Wednesday, September 19, 2012

New York Fashion Week's social media stars - San Francisco Chronicle (blog)

Just when you thought fashion fans couldn’t possibly spend more time on social media, this news: During New York Fashion Week earlier this month, the volume of tweets about the semi-annual assembly of runway shows doubled from last year’s number to 671,028. That’s according to social media agency Whispr Group, which put out an eye-catching infographic packed with stats on designers and the surrounding buzz.

Among the more interesting findings? Victoria Beckham â€" and not Marc Jacobs or Michael Kors â€" was the most-discussed designer on Twitter, with more than 17,000 tweets about her label alone and a growth of some 53,000 Twitter followers. And if you like to rely on social media sources for your style advice, Twitter chatter suggests white hues and leather accents will be big for spring.

See a bigger version of the complete infographic here.

Posted By: Lorraine Sanders ( Email ) | Sep 19 at 9:00 am

Fast fashion and internet drive Inditex past forecasts - Reuters

A customer grabs her purchase at a Zara store in Madrid September 19, 2012. The world's largest clothing retailer, Zara owner Inditex, posted a 32 percent jump in first-half year profit on Wednesday, beating expectations, boosted by rapid expansion to fast-growing emerging markets. REUTERS/Susana Vera

1 of 2. A customer grabs her purchase at a Zara store in Madrid September 19, 2012. The world's largest clothing retailer, Zara owner Inditex, posted a 32 percent jump in first-half year profit on Wednesday, beating expectations, boosted by rapid expansion to fast-growing emerging markets.

Credit: Reuters/Susana Vera

MADRID | Wed Sep 19, 2012 9:52am EDT

MADRID (Reuters) - Fast-changing fashion ranges and a drive to win new customers online and in emerging markets helped Spain's Inditex, the world's biggest clothing retailer and owner of the Zara brand, to beat first-half profit forecasts on Wednesday.

Inditex, which runs eight brands including upmarket Massimo Dutti, youth label Bershka and underwear store Oysho, said net profit rose by a third as market share gains largely offset lower spending in its recession-hit home market.

Retailers across Europe are mostly struggling as shoppers' disposable incomes are squeezed by rising prices, muted wage growth and austerity measures.

But those tapping into growth areas like online shopping, emerging markets and "fast fashion" - where affordable versions of new styles can be brought from the catwalk into stores in as little as a fortnight - are still able to thrive.

British online fashion retailer ASOS also posted a surge in quarterly sales on Wednesday.

"The drivers are certainly there - the rapid rollout of online sales and fast fashion - but even so it's a spectacular performance," said Societe Generale analyst Anne Critchlow of Inditex's results.

At 1025 GMT, Inditex shares were up 1.9 percent at 93.84 euros. The stock has risen 45 percent this year, far outperforming the European retail sector which is up 6.6 percent and the Spanish blue-chip index, down 4.9 percent.

Inditex, whose founder Amancio Ortega is now Spain's richest person and the world's fifth-wealthiest according to the Forbes list of billionaires, was one of the pioneers of fast fashion.

The model is now widely copied and things are still speeding up. On Tuesday British fashion chain Topshop streamed fashion models live from the catwalk via social media, allowing shoppers to make immediate purchases.

Zara's Spanish website features 92 products that are new this week, including a black lace dress with long sleeves for 49.95 euros, a black fur coat for 399 euros and a box-shaped red and black clutch bag for 49.95 euros.


Inditex said it made a first-half net profit of 944 million euros ($1.2 billion), beating a forecast of 905 million in a Reuters poll of banks and brokerages.

Sales at stores open over a year were up 7 percent from the start of the third quarter through to September 17, it added.

Hennes & Mauritz, the world's second largest fashion retailer, said earlier this week unusually warm weather in Europe dented demand for autumn clothes and led to an unexpected drop in sales in August.

With more than 5,600 stores across 85 countries, Inditex plans to open between 480 and 520 new retail outlets this year, many of them in the world's second-largest economy China, where it launched a website at the start of this month.

