London Bridal Fashion Week 2016 cancelled

Mercury Trade Events, the organisers behind London Bridal Fashion Week (LBfw), have announced the cancellation of the event’s second edition.

According to a statement published on Friday, the event, which was scheduled to take place in May, has been cancelled due to the lack of industry support, in spite of all attempts by the trade show organisers. Unfortunately London Bridal Fashion Week failed to attract the needed level of exhibitor interest, and after “considerable though and analysis of the market needs”, the exhibitors have decided to pull the plug on the event and withdraw from the bridal buying calendar.

Mercury Trade Events will be working alongside with Ocean Media to ensure that all the companies which had planned on participating and attending LBfw either receive a refund or the opportunity to exhibit at one of Ocean Media’s upcoming trade events. The organisers added that they “have been keen to express their gratitude to those who have supported LBfw over the years.”

BFC to present largest public fashion exhibition

The British Fashion Council in partnership with the British Council has confirmed that the fourth edition of its annual emerging international fashion designer exhibition will mark the largest public fashion exhibition of its kind in February.

The event, which marks the only BFC initiative that is open to the public during London Fashion Week, will feature 130 emerging designers from 30 countries covering 4 continents presenting their designs at Brewer Street Car Park in London from February 20-24.

Organised in collaboration with embassies and international cultural institutions in London, the IFS aims to showcase the most interesting emerging designers through exhibitions grouped by country, each reflecting contemporary culture in each nation.

Highlights for the fourth showcase include Columbia’s exhibition curated by Liliana Sanguino, which will show the country’s traditional basket weaving, print and quilting techniques. There will also be a special showcase from Japan presenting collections that explore two extremes of contemporary fashion in Japan – the minimalist sensibility of traditional clothing (wafuku) and Japanese interpretations of Western-style dress (yofuku), while Poland will showcase an installation recreating three scenes, including couture pieces in an apartment setting; ready-to-wear presented in a street scene; and a Polish “night out”.

Nigeria will also be a country to look out for at the exhibition as it presents five designers including Lagos Fashion Week Young Designers alumni Kenneth Ize and Adebayo Oke-lawal, the designer behind LVMH Prize shortlisted label, Orange Culture.

International Fashion Showcase announces fourth edition

Sarah Mower, BFC ambassador for emerging talent, said: "The International Fashion Showcase is a unique project and the first to promote the work of emerging young designers from all over the world on such a large scale. It builds on London's reputation for shining the spotlight on young talent and celebrating diverse fashion cultures."

The exhibition will also feature an ‘Ones to Watch’ area curated by On Off with countries including the Netherlands, Morocco, Pakistan and Thailand, as well as a prize-giving ceremony honouring a country, a curator and a designer.

In addition, there will also be a designer mentoring programme facilitated by London College of Fashion, the Designer Support Programme will bring together a network of LCF affiliated academics and researchers, to help designers prepare for the showcase by offering them mentoring opportunities and seminars on business development during IFS. A collaboration with Fashion Scout will also offer designers involved in IFS the opportunity to show their work in a group catwalk show.

The IFS exhibition takes place at Brewer Street Car Park in London from February 20-24, during London Fashion Week.

Image: International Fashion Showcase

Tokyo Fashion Week: Backstage with Rei Hamada

Plumes of hairspray create a suffocating fog over a group of fashion models waiting to be beautified in a room overlooking Tokyo's trendy Shibuya district. A full eight hours before Rei Hamada is set to grace the catwalk at Tokyo Fashion Week in a designer kimono, coffee is gulped and snacks munched between pit-stops for hair, nails and make-up.

"Before I started I didn't imagine modelling would be quite so hard," she tells AFP. "The runways and photo shoots look gorgeous but it's tough. It can be a bit chaotic and you do need a lot of self-control." As a conveyor belt of hair and make-up artists work on the models, celebrated designer Jotaro Saito pops in to greet the statuesque women carefully selected for one of the hottest tickets of the week.

