Who influences what we wear? Which designers rule the catwalks? And who sets the agenda on our high streets? On the eve of London Fashion Week, The Independent’s style team presents Britain’s hotlist
Compiled by Susannah Frankel, Carola Long, Harriet Walker, Beth Dadswell and Gemma Hayward
1. Sir Philip Green
Owner, Bhs & Arcadia Group
The jewel in the crown of this cigar-chomping billionaire’s empire is still Topshop. He snapped up fellow Croydonian Kate Moss to design a range for the store, and will be opening its first US branch in April. In addition to filling the wardrobes of millions of British women, Topshop has led the trend for imitating catwalk designs, and it organises and sponsors the New Generation programme, which supports up-and-coming designers at London Fashion Week. Sir Philip is currently rumoured to have his eye on some of the ailing Baugur’s holdings, Principles in particular.
2. Jonathan Newhouse
Chairman, Conde Nast International
Cousin of the publishing magnate Si Newhouse and husband of creative director Ronnie Cooke-Newhouse, the Condé Nast chairman has been in his role since 1990. In that time he has effectively built up the company from being the publisher of 25 magazines in seven countries, to more than 100 magazines in 22 countries. With the launch of titles such as Vogue China and Vogue India, he has provided new and glossy editorial platforms for British and other Western designers in new luxury markets.
3. Kate Moss
Britain’s most famous model undoubtedly has the Midas touch, even turning scandal into gold. After the “cocaine Kate” controversy in 2005, she was dropped by several labels, but soon bounced back, with accounts for her private company suggesting that she doubled her earnings in the aftermath. Meanwhile, her relationship with Pete Doherty only enhanced her glamorously decadent image. This is why almost everything she wears, at 35, is still widely emulated, from tuxedo jackets to fringed boots, and why Sir Philip Green signed her up for a reported £3m to produce an ongoing range for Topshop.
4. Alexander McQueen
Fashion’s most powerful showman proves that it is possible to ruffle establishment feathers and become an internationally recognised brand. The Gucci Group’s acquisition of 51 per cent of McQueen’s company in December 2000 has taken his business into a different league. Although McQueen now shows his womenswear in Paris and his menswear in Milan, he and his business have recently moved into new offices in Clerkenwell in London, and, at the end of this month, ‘Eonnagata’, a ballet conceived, choreographed and performed by Sylvie Guillem, Robert Lepage and Russell Maliphant, opens at Sadler’s Wells, with costumes designed McQueen.
5. Alexandra Shulman
Editor of Vogue since 1992, Shulman’s editorial policy of combining big names and young talent, and content that is both artistically and commercially viable, has kept sales high while cementing Vogue’s reputation as a fashion leader. Despite a decline in advertising and revenue across the sector, last month’s issue – featuring Cheryl Cole on the cover – was the best-selling February edition in the magazine’s history, with an audited total of 240,000 sales.
6. Katie Grand
Editor-in-chief, ‘Love’ magazine
All eyes are on this super-stylist/editor just now, as she launches her much-anticipated fashion biannual Love for Condé Nast. She was formerly editor-in-chief of the Bauer-owned Pop magazine. Grand will style Giles Deacon and Topshop Unique shows at London Fashion Week before moving on to Paris where Loewe and Louis Vuitton both employ her services. It’s quite a roll call. Add to that the many celebrated fashion editors and photographers who contribute to her glossy pages, and she’s a force to be reckoned with.
7. Sir Paul Smith
In 2008, the annual turnover of Paul Smith was £345.9m, thanks to 100 shops worldwide, 2,191 points of sale, and products from suits to bicycles. This makes it the most commercially successful independently owned British label. The playful Nottingham-born designer has built up his business by sticking to his twin USPs of tailoring with a twist, and taking the stuffiness out of suiting. His distinctive striped motif and humorous details appeal to the British sensibility, and have made him a cult figure and ambassador for our tailoring tradition in Japan. Paul Smith womenswear will show at London Fashion Week on Monday.
8. Christopher Bailey
Creative director, Burberry
An honorary fellow of the Royal College of Art, Christopher Bailey worked as a designer at Donna Karan and Gucci before he was appointed creative director at the venerable British label Burberry in 2001. Since that time, his luxurious-with-an-edge aesthetic has reinvigorated the business and made it one of the foremost fashion brands. For that reason, he shows in Milan, the industry’s commercial centre, although Burberry HQ remains here. Industry commentators coined the phrase “doing a Burberry” to refer to breathing life into a stagnating old-school British label with spectacularly profitable results.
