The point of a press day is simple - to see people, to press flesh, and of course to flick through the frocks you saw mere weeks ago on the catwalk. The Milanese are quite canny: they've transformed the press day into a 're-see', meaning you flick through those garments hours rather than weeks after the shows. Here in London, we're a little slower - but the trickle of spring/summer 2012 press days has now become a flood. Topshop was a highlight of homegrown talent, as befits a major supporter of emerging designers for nigh-on a decade. For next season, alongside the label's own high-end Unique range (all Liz Taylor-tribute sweatshirts and gold-printed Cleopatra-inspired sportswear), they gave a sneak preview of Mary Katrantzou's stellar offering by way of a super-structured, mega-print mini-dress, one of Katrantzou's greatest hits reinterpreted at a Topshop price-point. Those trademark graphics will be splashed across a full range of garms come February, just in time for London Fashion Week.
London fashion is all about devotion to new names - there were plenty in play at Ella Dror PR, itself a new operation set up to champion the freshest labels London has to offer. Dror is carving a niche as a champion of London's avant garde, with the Gaga-worthy antics of Studio XO (dresses literally made of smoke and mirrors) rubbing shoulders with head-to-toe moulded leather by Void Of Course. When I say head to toe, I mean it - there was a white nappa death-mask that looked like a cross between Tutankhamun and Leatherface. Fred Butler's gravity-defying multicoloured headpieces were slightly less sinister, as were Craig Lawrence's sandy-shaded seaside knits.
Louis Vuitton can't be seen as anything but a flipside to these new names - after all, LV defines the term megabrand. Marc Jacobs celebrated the ever-turning carousel of the fashion system in a merry-go-round of product to close the Paris show season - here we got a chance to see the pastel crocodile and intricately worked surfaces of sugary-sweet little organza dresses at closer quarters. Of course, the bags demanded more than a second glance, with the LV insignia worked in chenille, bead embroidery, or a tracery of stitches on transparent voile.