Despite its global reach Inditex's market penetration remains at low levels in most countries outside Spain and Portugal, with initial openings focused in key cities.

That has reduced the risk that its entry into online sales would simply drag existing customers out of its stores.

"Online is allowing Inditex to access customers that wouldn't be near one of its concept stores," said Critchlow.

Inditex has given no guidance on its online performance, but internet sales could be boosting growth to the tune of at least 2 percentage points, Societe Generale calculates.


Inditex continues to have a loyal following in its home country, dominating many Spanish shopping streets with its different offerings, which include Lefties - where shoppers can buy last-season Zara clothes - and the pricier Uterque, which specializes in luxury accessories.

Nevertheless, Inditex has reduced its reliance on its home market to 22 percent of sales from 26 percent a year ago, opening 166 new stores in 39 markets during the first half.

The latest Spanish retail sales figures for July showed a 7.3 percent year-on-year fall, the 25th consecutive drop, and shoppers there were dealt a further blow at the beginning of this month when the government hiked value-added tax.

Inditex told analysts during a conference call it had a 12 percent market share in Spain, with half belonging to flagship chain Zara. The company has never given details of its market share but analysts think it must be taking business from rivals like department store group El Corte Ingles, helping to compensate for falling consumption.

Analysts calculated Inditex's sales in Spain were probably down in the first half by about 1 percent.

Since Spain entered its first recession in 2008, a large number of independent stores have closed as Spanish banks withhold financing.

($1 = 0.7660 euros)

(additional reporting by Rodrigo de Miguel and Robert Hetz; Editing by Mark Potter)

Philadelphia's own Fashion Week catching hold - Philadelphia Inquirer

Fashionably speaking, Philadelphia is where it's at this week. As New York Fashion Week ended, top fashion editors came to town, celebrity stylists have popped in, and designers are debuting their spring collections here.

Organizers of the Philadelphia Collection: Own It, the city-sponsored fashion extravaganza featuring runway shows, industry seminars, and, of course, cocktails, must be pleased.

After years of trying to get the attention of people in the fashion know to open stylish businesses here, the industry's elite are finally starting to take notice.

Highlights of this year's Philadelphia Collection include visits from Essence beauty editor Mikki Taylor and couture women's wear designer B Michael.

On Thursday, the celebrity stylist Carson Kressley of Queer Eye fame will attend a Philadelphia Collection party.

The week left an impression on editors from Big Apple fashion mags Harper's Bazaar, Zinc, Ebony, and Lucky as well as five fashion writers from the United Kingdom, who got a taste of Philadelphia's premier shopping and fashion events.

"There is a wide array of amazing fashion talent in Philadelphia," said Lisa Luna, an editor at Harper's Bazaar. "I will definitely put this event on my calendar and come back on the weekends to do much-needed shopping."

"I heard that Philadelphia shopping was good," agreed Bobby Schuessler, contributing editor at Lucky magazine, "but I had no idea it was this good." Schuessler bought a striped sweater from Kembrel and also raved about Boyds, Joan Shepp, and Town Home.

"I could spend all day browsing the expertly curated boutiques on North Third Street," Schuessler added.

The Philadelphia Collection has proved to be more than just a way for the city to raise its fashion credibility. The organization, led by Michelle Shannon of the Center City District and Melanie Johnson of the mayor's office, have united a once-disparate and racially segregated fashion community, galvanizing it under one stylish umbrella.

On Wednesday night, the city's 19-year-old runway fete, Phasion Phest, will take over the Shops of Liberty Place. Rittenhouse Row retailers will hold their annual cocktail party and runway show at the Comcast Center.

On Thursday, FBH the Agency, founded by young African American businessmen Kerry Scott and Kevin Parker, will kick off its weekend of Philadelphia Fashion Week runway shows with a black-tie affair at Commerce Square. More than a dozen designers will be showing their spring 2013 collections.

