For seasons now, London's hottest fashion labels have been happily selling their souls to the high street. Designers are realizing that teaming up with retailers to entice shoppers whose budgets can't stretch to four-figure price tags, helps build or revive brand awareness. This season is no exception.
London Fashion Week designer Marios Schwab, whose clients include Kristen Stewart and Jessica Chastain, is launching his first underwear line with for online retailer Asos in November. His debut lingerie line for Asos, "Kallisti," will initially feature 25 erotically-charged designs in berry, mustard, midnight blue, poppy, black and nude. A further 15 pieces will be available early next year in time for Valentine's day. Prices range between £35 and £150 (approximately €45-190).
"If anyone is destined to design lingerie, it's Marios Schwab. This sensibility is often evident in his mainline collections, a fascination and sensitivity inherent from his father's expertise as a lingerie engineer. Helping designers to evolve and grow their businesses through the addition of new categories that are a natural fit is exactly what Asos is all about, so we are really excited to develop and launch Kallisti exclusive to Asos for winter 2012," said fashion director Caren Downie at the UK's leading online fashion retailer.
Marios Schwab showcased the Kallisti for Asos at London Fashion Week in an exclusive performance by Crazy Horse, celebrating 60 years of the Parisian cabaret with Forever Crazy.
Christopher Kane, Jonathan Saunders, Louise Goldin, Alexander McQueen, Meadham Kirchhoff, Sophia Kokosalaki, Celia Birtwell, Kate Moss... the roster of people high-street chain Topshop has collaborated with over the years reads like a who's who of British fashion's brightest lights.
The latest designer to join the fold is Northern Ireland's J.W. Anderson who treated LFW followers to yet more "thrill of the frill" with a ruffle-tastic ready-to-wear collection for next Spring. His latest capsule collection which features quilted paisley tops, stripe skirts and jumpers, umbrellas and notebooks (price range from £0.99-129/approx €1.25 to €169) claims to "pulse with coolness."
"I am very excited to collaborate with Topshop. It gives me the opportunity to reach a much wider audience with my designs. It has always been very important to me that my collections are made accessible to anyone interested in fashion and design," enthused JW Anderson.
Like Topshop, high-end department store Liberty of London has earned itself a place on the style radar thanks to special projects with a host of established brands and budding design talent.
For Vogue's Fashion Night Out, Liberty entertained London's late-night shoppers with a fashion fun fair where Jonathan Saunders ran a live photobooth and Roksanda Ilincic penned exclusive sketches of her AW collection for customers. The store also handed out front-row tickets for Monday's Richard Nicoll show to every customer who purchased an item from his current collection.
The latest feather in the store's cap is its collaboration with Kenzo. On Monday night Liberty held a party to mark the arrival of the new Kenzo collection which includes a red and blue jacquard print dress and exclusive jumpers -- complete with a Liberty-print Kenzo logo. From £145 (approximately €180).