Markus Lupfer's presentation was set up to feel like a teenybopper's bedroom, full of girly stuff, just missing a Tiger Beat cover on the wall. But perhaps the most striking thing was the lack of merino wool sweaters emblazoned with lips, perfume bottles, and slogans. "I had to peel back a bit from that," said Lupfer. "My slogan sweaters were being copied so much, I had to find something else. I suppose in a way it's good, as it's making me find a new signature."
If this collection was the upshot of that process, then the whole imitation/flattery thing has served Lupfer well: There were some very pretty alternatives to those sweaters here. A series of delightfully ditzy floral prints was inspired by "a bedspread that I loved as a kid," the designer said. "Very cozy and inviting." Soft denim chambray looks with tiny embroidered bicycles and slogans were instantly covetable, as was a white damask floral series. Bigger slogans weren't completely absent, however: Hidden behind floral bomber jackets were T-shirts that read "Loser," "Lame," and "Jerk." "Yes, this girl is a bit of a rebel," said Lupfer. Apparently, she's also a cat lover: There were "Meow" slogans and cat faces embroidered throughout—perhaps a nod to the copycats that are forcing Lupfer's hand.
Lupfer has always struck a certain chord with women—so much that it's carrying over to their daughters. His children's line at Debenhams, co-designed by Donna Air (girlfriend of the Duchess of Cambridge's brother, James Middleton), is proving a success; his collaboration with ASOS, featuring unique reworkings of leather, caused plenty of excitement. But like with all good designers, his imitators are forcing him to move forward—and his customers will probably be happy to move on with him.
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