The Philadelphia Collection has helped the city finally create the much-needed fashion synergy among retailers, shoppers, designers, and design schools, including longtime textile giant Philadelphia University and newcomer Immaculata.

The collection has evolved simultaneously with fashion. The industry still revolves around fall and spring runway shows in New York, London, Paris, and Milan, but the clothing looks and feels as if it can be worn in every season.

The biggest change is that fashion, like food, is becoming more locally driven. Emerging designers are coming together in their home towns - like Philadelphia - to create co-ops to sell their wares. Many are trying to work together to find opportunities to manufacture clothing locally, as overseas sewing isn't just getting more expensive, but also is linked to high unemployment rates and is becoming viewed as un-American.

The Philadelphia Collection is helping create a smaller stage - one outside of New York, but just as important. It's especially crucial for emerging labels like Bela Shehu's Nino Brand and Nicole Haddad's Lobo Mau, which are getting picked up in boutiques here and in other cities.

The New York-based designer Ouigi Theodore, creative director of Brooklyn Circus, debuted his spring 2013 menswear line here last week, the day after New York Fashion Week ended. That's a big deal in a style world that thrives on being New York-centric.

"Philly has really helped us get our name out there," Theodore said. "We hope to come back every year and introduce our collection here in Philadelphia."

The Philadelphia Collection was created three years ago as part of a plan to persuade high-end retailers who want to move to the region to choose Center City over, say, King of Prussia. The first year, there were just 50 events. This year, that number has doubled. The majority of the events are free and open to the public.

This year, about $90,000 was spent on marketing, advertising, and other expenses. About $50,000 was raised in kind from a dozen sponsors.

Philadelphia hasn't won all the bids - Top Shop, a popular British shopping haunt and fave of Kate Middleton, opened a small boutique at the King of Prussia Nordstrom - but Center City's fashion wins are starting to add up.

In the spring, Philadelphia was named by Forbes as one of the best U.S. cities to shop. In January, Lucky named Philadelphia No. 14 among its 25 best cities for shopping.

More evidence of Philadelphia's rise is the new retail in the Rittenhouse Square area.

On Tuesday, Anne Klein opened a flagship store on Walnut Street. And Wednesday, specialty lingerie boutique Hope Chest will host a soft opening on Chestnut Street.

On Friday, contemporary designer haunt Intermix will open at 18th and Chestnut in the old Knit Wit space. There are also rumblings that Uniqlo, the preppier Japanese H&M, will be coming, too.

Said Stefani Greenfield, chief creative officer of New York-based Anne Klein: "The city is increasingly emerging as a great lifestyle destination."

The TPC effect at work.

Contact Elizabeth Wellington at 215-854-2704 or

For a schedule of events, go to

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Benetton's New Unhate Campaign Seeks "Unemployee of the Year" - Daily Beast


The line’s new campaign, entitled “Unemployee of the Year,” promises to be just as controversial: it’s a competition that aims to give unemployed young people an opportunity to express their concepts for a project that will have a positive social impact. 

The web-based competition, open from Tuesday until October 30, asks unemployed 18 to 30-year-olds (or, “NEETs” -- not in education, employment or training-- as they call them) to submit their proposals to the UNHATE Foundation site. Projects can be something abstract to a full-blown business idea, with the only requirement that the project have some tangible benefit for the immediate community. Only 18 to 30-year-olds will be invited to vote on what they consider to be the best proposals, and 100 projects with the most votes will be awarded €5000 each and offered practical support by the Foundation.

Benetton's Communications Director, Gianluca Pastore, said that the search for the Unemployee of the Year is about creating a "shift in perception" and aims to "celebrate a generation that is trying hard to find it’s place in society." Alessandro Benetton, chairman of the business since April, said that spotlighting social issues is an important part of the brand’s DNA. This project, he says, is an “institutional campaign about long term values, not at all commercially related. We must keep building on the values that have made Benetton the brand that it is.”  When asked about his plans for the fashion brand as a whole, he says: “Today, as in recent campaigns, we are focusing on our strengths to ensure that the customer gets back in touch with our values. We are not a disposable fashion brand. We need to re-iterate, improve and re-express what Benetton stands for and what we are very good at doing."