"We look for models who can be kimono-sexy, kimono-elegant," said the Kyoto-based Saito, whose eye-goggling pieces can cost up to 30,000 dollars each. "We don't want the old geisha-style. A model must have confidence, worldliness, and know how to express her beauty. She has to have an awareness of her sexiness and eroticism. She's symbolic of the modern world, of modern style."

Hamada, 29, got her big break in the cut-throat world of fashion after finishing runner-up at the 2007 Miss Universe Japan pageant. She could easily have ended up following a very different career path had she not been spotted as a 13-year-old whilst the playing piano at a family wedding in Kagoshima, on the southwestern tip of Japan.

"I wanted to be a kindergarten teacher," she says as long, fake eyelashes are delicately glued into place to make her almond eyes seem bigger and rounder. "I came to Tokyo when I was 18 but it was a struggle to get work at first. I did think about quitting if I didn't make it pay by about 23." Now a catwalk veteran, she insists the job is more complicated than it looks.

"When you're young, you're just young and pretty. But when you get a bit older you have to think more about how to make clothes look beautiful," she says. "People think models are like this everyday but it's not true. You have to control everything in your daily life -- look after your weight, your body balance, diet, skin."

Keep your passions in check

"I have to take care not to lose my temper or get emotional," she added, referring to backstage pre-show tensions when stress levels can rise. "I have to keep my passions in check for the job I love. I cook healthy food to make sure my weight doesn't fluctuate -- last night I made avocado and raw octopus. But one good thing about the job is that I don't have to do my own make-up."

For some, models have a reputation for being a little scatty, a little unthinking. That stereotype was reinforced recently when superstar Naomi Campbell seemingly forgot to proof-read a Tweet and congratulated "malaria" after the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to human rights campaigner Malala Yousafzai. But Hamada says if anything, she over-analyses things. "I get nervous about stuff," she says as the call goes out for rehearsals.

"I can be on the runway and it should just be natural, but sometimes I worry about what else I need to be doing. I'm looking forward to today's show but I'll be a little nervous before it starts about how to express myself." Hamada, who has appeared in New York Fashion Week and in collections across Asia, says despite the cliché of models being high-strung and temperamental, claims she has never witnessed any backstage bust-ups or hissy fits in her home country.

"There's no fighting in Japan," she says. "They organise everything so well to make sure that stuff doesn't happen here." Hamada proudly waves the flag for Japanese fashion. "I've been to New York, Singapore, Hong Kong ... and I've always thought the Japanese ways are very subtle -- the hair and make-up artists are the best in the world. The fashion has its subtleties too and Japanese designers predominantly think about how to make the clothes wearable (for consumers). The thought that goes into it is amazing."

Saito's show is a smash hit and Hamada oozes poise as she struts down the runway, pausing at the end to let her eyes smoulder into the middle distance. But the moment it is over, the glamour vanishes and she's rushing for a taxi. "I've got to get rid of all this make-up and shoot off," she said. "I've got an audition. And another one after that."

Photos: Getty Images and AFP

NYFW: Top 5 Fashion Week-trends spring/summer 2015

All eyes are fixed on the catwalks in New York, London, Milan and Paris this month, where the newest collections for summer 2015 are being displayed. But what trends will make it to the top most wanted list for next spring? FashionUnited lists the top 5 trends from New York Fashion Week.​

#1 Sport

Sportswear is no longer confined to the boundaries of the gym and trendy jogging leggings are spotted on the streets on a daily basis. So it was not very strange to see sportfashion items in pop up in collections for a number of labels, such as DKNY, Lacoste and L.A.M.B. Alexander Wang took the trend one step further and translated trainer designs into clothing. For example, the iconic Nike Flyknit was one of the many sportswear shoes that he transformed, turning it into a body-con dress. He also presented bomber jackets and tops whose lines and colors were taken from trendy sneakers.

