After sitting yesterday in the grand surroundings of Goldsmiths’ Hall watching elegant models sashay down the catwalk in striking jewellery at The Goldsmiths’ Company Salon Privé I have little doubt that London Jewellery Week (LJW) has real potential to be this industry’s answer to London Fashion Week (LFW).
I’m not the only one who thinks so. Chatting to David Marshall at the reception following the catwalk, he told me that he thinks the industry should be pushing for LJW to be just as popular with the consumers and industry alike as LFW. “It’s a matter of us supporting this event until it really takes hold,” he said. “I’d like it to be in September on the back of London Fashion Week.”
I can understand reservations about doing this. LFW is so well established and has such a following that there’s always a chance it may over-shadow a sister jewellery week. Having said that, jewellery is fashion and so surely we are all trying to target the same professionals and consumers alike - those looking for the latest trend and pieces to turn heads. David Webdale, the designer responsible for the only pieces of men’s jewellery to feature at yesterday’s catwalk, told us that being involved in LJW is a great opportunity for designers to showcase their work and confirmed that the week has a fashion emphasis. “The work comes to life when it is actually being worn,” he explained.
The array of stunning day and evening outfits worn by the models at the catwalk were the creations of London couturier Ulrich Engler. They were dressed with the jewellery of Elizabeth Gage; Boodles; Dower & Hall, David Marshall and both newcomers and well-established designers from the Goldsmiths’ Fair. The synergy between fashion clothing and jewellery was never more apparent. In fact it is hard to decipher where one ends and the other begins. Collaboration seems to be the way forward, just look at how high street fashion retailers have embraced bringing out their own jewellery ranges.
So while jewellery has never been more visible on the high street, drawing the public to LJW events is more relevant than ever. Maurice Mullen, who is in charge of fashion and luxury goods at the Evening Standard, told us how in support of LJW, the paper inserted the LJW guide into every issue of Friday’s Evening Standard.
He said that this is the first year that the week has really been pushed to the consumers I a big way with a new website and heavy advertising on the Underground. I’ve seen a couple of the posters dotted around on my travels but I do wonder whether we need a bit more in the way of high profile advertising. For example, celebrity campaigning seems to have particular sway with the public at the moment. Something to think about perhaps.
Food for thought too is whether the diverse array of locations of the LFW events is a help or hindrance. Personally I love seeing the items in their natural habitat, or a setting that adds to their shine. For instance, yesterday morning I attended the Alex Monroe official launch of The Peacock and the Crow collection at the Penhaligon English scents and luxury gifts shop in Covent Garden. The sunning pieces combine gold plated silver and ruthenium-plated silver in gothic feather shapes - highly contemporary, while still elegant. Alex Monroe sales and press manager Emma Burgin told me that launching at LJW was a great opportunity to present the range to both press and consumers.
Although fragrance shop Penhaligon is not traditionally a jewellery stockist, Monroe previously worked with the shop to create limited edition fragrance bottle, part of which can be worn as a bracelet, and the location was the perfect setting for the jewellery. Its subtle lighting and vintage furnishing made Monroe’s collections seem right at home.
So does LFW need a central hub? Not necessarily, the varied event locations seems fitting for the diversity of the jewellery on the market but one thing is certain, LJW does need the support of jewellery retailers to help it pick up momentum and to ensure it is regarded with a reverence equal to that ordained to London Fashion Week.