Like The Daily Beast on Facebook and follow us on Twitter for updates all day long.

Lucy Williams is a womenswear designer, forecaster and fashion blogger, with over 20 years experience in the British fashion industry. Five years ago she launched her own business, Blink London, an industry-facing service that provides retail reports to the global fashion community and works with fashion brands in a creative consultancy capacity. She also mentor students, lectures and teaches fashion at the London College of Fashion and the Fashion Retail Academy.

For inquiries, please contact The Daily Beast at

London Fashion Week: the trends from spring/summer 2013 -


World-class design talent, plush venues, shows that run on time: London Fashion Week knocks the socks off the competition creatively, technically and organisationally. Best of all, it's done it with a very British sense of humour, says Lisa Armstrong.

BY Lisa Armstrong | 19 September 2012


If the fashion catwalk cameo at the closing ceremony of the Olympics underwhelmed, it was because it represented everything that British fashion no longer is. It isn't - give or take a few international fashion editors - pompous. It isn't, apart from a few, best-ignored, designers, bombastic. It doesn't take itself too seriously and the models, on the whole, are troopers trying to make a living, not spoilt divas who haven't yet twigged that out-of-control egos are very last-decade. If we have a USP, it is, as Mulberry's creative director Emma Hill said, following the Mulberry blockbuster yesterday at Claridge's "a sense of humour. You don't need to tamper with things too much. Our natural style is very cool."

READ: London Fashion Week spring/summer 2013 latest

But without wit and playfulness, cool becomes painfully tedious. Whether it's the crazy-but-inspired clashing prints of designers such as Clements Ribeiro, Preen and Mary Katrantzou, or the boffinish invention of Erdem, Christopher Kane and Jonathan Saunders, with their gung-ho approach to synthetics, holograms, neon lace and patent, and mixing them all together, as this week proved, British fashion is now an Olympic-level sport. I'm not only referring to Jessica Ennis, who was front row at Mulberry, or Victoria Pendleton and Andy Murray who were at Burberry. Exports are up, admittedly from a modest baseline, despite a hellish retail climate in much of the world, and waiting times are down. Shows run disconcertingly on time. Or they do in fashion-speak. They're still about 15 minutes late, but that's an incidental. In Paris, it's 40 minutes minimum. This matters. Like the Olympics, London Fashion Week is a global platform that allows us to show what we can do, not just creatively, but technically and organisationally.

IN PICTURES: London Fashion Week spring/summer 2013: Celebrities on the front row

We can do quite a lot, it seems. You used to be able to rely on three or four names delivering the design goods. Now there are probably 15 or so, plus a bunch who don't deliver anything much - but that's a given in any fashion capital. Venues are plush, when they're not car parks. Front rows are no longer adorned solely with Big Brother contestants and, somehow, sponsorship continues to prop up the more hand-to-mouth designers… but why am I doing a sales pitch?

It isn't like this in New York. At NYFW, American journalists roll their eyes at the banality of many of the designers on their schedule. In Milan, Italian newspaper journalists watch the shows with a mixture of boredom and befuddlement (they don't do specialists in Italy; next week they'll be covering a motor show or be on royal-nipple alert). As for Paris, it's so secure in its position at the epicentre of catwalk fashion and luxury that if the tumbrils are rolling up those cobbled streets, no one can be bothered to listen.

London can't quite shake off the sense that it's an underdog. Not even when its bigger shows are packed with the international buyers and editors who, only a few seasons ago, bypassed the city altogether. Everyone becomes patriotic to the point of partisanship.

