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MIXED MESSAGES: If the goal of the British Fashion Council’s Thursday night cocktail was to shout out the merits of the U.K. fashion industry, it could have fooled the working press corps there. Journalists were firmly banned from holding any interviews with guest of honor Britain’s First Lady Samantha Cameron — even though she serves as the ambassador for British fashion. And no pictures, please.


This story first appeared in the October 3, 2011 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

Another paradox: At least one reporter was even discouraged from interviewing the designers present. And this during Paris fashion week.

As to what Cameron did say during her opening address at the cocktail in the gardens of the British Embassy was that she planned to attend today the London Show Room project — a traveling showcase for London designers. “Our trade events here are so important in helping to grow the businesses behind the talent and creativity of our designers,” she said in the speech. “This is the first of four international London showrooms this season.” As reported, the showcase is to also visit New York, Los Angeles and Hong Kong.


British Ambassador for France Sir Peter Westmacott admitted in his welcome address that he felt “a bit of a fraud, amongst all these beautiful people. Very shortly after I came here as ambassador, I was asked to do a big black-tie dinner for the Great British Menu and apparently 6 million people watched it on television in Britain. And the next day, I got complaints from the Association of British Tailors in Savile Row complaining that I wore a red bow tie with my black-tie jacket. So I got fashion wrong from my first week as British ambassador and it probably hasn’t gotten much better since then. So I am very pleased that the professionals are here to point us in the right direction.”

Among designers in attendance was Erdem Moralioglu, who’s working on a sleepwear project that is to be launched on Net-a-Porter in November and likes while in Paris to visit fashion photography bookstore Comptoir de l’Image that’s around the corner from his Marais-based showroom. Among Antonio Berardi’s favorite Parisian activities is to purchase fragrances from Guerlain and Frédéric Malle. “And then I go to [Cire] Trudon and buy as many candles as I can possibly take home,” he said. Osman Yousefzada currently has a pop-up shop in one of Didier Ludot’s little boutiques in the Palais Royal. Henry Holland, meanwhile, intended on zipping back to London on Saturday afternoon to introduce his underwear line in Selfridges.

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