London kicks off fashion shows amid catwalk shake-up

Fri Feb 19, 2016 5:52pm EST
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By Li-mei Hoang

LONDON (Reuters) - London picked up the fashion baton from New York on Friday with five days of catwalk shows and presentations amid an industry shake-up as designers strive to sell their creations faster.

London Fashion Week, which returns to a car park as its main venue, will feature 83 designers presenting their autumn/winter 2016 collections, including Burberry, Alexander McQueen, Erdem and Topshop Unique.

Among the most anticipated shows will be that of luxury goods maker Mulberry, which returns to the catwalk after a break with new creative director Johnny Coca, formerly at Louis Vuitton and Celine.

"The industry as a whole is really excited," said Pandora Sykes, fashion features editor at The Sunday Times Style magazine. "He is the person that made everyone want Celine luggage. So if he can even lend a soupcon of that to Mulberry, then they are already on the up."

The London shows take place as an increasing number of luxury labels seek to satisfy demand from clients living in different climates, by bridging the usual six-month gap between catwalk presentation and retail availability.

Burberry has said it is cutting down its four catwalk shows to two in February and September, featuring both menswear and womenswear, and that the clothes will be available to purchase straight after.

In an interview, Mulberry Chief Executive Thierry Andretta said Burberry's decision will "impact people's thinking".

British Fashion Council Chief Executive Caroline Rush told Reuters that businesses were "really thinking about how do they put the customer at the heart of what they do, and this is really what it is about.   Continued...

A model presents a creation from the J. JS Lee catwalk show at London Fashion Week Autumn/Winter 16 in London, Britain February 19, 2016. REUTERS/Neil Hall