In the interests of objective appraisal, what we don't have much of at London Fashion Week is conventional sexiness. Apart from Antonio Berardi (or Roland Mouret who shows in Paris), British designers like to scoot around sex, preferring to flirt with androgyny, eccentricity or playing the kook card. Nothing wrong with that. It would be mind-sappingly depressing if all our designers churned out bandage dresses and trophy-wife baubles. They don't and that's why our designers will never sell as much as Roberto Cavalli or even Azzedine Alaïa. And it's why a behemoth such as Harrods, one of the most successful department stores in the world, has a relatively small stock of British labels. Sex, as William and Kate learnt this week, beats out everything else in the commercial stakes. British designers know that. The fact that they continue to view fashion as something more than - as Katharine Hamnett famously put it - clothes to get laid in, makes them all the more valuable.


There's voluminous and then there's Royal Albert Hall. Paul Smith's billowing block-coloured dresses were heading in the latter direction. And was it just us or were there traces of last year's Chloé dresses in their wake? What Sir Paul does best is menswear for women, and he didn't disappoint, with a new, higher-waisted trouser, skinny or wider legged, in school-dinner colours: custard, mustard and undercooked sausage. Lovely printed shirts and bright blazers reminded one of a Rothko exhibition. Does one want Rothko in one's wardrobe? Possibly not, those muted trouser suits would make us very happy. LA
Verdict: Who wears the trousers? Us, please. 3/5


You think this looks pretty but straightforward? It's anything but. Those prints, based on postage stamps and extinct currencies (the drachma, the deutschemark, old pound notes) were woven into the fabrics. All the brocades were made from scratch in France. The glass beading was originally embroidered over the top, "but that looked heavy," said Katrantzou backstage, "so we looked at stained-glass windows and eventually we found a place in london to etch them…" Whereas previous dresses have tended to be bought by collectors and displayed on mannequins, these pieces can be mixed, matched, clashed and… worn and worn. LA
Verdict: Totally on the money. 4/5


Married couple Thea Bregazzi and Justin Thornton haven't shown in London for five years so they weren't going to let a small impediment like Bregazzi's Braxton Hicks get in the way. Forget the Tens machine, this duo's patchwork dresses or trouser suits, composed of python, shiny patches and suit fabrics, delivered all the electricity a wardrobe needs. Slashed pencil skirts were layered over long contrasting floral shirts. There were lovely, diaphanous navy printed dresses, too, many of which turned out to be separate shirts and skirts, plus the obligatory sexy Nurse Ratched outfit. It was probably catastrophically complicated to produce. But it didn't show. LA
Verdict: Complex chic. 4/5


Try to imagine what a cute Japanese girl living in Paris might wear. Give up? Well she'd start with a bias-cut, check skirt, free-associate over to a stripe knit and finish it off with a pair of flat jellies. Day Two, she moves on to a dirndl skirt because, while not classic hotty territory, worn right, they're adorable. While listening to some Françoise Hardy, she'll wriggle into a colourful bra, and layer a sheer, spotty pussy-cat blouse over the top. Clements Ribeiro were inspired by Wes Anderson's latest cult hit, Moonrise Kingdom. They have the charming kook's every need covered, from delightful florals to enchanting lace cocktail dresses. LA
Verdict: A potty hotty. 3/5

All the action from London Fashion Week spring/summer 2013


How big can a peplum grow before it becomes a skirt? And can cycling shorts ever be sexy? These were the two urgent questions prompted by a Berardi collection that combined young-gel sportiness and sumptuous luxury, with - on the whole - great aplomb. Shorts featuring bigger-than-Aertex perforations failed to convince. But in cropped jackets, the material looked great. The carbon fibre on Berardi's loose jackets was a convincing mesh of technology and artistry and his mega-peplums - skirts, really - made for a witchy silhouette seen nowhere else in London this week. His fitted-sheath dresses at the finale were worthy showstoppers. Luke Leitch
Verdict: Molto sports-luxe-chic-sexy. 3.5/5