9. Jane Bruton
The magazine that designates the week’s must-haves has become a must-read since its launch in 2005. Bruton has turned the weekly glossy that initially seemed like a bizarre mix of international news, human-interest stories, celebrity gossip, designer-fashion shoots and high-street shopping into a compelling cocktail admired by readers and the media alike, with a circulation of 227,156. The former editor of ‘LivingEtc’ and ‘Eve’ has also helped to propel fashion on to the mainstream news agenda with her emphasis on scoops.
10. Natalie Massenet
A website selling designer clothes might have seemed like a radical idea when Massenet, a former fashion journalist, launched it in 2000, but it has revolutionised the way many people shop. For the financial year ending January 2008, turnover grew 48 per cent to £55.2m. When Christopher Kane’s collection went on sale last week, it sold out in a day. Massenet has introduced pioneering ways of selling clothes: the company sold two looks from the first revamped Halston collection in New York straight off the catwalk, and staged a private McQueen show of eight looks that were available on the site before anywhere else.
11. Suzy Menkes
Fashion editor, ‘International Herald Tribune’
Suzy Menkes’ carefully penned snapshots of the fashion world, incisive judgements and occasional devastating put-downs have the power to make or break a designer’s collection. Words aside, you’ve got to respect a woman whose trademark demi-pompadour quiff never looks less than perfect, and who has the willpower to refuse all the fabulous freebies sent to her by fashion designers. Apparently, she either donates these gifts to the American Hospital of Paris, or returns them with a little note saying, “I was brought up to believe a |girl should never accept anything but flowers and chocolates”.
12. Dame Vivienne Westwood
Dame Vivienne has been showing her mainline collection in Paris since 1982, but brought her Red Label back to London last February in a show of support for Fashion Week here. The designer recently collaborated with the shoe label Melissa, and is as widely copied on the high street as ever. Her trajectory from punk agent provocateur to politically charged grande dame of British fashion serves as an inspiration to aspiring designers everywhere.
13. Jefferson Hack
Publisher, editor-in-chief, ‘Dazed & Confused’ magazine
This week saw the publication of |the latest issue of Hack’s glossy biannual, Another Magazine, which includes a celebration of emerging fashion talent, modelled by the |actress Tilda Swinton. Hack launched Dazed & Confused with the photographer Rankin and Katie Grand in 1992, and it has remained the most innovative and influential monthly style magazine in this country ever since. As well as Dazed and Another, Hack publishes Another Man, and oversees the fast-expanding Dazed |Digital website. His proudly individual vision stands out in a climate where play-safe tactics otherwise dominate.
14. Sir Stuart Rose
Executive chairman, Marks & Spencer
Former head of the Arcadia group and current head honcho at M&S, Sir Stuart has controlled some of Britain’s most influential stores, and has a particular talent for selling catwalk-inspired looks at high-street prices. He gave us Topshop, and he reinvigorated plain old M&S products and profits with sexy new branding and cameo appearances in advertising campaigns from Twiggy and Erin O’Connor. He has also introduced a Fairtrade range, was chairman of the British Fashion Council from 2004 to 2008, and was knighted last year.
15. Nadja Swarovski
Vice-president of Swarovski Crystal business
Formerly a purveyor of crystal hedgehogs and the like, Swarovski received a huge image boost when Nadja Swarovski took the reins in 1995. The great-great-granddaughter of Daniel Swarovski, who founded the company a century earlier, she set up a series of initiatives to change the perception of crystal through high-fashion collaborations with designers such as Alexander McQueen and Philip Treacy, and more recently Christopher Kane. Now, the company sponsors the British Fashion Awards, not to mention a host of young designers; as a result, its fabulous crystals appear in the most unexpected places.
16. Stella McCartney
In the past few years, McCartney has stepped out of the shadow of her |family name, and shown sceptics that she can build up a viable business. She was named British Designer of the Year in 2007, her collections (shown in Paris) are increasingly sophisticated, and she has launched a luxurious organic skincare line. McCartney finally went into the black in 2007, while her profits rose nearly sixfold to just over £1m. In 2006, she designed a capsule collection for H&M, and her ongoing range for Adidas was modelled by Olympic athletes at the last London Fashion Week.
17. Hussein Chalayan
It is testimony to Hussein Chalayan’s status that when the first retrospective of his work in this country opened at London’s Design Museum last month, there was a queue that rivalled Madame Tussauds during the school holidays. The Turkish-Cypriot-born designer’s aesthetic, resolutely modern and delicately feminine, has earned him stints as creative director of TSE cashmere in New York and Asprey in London. He now shows in Paris, and, in 2008, was appointed creative director of Puma Apparel. In return, the sportswear giant is backing his signature line.
