To say we conquered China in a single week may be a huge exaggeration but we have certainly met with a great deal of success and delighted everyone we met with all things Dashing.
The government of garment manufacturing city Ningbo very kindly invited us, and the newly formed tailoring firm George Brummell to show at their 19th international fashion week. An action packed event at venues around the city supported by TV coverage, newspaper articles and numerous influential blog posts and social media chats. We were honored to be opening the week with our Catwalk show in their beautifully designed shell shaped show space.
Whilst in London the red carpet was being rolled out for chairman Xi Jinping, our venue in Ningbo was similarly bedecked as the social elite, designer glitterati and manufacturing leaders headed towards the show of British Style.
The Chinese have become increasingly fascinated by English tailoring and the nuances and history of our style, so to feed their appetite and simultaneously educate we decided to put on a history show starting with relevant garments from the last two centuries and ending with the modern fusion of technology and styles of our Lumatwill cloth.
Over the last 3 months we worked exhaustively with Savile Row cutter Frank Byars of George Brummell to design and tailor the entire catwalk show for this event, so it was with some in trepidation that we started the initial fitting of our 20 Chinese models the night before the show. Thankfully due to Franks many years of experience the fits were nigh on perfect requiring only a few minor turn ups from the team of tailors we had in the wings. Having finished the fittings at past midnight Holly and I then had to design the choreography and communicate our novel English poses to the Chinese models to prepare for dress rehearsal the following day. Thankfully the technical staff could not have been more helpful and by 1.30 am in the morning we were feeling more confident about putting on this huge event.
The day of the show our team expanded to well over 40 people as the makeup team and fitters arrived to practice the rather tricky task of fitting a perfect looking white tie tails, shooting suits and plus 4s in a matter of minutes as would be required to show all 40 looks on 20 models. Whilst this took place I ran though the visuals and music I had selected to illustrate our story and tweaked the lighting design accordingly. The humid afternoon flew by rather too rapidly and in no time with a faint trickle of perspiration and the tickle of anticipation we were making final adjustments to our lineup of ice cool models swaggering in their new found delight in Norfolk Jackets, top hats, double breasted blazers, Inverness capes and reflective tweed.
The lights dimed and to the opening strains of an orchestral version of greensleeves an immaculately dressed tweed coated top hat wearing Chinese gentleman stunned the audience in a contemporary look that would not have been out of place 200 years ago. Closely followed by a couple of sportsman in plus fours, leather padded jackets and a country suit in our new British wool collection as the audience gasped in delight. As hunting horns cutting through the auditorium we delighted the assembled congregation to a full hunting pinks complete with horsewhip and riding hat. The show progressed with the traditionally dressed country folk journeying in time and distance to London clad in Inverness capes and car coats in a preview of our AW 16 cloth collection. The scenes of London where accompanied by the models pacing in perfectly cut business suits in sharp pinstripes and grey flannel, showing the eager Chinese audience the correct attire for international business meetings.
A taste of the English summer then delighted, as short suits in our new SS16 fabrics frolicked down the catwalk, and our best selling cotton jacquard was shown in a fabulous one show one double breasted jacket of our original design. Party clothes in stripes and elegant checks then proceeded to pace down the catwalk, as we were busy readying models for the change needed to attend a British wedding. Severn immaculately clad models then stepped out simultaneously as the pomp and circumstance of the penultimate scene unfolded. Finally 3 Lumatwill three piece suits in navy, yellow and red sharply cut with a fabulous rope shoulder construction and strode down the catwalk to bring what was later voted a by far the most popular show of the whole festival to a close.
To watch the whole show, follow the link to our video.