Another inventive show with a slicked-up polish. Saunders called on his muses - Michael Clarke, Bridget Riley and disco. They delivered unto him super-shiny patent and metallic A-line skirts with contrasting backs, worn with nude-coloured sweaters that left the models looking primed for a Closer-style topless shot, and bias-cut stripe dresses with a Martha Graham-esque flow. How nice to see a London designer combining comfort and practicality with hard-edged glamour. Some of the sequined dresses, suits and cardigan-skirt combos had glossy knitted backs - perfect for sliding into a banquette once you've pulled in the nightclub. LA
Verdict: Glow-getting glamour. 4/5


From the Indian haberdashery that he popped into while visiting his mum in Birmingham, to Japanese ceremonial bondage (he didn't reveal where he'd encountered that), Osman said he'd trawled far and wide for inspiration. The wide, three-quarter-length sleeves on his opening look - a hot-pink jacket with shorts that had scalloped hems to the rear - were 'Japanese-ish'. Osman said he'd been struck by the haberdasher's bolts of pink, lemon and blue material all piled up. He kept the dreamy draping and well-cut trousers (his brocaded ones are apparently walking out of Selfridges on their own) that make him so keenly appreciated. LL
Verdict: Iffy print aside, great. 3/5


Could aliens have been responsible for the power cut half way through? For the stories of sci-fi writer Zenna Henderson were the inspiration for a collection so otherwordly-lush it sent your eyes rolling into hyperspace. Embroidered fluoro-florals meshed, Borg-like, with python-skin panels and sat below oddly out-of-time ruffs. 'I liked this kind of etherealness, that outer-spaceness. But my spaceship malfunctioned half-way through the show.' The power did come back on eventually. Even had it not, Erdem's mix of come-hither slither and Stepford Wives , extra-terrestrial sexiness would have kept his crowd transported. Brilliant stuff. LL
Verdict: Out of this world. 5/5

IN PICTURES: London Fashion Week: Erdem spring/summer 2013


Roksanda Ilincic, London's resident colour queen, played with expectations in the opening looks. The first long dress was, gasp, black, with a peek of sunset-orange at the cuffs and peacock-blue on the collars - a nod, along with the funky soundtrack, pimp caps and cartoon clutches, to the Seventies feel of this groovy offering. Ilincic is on a roll and this was her most fun, confident collection to date. The colour came back - autumnal pink, orange, cream, tan and coral and sunshine yellow. But she threw in a surprise - a family of grey jersey evening dresses that will work any day, any time. To be honest, I'd have the lot. Kate Finnigan
Verdict: Pretty groovy lady. 3/5


The pile-in, rush-out modus operandi at shows doesn't exist at Emilia Wickstead, thankfully, whose salon-style presentations are always such charmingly proper affairs. Inspired by the couture of the Fifties, the New Zealand-born designer's elegant creations have found favour with a certain moneyed clientele (society girls Babe Paley and CZ Guest were the fantasy customers this season). Where she really wooed was in her experiments with print: the yellow and black-checked dresses and sumptuous skirts in thick cotton, were the stars of the show. Gauzy cycling shorts paired with a peplum top were a minor blip in a beautiful collection. Phong Luu
Verdict: High society. 4/5

All pictures by Vladimir Potop

READ: New York Fashion Week: the trends from spring/summer 2013

Fashion designers return to elegance in buzzy London - Chicago Tribune

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Designers at London Fashion Week heralded a return to ladylike elegance for spring/summer 2013 using florals, longer hemlines and tailored cuts to create a modest look with subtle sexuality.

A weakened global economy continues to weigh on the luxury fashion industry and London designers were keen to showcase statement pieces that buyers would want to invest in, drawing on the timeless silhouettes of the 1950s, as seen at Temperley London, Emilia Wickstead and Vivienne Westwood Red Label.

"London still feels creative and still has that exciting, buzzy energy about it, but the collections were full of highly wearable, luxurious pieces," Pat McNulty, web editor of UK's Cosmopolitan magazine, told Reuters in an email, citing collections from Giles, Burberry Prorsum, Erdem and Mulberry among her favorites.

The rich floral culture of the English countryside was a central theme this season, as designers incorporated vibrant blooms and floral colors into their palettes.

