Paris Fashion Week: the London warm-up

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 26 September, 2012, 10:02am
UPDATED : Thursday, 27 September, 2012, 3:42pm

I landed in Paris on Tuesday evening for the beginning of the Spring Summer 2013 womenswear shows. Excitement is tangible in the air in the City of Lights. Fashion folk are arriving in droves and photographers and bloggers are gearing up their flash bulbs. But before we dive headfirst into the latest collections revealed at the French fashion capital, I'll admit that it was a quick pit stop in London that kicked off fashion's busiest season this time around.

I went to interview two British fashion gurus back to back, both for the first time and they turned out to be two of the nicest designers I've met. The legendary Sir Paul Smith showed me around the design studios at his headquarters on Kean Street in the West End. His famously eccentric and yes, rather messy office, is packed and stuffed with things for inspiration: books, design objects, art pieces, toys and a couple of bicycles (cycling being one of his main passions). Smith remains one of the most approachable, friendly and down-to-earth designers in the industry, an attitude that has translated into decades long success for his brand.

It was then a visit to Burberry's headquarters at Horseferry House, and like its new Regent's Street flagship, Chief Creative Officer Christopher Bailey's inspired touch is visible everywhere. Bailey's passion for "looking forward" has in just a few years turned Burberry's fortunes around - all for the better. We chatted about heritage, technology, young fresh talents of all artistic inclinations and what it means to be modern today. Bailey is excited to be visiting Hong Kong again very soon when he comes to celebrate the opening of the new Pacific Place store.