Markus Lupfer Will Return To The Runway…Eventually
“You can’t send ten jumpers down the runway,” said Markus Lupfer last week, while breakfasting on eggs and soldiers at New York’s Cafe Cluny. The German-born designer was explaining that he hasn’t shown in three years, investing the time, energy, and expense that used to go toward the catwalk back into the collection. The result? His business has taken off. His clothes are in 150 stores, including Net-a-Porter, Harvey Nichols, and Shopbop.com, and he has the production capability to do both pre-fall and Resort. “The sales I used to do in a year, I now get three times that in a single season,” he said. But the London designer isn’t forsaking the runway entirely. His long-view plan is actually quite interesting for a small operation: to focus on building sales for five, perhaps up to ten, years and return to showing as a big operation.
During this past London fashion week, Lupfer’s alternative for his collection (inspired by the film White Mischief) was a party-slash-presentation hosted by Lydia Hearst, who just happened to show up at his studio for a lookbook casting in August, among other non-heiress models. “At first I didn’t even know who she was, when she came in,” admits Lupfer. “But everything looked great on her, so we decided to throw a party.” They did so in laid-back manner, with Alexa Chung and her boyfriend, Alex Turner, deejaying plus a surprise birthday cake for Hearst. Lupfer’s latest news is his debut men’s collection, exclusive to Harvey Nichols this season. The designer reports it’s doing well among guys and—no surprise—female clients, too. Looking at his slouchy leopard sweatshirt, we can understand why.