Floral motifs adorned garments at Erdem, Mulberry, Bora Aksu, Temperley London and Corrie Nielsen, who was inspired by botanical gardens and Japanese artist Makoto Murayama.

Designers favored lighter fabrics for their spring creations, using a medley of organza, cotton, silk and chiffon, but added a sexy edge with cropped tops and short hemlines at Felder Felder, peek-a-boo cutouts at Erdem and bonded leather at Mulberry.


While designers may have embraced a more grown-up look for their garments, there was still a presence of the whimsical style that has made London fashion so unique.

Models at Osman rocked embroidered hearts that decorated dresses and separates with clean, sharp edges, in bold shades of pink, blue, yellow, black and white.

Vivenne Westwood, queen of quirky fashion, delivered a vamped-up 1950s housewife for her Red Label, with models walking the runway in painted faces and floral headpieces offsetting their feminine dresses and suits.

Elsewhere, bows were the rage at Meadham Kirchoff and garden gnomes littered the entrance at Mulberry.

"There's a whimsy to it, I think of freshness, I think of England, it feels very mature but very young at the same time," actress Gillian Anderson told Reuters backstage at the Mulberry show on Tuesday.

A closer look at Christopher Kane's futuristic candy-colored dresses revealed Perspex nuts and bolts holding the draping together, plastic ruffles and masking tape details.

"Christopher Kane is so inventive, every season feels brand new and like nothing else he has ever done before," Sarah Harris, fashion features editor of British Vogue, told Reuters, adding that the collection was "so clever."

Bright metallics added a futuristic flair to feminine silhouettes at Burberry Prorsum, where models strutted in saturated metallic coats, a twist on the classic Burberry trench coat, in fuschia pink, cobalt blue, bronzed golds and silvers, creating a rainbow palette on the runway.

Jonathan Saunders spun a twist on simple separates with metallic fabrics on pencil skirts and tailored dresses, while Holly Fulton added a naughty edge with pastel floral garments made from pvc.

While florals were a dominant motif amongst the collections, some designers moved towards more modern graphics. Paul Smith worked block geometric prints into a structured collection of separates, using darker hues of red, yellow and green, also seen at Roksanda Ilincic, where Mondrian-esque colors were incorporated into bold block curves on shift dresses.

Aztec and Mayan prints were at the center of Fyodor Golan's vivid collection, echoed by Matthew Williamson in a palette of blues and reds, while Peter Pilotto took tribal patterns to new levels, creating optical illusions with their monochromatic prints on layered separates and full-skirted dresses.

The fashion pack moves on to Milan on Wednesday before descending on Paris for the finale of the season.

(Reporting By Piya Sinha-Roy and Li-mei Hoang, Additional reporting by Joanne Nicholson, editing by Paul Casciato)

Amazon to close fashion website - Reuters

SAN FRANCISCO | Wed Sep 19, 2012 3:43am IST

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Inc is closing its fashion website as the world's largest Internet retailer focuses on a new, upgraded apparel and accessories section of its main website.

On September 27, will become part of, according to a statement on the front page of on Tuesday. was launched in 2007, specializing mainly in women's shoes and handbags.

Starting next week, said customers will be able to buy shoes, handbags, jewelry and watches from more brands from Amazon's main website, along with apparel.

The switch is part of a big push by Amazon this year to expand further into fashion and apparel, one of the fastest-growing retail categories online. EBay Inc, Amazon's main rival, has done well with its fashion offerings in recent years.

"We are shifting our Endless business to Amazon in order to focus on the Amazon Fashion experience," an Amazon spokesman said on Tuesday.

Zappos and Shopbop, two other fashion websites owned by Amazon, are staying.

"Between Amazon, Shopbop and Zappos, our customers have easy access to an assortment of quality brands and a variety of shopping experiences for any fashion need," the spokesman added.

Amazon also has a successful flash sales website called MYHABIT with a significant focus on fashion items.

(Reporting by Alistair Barr; Editing by Leslie Adler)