(DKNY – L.A.M.B. - Alexander Wang)

#2 Layers

An abundance of fabric was spotted on the catwalk, crafted into pleats, folds and layers. Together it created a rich and lush image, but remained nevertheless sober due to the use of subdued colors. The lack of bold colors also makes its more wearable and accessible. This trend was spotted at the Row, the luxury brand from Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen. Incidentally, this collection was the last to be designed by Nadège Vanhee-Cybulski, who is set to begin her new role at Hermés.

(The Row – Rag & Bone – Rosetta Getty)

#3 Over-sized jacket

The large over-sized jacket has been a staple for the past few seasons, and remains a strong trend next summer. The jacket was spotted in two out of three collection presentations during New York Fashion Week, appearing in different lengths and colors, with or without lapels, with button or casually held shut with a knotted belt. One new version of this trend to emerge was the calf-length jacket, without sleeves, usually paired with long, wide pants.

(Theory – Thom Browne – Jason Wu)

#4 Summer sweater

The sweater is another trend that has overlapped several seasons and for spring/summer 2015 a number of variations have emerged. Special material blends, summer knits and a range of colors and necklines have been spotted. Victoria Beckham showed a special example during her catwalk show, which featured braided details at the neck and hemline of the sweater.

(Tibi – Tory Burch – Victoria Beckham)

#5 Bandeau Top

It remains to be seen whether or not this trend is picked up by the general public, as this catwalk trend may not be for every fashion lover. Nevertheless, the somewhat revealing bandeau top has made it onto the top 5 list because it was spotted all over the catwalk. It was tastefully combined with a prairie skirt at Diane von Furstenberg and Donna Karan, whilst it was given a more festive chic vibe at Alexander Wang and hip at Marc by Marc Jacobs.

(Diane von Furstenberg – Donna Karan – Marc by Marc Jacobs)

Photo's: and

MFW: Top 5 Fashion Week-trends spring/summer 2015

All eyes are fixed on the catwalks in New York, London, Milan and Paris this month, where the newest collections for summer 2015 are being displayed. But what trends will make it to the top most wanted list for next spring? FashionUnited lists the top 5 trends from New York Fashion Week.

#1 The Seventies hippies

The seventies enjoyed a strong comeback on the catwalks in Milan. It is rare for one trend to come forward so prominently in the majority of the collection presentations, but seventies fever was spotted at Gucci, Max Mara, Just Cavalli, Costume National, Etro and Emilio Pucci in the form of retro flower prints, floppy hats, suede mini skirts, fringes and sharp collars.

Emilio Pucci - Etro - Max Mara

#2 Transparent

Transparent fabrics, mesh and sheer veils, or as the mainstream media delicately put it “uncovered nipples on the catwalks in Milan.” The Italian fashion capital is indeed no place for prudish models or those faint of heart, but those who are not distracted by the exposed flesh will see the limitless opportunities for summer layering, unexpected cut-outs and a combination with bandeau tops which emerged during NYFW.

Versace - Fendi - No. 21

#3 Abundant combinations Colorful mixtures of prints, stripes, polka dots and embroidery were spotted on the catwalks of Milan. But color blocking, the use of contrasting bands and belts, and the addition of an unexpected accent was also seen. Overall outfits were busy, wild with a touch of happiness.

Stella Jean - Roberto Cavalli – Moschino

#4 Elaborated denim It is rare to see a plain pair of jeans shown on the catwalk, but an elaborated pair of jeans featuring applications and rhinestones like Dolce & Gabbana presented is a bird of a different feather. Bottega Veneta also showcased denim with applications, but in with a more understated and chic touch. Frida Giannini presented a unique twist to the head-to-toe denim look during the presentation of Gucci's acclaimed collection.

Dolce & Gabbana - Bottega Veneta – Gucci

#5 Asymmetrical neckline The asymmetrical neckline, often paired with a revealed shoulder, has been on our list for the past two weeks but failed to make it into the top 5 trends list. However after Milan fashion week, we are unable to avoid this trend. The neckline was spotted all over the catwalk at Angelos Bratis, Emporio Armani, Costume National and Versace, combined with a bare shoulder and long sleeve on the opposing arm.

