London calls, and the world answers. London fashion week is in full swing, and what better time for an English retailer to indulge in a little justified bragging? Matches tapped London’s best designers for a new installation at its Marylebone flagship, which it debuted over the weekend to a crowd that included Giles Deacon, Norton & Sons’ Patrick Grant, Elizabeth Saltzman Walker, Tallulah Harlech, and the British Fashion Council’s Caroline Rush. The store’s mannequins were ingeniously dressed in key looks by U.K. labels including Stella McCartney, Roksanda Ilincic, Alexander McQueen, Burberry, and Christopher Kane.
Matches’ stock is very English; its clientele, says CEO Tom Chapman, more a mix. “Fifty-five percent of our clientele is online, and half is international,” he said. “We send bucket loads to Australia and China—we’ve gotten used to tiny feet sizes. Then again, we get a lot of cool hunters after that very latest thing—and to be honest, much of that is created by our very own homegrown talent. They do us proud.”
The atmosphere last night on the South Bank, on the other hand, was a trifle more French—à la Moulin Rouge. The foxes were out for the launch of Marios Schwab’s new lingerie collection for Kallisti at the Crazy Horse. And not just the dancers who modeled the lingerie. A renegade (yet fashion-savvy) fox broke into one of the venue’s dressing rooms and chewed through dancers’ Louboutins right before show time.
For Schwab, lingerie has long been a part of life. “My dad worked in the lingerie industry for Triumph,” he said, “so I have always been surrounded by the stuff.” But it may be more topical just at present. “My seamstress is reading Fifty Shades of Grey during every break,” he laughed. “I think these days people are thinking, screw it—literally—we want to enjoy life, and our bodies.” A ten-minute show was enough to titillate the likes of Leigh Lezark, Harley Viera-Newton, Eliza Doolittle, and Pixie Geldof. And that, of course, was the point. “Being provocative is back on the menu in fashion,” Schwab said.