwalk debut

Mon Feb 18, 2013 3:22pm EST
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By Alice Baghdjian and Dasha Afanasieva

LONDON (Reuters) - American designer Tom Ford will unveil his womenswear line to the world on Monday in a London debut that will help seal the city's credentials as a major international fashion hub.

Industry bloggers and buyers have flocked to London this season drawn by the big names on show, including Burberry, Erdem, Vivienne Westwood and Ford.

The direct value of the British fashion industry to the UK's $2.5 trillion economy is 21 billion pounds ($32.6 billion), according to estimates from the British Fashion Council (BFC).

Even though it has produced some of fashion's biggest names, such as Alexander McQueen and Stella McCartney, London in the past has struggled to maintain its international profile on a par with Paris, Milan and New York.

But with stars like singer Rihanna and fashion darling Ford heading this year's catwalk line-up along with well established names like Westwood, London is rising to the challenge.

"Never before has the international consumer been more educated and had more desire to own the collections that come from our London runways," said Natalie Massenet, Chairman of the BFC and founder of online luxury clothing retailer Net-a-Porter at the start of London Fashion Week.

With buyers from 39 different countries attending, the BFC estimates orders of more than 100 million pounds are placed each season at London Fashion Week.

Canadian-born designer Erdem Moralioglu, whose highly sought-after designs please celebrities on both sides of the Atlantic, presented his signature florals on Monday in moody black and blue grey tones with bursts of yellow and lilac.   Continued...

Designer Tom Ford walks on the catwalk following the presentation of the Tom Ford Autumn/Winter 2013 collection during London Fashion Week, February 18, 2013. REUTERS/Suzanne Plunkett