Angelos Bratis - Costume National – Versace

Paris: The fashion week circus

There was a time when the front row was devoid of celebrity and famous faces. Instead, the seating at salons and runways were reserved for press, private clients, buyers and those that mattered in the industry, like investors, tastemakers, opinion leaders. The hierarchy of seating was easy: on the front row you would seat a publication's editor in chief and fashion director, main buyers, etc. On the second row, and those behind, those with less important titles would sit furthest from the catwalk. All very logical and practical.

A fashion show is now longer just about next season's clothes

But these days a fashion show is not just about clothes or even image. It's about visibility, column inches, instagram likes and . The global fashion weeks are huge marketing opportunities for celebrities to be seen and photographed alongside the most glamorous events in the world. It is also a time when many actresses, who are paid ambassadors for luxury houses, must turn up every six months to sit on the front row and wear that designer's clothes.

Generally these events are so well organised, they happen every six months at the same locations, so brands have plenty of practise to ensure smooth runnings of their presentations.

But in Paris this week there was no getting away from the maddening crowd. The Balmain show, which saw the Kardashian clan as it guests, proved to be such a logistical catastrophe that completely spun out of control. Sure there a pre announcement to the media as to which celebrities were expected to show, but the frantic scramble of guests and those hoping to catch a glimpse of somebody famous, meant the actual invitees who are meant to sit on the front row and review the collection, couldn't access the venue. A circus of paparazzi ensued with the entire world writing about the near tumble taken by a reality television star.

In the end it could be regarded a clever tactic to create enormous hype before a show, with footage and images circulating on the internet long before the first outfit had been shown on the catwalk.

Some might call this genius marketing, but others, if you are attending this show, as you are so many others in one day for a series for four weeks, it gets tiresome. It's a shame that some brands cannot let the clothes speak for themselves. Perhaps the rule with fashion is like those with people: the person screaming the loudest is not necessarily the most interesting in the room.

PFW: Top 5 Fashion Week-trends spring/summer 2015

The Paris fashion shows wrapped up Wednesday with yellow, wide-legged trousers, transparency and 1970s-inspired looks among the catwalk trends likely to be winging their way towards the high street for spring/summer 2015.

The highlight of the nine-day fashion marathon was Jean Paul Gaultier's spectacular last ready-to-wear show before bowing out to concentrate on haute couture. The hottest ticket in town, the show was crammed with Gaultier signatures such as stripes and bodices and topped off with a large dose of his famously wacky sense of humour. Here are five key trends that emerged from the catwalks:

#1 Transparency

Sheer looks were everywhere this season, from Rick Owens and Valentino to Corrie Nielsen and Vionnet. It was all a lot more discreet than the last round of ready-to-wear collections when Vivienne Westwood even had one model flaunt her nipples in a bridal dress. US designer Owens, whose collection featured a lot of transparent looks, explained that his objective was always "bareness with modesty" when using sheer fabrics. "I try not to have too much transparency over the bust. I don't like flashing a lot -- but I love skin," he said.


#2 Wide-legged trousers

At Chanel they came in the brand's trademark tweedy fabric, at Chloe it was denim, while Balmain plumped for mousseline and leather. Wide-legged and flared trousers, cropped or in some cases virtually trailing along the floor, look set to make a comeback next season.


#3 Normal

Paris fashion may not have succumbed to the mass market retail trend for very ordinary-looking clothing known as "Normcore". But many looks on the catwalks did feature a practical feel. From a hoodie poncho at Chloe to a navy ensemble that looked a touch like hospital scrubs at Celine, there were plenty of very simple pieces that left some critics yearning for a few more fireworks. Fashion consultant Jean-Jacques Picart told AFP that fashion seemed to have strayed into "a certain banality". But he said the risk was no greater than a few years when fashion went too far in the other direction in a "frenzy of excess". The balance was likely to be readjusted next season, he said.


