Vogue Fashion Festival
This past weekend we were lucky to secure a ticket to the first ever Vogue Fashion Festival where the biggest names in the fashion industry, including Christopher Bailey, Matthew Williamson, Tom Ford, David Bailey, Diane von Furstenberg, Mary Katrantzou, and Jourdan Dunn (just to name a few) spoke about everything, from how they got their start in the fashion industry to what to wear down the red carpet, to a raptured audience at The Royal Geographical Society. We had such a great time and wanted to highlight some of our favorite talks below.
First up was Christopher Bailey, Burberry’s creative director. As noted by Alexandra Shulman, the editor of British Vogue, during his time at Burberry he has successfully resuscitated a brand and brought London back into the fashion eye, when he moved Burberry’s fashion week show from Milan to London, a move which has also helped put young British fashion designers back into the spotlight. Christopher Bailey was charming and witty during his conversation with Alexandra, and left no doubt as to his love and commitment to the Burberry brand. Highlights of his talk included his advice on whether education is key for young designers wanting to get into the business of fashion. Christopher’s response was that the teaching of design is important because it gives the designer grounding and exposes them to different areas of the business. However, he did note that it was not the only way to get into the fashion business. He also discussed the importance of technology as a connector, not only for the global Burberry family but also for their global customers.
Another talk we loved was the panel featuring Lucinda Chambers, Vogue fashion director, Marigay McKee, Harrods fashion and beauty director, Matthew Williamson, one of our favourite UK fashion designers, and famed casting director Russell Marsh. Each regaled us with stories of how they entered and found their niche in the fashion industry. We especially loved hearing about how Lucinda Chambers got her start at Vogue thanks to a well aimed cigarette that she threw, which landed on the desk of the assistant of the then-editor of Vogue - Beatrix Miller.
The talk given by Diane von Furstenberg about taking her passions and turning them into her career, inspired us beyond belief.
Her stories of how she started the DVF empire and the ups and downs throughout her career moved the audience. Some of her most memorable statements during her talk included noting that the reason some of the most exciting designers are from Belgium is probably because Belgium is so boring; that when she was younger she didn’t know what she wanted to do, but she knew the type of woman she wanted to be; and that she doesn’t consider the DVF brand a “luxury” brand but instead a “love” brand. Similar to Christopher Bailey, Diane von Furstenberg also noted the importance of technology and how it allows her to connect with her customers globally.
The Fashion Question Time, was an informative talk, which featured a panel of Britain’s hottest designers: Holly Fulton, Henry Holland, Roksanda Ilincic, Christopher Kane, Mary Katrantzou, Nicholas Kirkwood. The panel discussion provided those who are interested in working in the fashion industry with some great insights. There was a great discussion about how platforms, like the British Fashion Counsel’s mentoring platform, and the support form people like Samantha Cameron is testament to the support behind British fashion. There was also a great discussion about the future of catwalk shows with the rise of digital media. The panel agreed that it was hard to say one medium would supersede as they are both so different and both evoke different reactions in people. However, the panel did agree that there will always be a place for catwalk shows as they invoke a special emotional reaction in people. The panel also addressed a question about the importance of training to which Christopher Kane noted that his fashion education provided him in-depth knowledge about fashion, while Mary Krantantzou noted that even if you didn’t pursue a formal education in fashion you would still need to educate yourself. The panel also offered the audience its best career advice – Holly Fulton noted that to work in fashion one should gain an understanding of business and to treat everyone as you would want to be treated, while Roksanda Ilincic noted that young designers should believe in their vision and stay focused.
Overall, we found the first Vogue Fashion Festival a great success and we can’t wait for next years event!