#4 Yellow

Always a good colour for summer, Emanuel Ungaro designer Fausto Puglisi's glamorous one-shouldered yellow gown and blue and yellow prints were among a string of upbeat yellow looks on the catwalks. Bold dashes of yellow also brightened JC de Castelbajac's abstract patterns and Carven's motor racing-inspired looks. Caroline Herrera meanwhile used sherbet for outfits including a two-piece suit and a long floaty strapless dress. Phillip Lim chose shocking yellow for trousers and tops.

Jean-Charles de Castelbajac


It was impossible not to have 1970s flashbacks from one Elie Saab white jumpsuit and some long, floaty dresses with plunging neck lines. Valentino's long-sleeved print dresses exuded the same 1970s feel. Elsewhere Corrie Nielsen went for a string of "Mad Men" style looks and Giambattista Valli also featured 1960s influenced silhouettes. On feet, knee-high laced gladiator sandals completed the retro look.

Jean-Charles de Castelbajac

(Helen Rowe, AFP)

Photos: British Vogue

Tokyo Fashion Week: a niche for edgy young designers

While it may not boast the big names that draw the international press to Milan, Paris, New York and London, Tokyo Fashion Week has long enjoyed a reputation as a springboard for up-and-coming young designers.

But 10 years after it first stepped out onto the international catwalk, Tokyo is facing two serious challenges: a declining domestic market and the emergence of regional rivals wanting to steal the spotlight. In many ways Tokyo seems happy with the niche it has carved out for itself -- a showcase for young, relatively unknown and edgy designers -- even if others would like to see it expand its scope.

Top-flight Japanese designers such as Kenzo, Issey Miyake, Yohji Yamamoto and Comme des Garcons have for years shown their collections in Paris instead of Tokyo, and more recent success stories have followed suit, such as Sacai and conceptual label Anrealage, which made its maiden foray in Paris last month. The French capital offers them more visibility with buyers and the fashion press from around the world, who do the rounds between New York, London, Milan and Paris but rarely make the long trip to Tokyo.

For some, that is a missed opportunity. "It's a shame because this city is so inspiring," says Anna Dello Russo, editor at large with the Japanese edition of Vogue, adding that she thinks the young and creative designers showing in Europe should also show in Tokyo. "I...(would like to) come here to see all the up-and-coming Japanese designers, on the catwalk." But for the organisers of Tokyo Fashion Week, the fact that the big names still prefer Paris is not an issue.

"I think it is rather natural to prepare here in Japan and then go to Paris to try the world market. We like to rather encourage the people who go (on to) try the overseas markets like Paris," says Akiko Shinoda, director of international affairs at Japan Fashion Week. One reason why designers choose to show abroad is that faced with a shrinking population at home and a smaller domestic market every year, overseas shows offer the exposure needed to reach foreign buyers, explains Shinoda. With the big names absent, Tokyo's shows feature collections from around 50 smaller designers -- most of them Japanese.

Long tradition

With looks inspired by manga or Hello Kitty and clothes that range from the traditional to the avant-garde, Tokyo prides itself on its creativity, its street style, trendy shops and global reputation for design. But it is also aware that cities such as Seoul and Shanghai are piling resources into their own fashion weeks and could threaten Japan's leading position in Asia, Shinoda explains.

"At this moment Tokyo is top, top, top, there is no comparison. But we have to watch always that Thailand, Indonesia, Seoul, all the governments are investing a lot of money to encourage their own fashion week to develop. We'll be very careful." Japanese designer Yu Amatsu, who was behind the latest collection for Hanae Mori, the grande dame of Japanese haute couture, as well as presenting his own label "A Degree Fahrenheit" at this year's fashion week, says that Tokyo is a gathering of "brilliant craftsmen."

"But the problem is that we are sometimes a little reserved. We struggle to open ourselves up to the rest of the world," he says. The Japanese government has been keen to support a textile industry that enjoys a solid reputation for quality but has been in decline for years. For Geraldine Florin, a buyer with French department store Galeries Lafayette, the "made in Japan" label is a sign of high quality, but one that inevitably pushes up prices.

"That positions Japanese fashion at the high-end. That's why we want products that are that much more creative and bring something different to the table, to justify the higher price," she explains. Japanese fashion journalist Keiko Hirayama says the key to the future of Japanese designers is their originality, their vision and their experience in selling in the current challenging economic environment. And she is optimistic about the future, regardless of the challenges posed by regional rivals and shrinking markets.

"We have the longest tradition of fashion in Asia, and the Japanese are passionate enough to make it endure." (Anne-Laure Mondesert, AFP)

Photos: Getty Images

Showcasing its collation at the Louve, Raf Simons for Dior showed an ovoid and slim silhouettes in a collection that referenced both the 18th century as it did the modern age. There were light cotton broderie anglaise dresses, smocks and cropped knitted jackets with a techno-sport application. There were plenty of florals, but the frock coat was a key style, with the emphasis on its cut that appeared in many of the silhouettes with edged splits to the satin gilets in vibrant color.

Maison Martin Margiela is a brand widely associated with deconstructed fashion and for its spring summer 2015 collection, there was a sense of underlayering as worn as an outer shield. Sheer nudes were in stark contrast to heavier weight fabrics used such as denim, damask, and suiting. Some 70’s influences shone through with hand painted daisy patterns and silk scarf handkerchief tops. Wrap styling was a key detail with skirts, dresses, and jackets.

Junya Watanabe showed space-age astronauts during Paris Fashion Week, with shiny geometric plates and 3D patent and PVC fabrics. The clothes are first glance were futuristic, as the models stomped out on patent platform brogues. But they were not exactly unwearable, like a shiny red patent coat teamed with black cigarette pants. That would look modern, and not too other-worldly.

Viktor & Rolf boarded the sportswear train this season, with ballet vests, cycling shorts, leggings and even mesh in the collection. But it was juxtaposed with complicated tunics and dresses, some with floral prints and complex draping. Sportswear has been everywhere for some time, so to be introducing it now, a novel departure for this duo, seems a little late.

Fashion Week Tokyo was in full swing Tuesday after it opened in a burst of colour and bold prints, with butterflies, kisses, and geometric patterns dominating the first shows.

Hanae Mori, one of Japan's most internationally acclaimed fashion houses, showcased its first collection by in-demand young designer Yu Amatsu, which featured swarms of butterflies printed onto classic pieces such as shift dresses, jackets and shorts. Oscar-winning actress Tilda Swinton, known for her avant-garde style, attended the show which opened the 2015 Spring-Summer collections on Monday, with Colombian designer and close friend Haider Ackermann.

Amatsu said: "The name Hanae Mori is very important to me. I simply express what I see myself, through my own filter. "The main theme for this collection has been butterflies. Albeit there are many types of butterflies, I focused on the Danainae rather than the Swallowtail."

He added he wanted to express the "powerful daintiness" of the Danainae type of butterfly best seen when they swarm, rather than the larger Swallowtail, which he said "represented gracefulness". Amatsu, who previously worked with Marc Jacobs, will showcase the new collection from his own brand A Degree Farenheit later on Tuesday.

Another opener of the week was DRESSCAMP, which rolled out a pop modern collection with lots of kissmarks and geometric patterns on Monday. "This season's inspiration is from the artist, Ultra Violet. I started by thinking what are the rules that Ultra Violet has, and built up this collection from that," said designer Toshikazu Iwaya, referring to a French-born artist who worked with Salvador Dali and Andy Warhol.

Tokyo Fashion Week runs until Sunday, with 48 brands participating, the bulk of them Japanese. (AFP)