18. Giles Deacon
Cumbria-born Giles Deacon is diffident and thoughtful, creating clothes for women who are at once playful yet serious, feminine but hard as nails. He studied at Central Saint Martins, where he met his best friend Katie Grand, and was named British Designer of the Year in 2006. His show on Monday evening will be the hot ticket of London Fashion Week. Deacon regularly dresses Gwyneth Paltrow, Kate Moss and Lily Allen. He has designed a capsule range for the high-street chain New Look, and is a published illustrator.
19. Russell Marsh
Marsh has been casting director for Prada and Miu Miu since 1995, and these shows have become known as showcases for emergent modelling talent, thanks to his uncanny knack of selecting a look that endures beyond a mere season. Marsh is credited with having discovered the perfect beauty of Gemma Ward and Daria Werbowy, and has recently been acclaimed for a shift towards a more natural, dewy-skinned beauty, championing the curvy Lara Stone for the past few seasons.
20. Nick Knight
Nick Knight has been responsible for some of the most pioneering fashion photography of the past 30 years, consistently challenging preconceptions of beauty, and addressing issues of age, weight, colour and more. As well as contributing work to style bibles including Dazed & Confused, i-D and Visionaire, he is the creative force behind many of Vogue’s finest covers and big-budget shoots. Today, much of his energy goes into the direction of showstudio.com, a ground-breaking website dedicated to fashion and culture, which not only champions emerging talent, but also pulls in all the industry’s major players.
21. Luella Bartley
Bartley is the current British Designer of the Year. Her sales rose by 40 per cent in 2008, and her spring/summer collection – a cute twist on the haute-couture dress – is her most sophisticated to date. Bartley began her career as a fashion journalist at ‘Vogue’ and London’s ‘Evening Standard’, and staged her first show, called Daddy I Want a Pony, in 2000. Having shown for several seasons in New York, proving she could cut it on an international stage, the designer is now back at London Fashion Week – she shows on Monday. Worn by Princess Beatrice and Alexa Chung, her young, flirtatious clothes are stocked in 130 stores and 30 countries worldwide.
22. David Sims
One of Britain’s most influential contemporary photographers, Sims was part of the renaissance of British photography in the early Nineties. His pared-down and minimal aesthetic rode the wave of a “real life” zeitgeist that reacted to the faux-gloss of the Eighties aesthetic that preceded it, and was well-suited to editorial work for The Face and i-D. Nowadays, Sims is behind many global advertising campaigns, creating instantly recognisable images for Balenciaga, Jil Sander and countless more. He is also known for his passion for surfing and Cornwall, where he lives with partner Luella Bartley.
23. Mario Testino
The Peruvian-born Testino moved to London in 1976 to train as a photographer, and is still based in the city, although he travels extensively, |shooting regularly for Vogue, Vanity Fair and Visionaire, to name but a few. Celebrity subjects include Diana, Princess of Wales and her sons, and Testino has created globally successful campaigns for Gucci, Valentino and Versace. His recent work for Burberry played on the traditional Britishness of the brand and featured a rabble of young up-and-coming Brit hipsters.
24. Stephen Jones
There is nothing the world’s foremost milliner can’t transform into headwear, from coat hangers to ice-lolly sticks, from dolls’ faces to knives and forks. Jones is master of everything, from the perfect trilby to the most outlandish catwalk creations for John Galliano, Giles Deacon, Marc Jacobs, Comme des Garçons and more. Next week sees the opening of Hats: An Anthology by Stephen Jones at the V&A, the museum’s first exhibition devoted to headwear, curated by Jones.
25. Agyness Deyn
The 25-year-old Agyness Deyn (real name Laura Hollins) is the Mancunian face of Noughties London, summing up the scene and mood of young British street fashion. Her eccentric style and bleached crop have made her a household name. Deyn made the cover of US Vogue in 2007, as part of the next batch of supermodels, and had a whole issue of i-D (which she guest-edited) devoted to her last year. Deyn is also the face of lucrative campaigns including Burberry and Gaultier fragrance, and is a childhood friend of the London designer and hipster sensation, Henry Holland.
26. Gareth Pugh
When Pugh’s darkly unorthodox, fetishistic designs caught the eye of Anna Wintour in autumn/winter 2006, it was clear that London’s latest enfant terrible would go far. Since then, his collections have gained international notoriety for their drama and ingenuity, grabbing the attention of global buyers and the style cognoscenti. When Pugh won the prestigious Andam prize in 2008, he was able to finance his first show in Paris, taking his collections to a much wider commercial audience, and he debuted his menswear collection at the Paris shows last month. Rumours abound about the possibility of him taking the helm at Dior Homme, which indicates the impact he has had.
27. Cheryl Cole
Pop star and WAG
It isn’t that long since Cheryl Cole (née Tweedy) sported cornrows, a bandanna and a dodgy crop-top, and was best known for that incident with a lavatory attendant. These days, though, Cole is known as the nation’s favourite big sister, thanks to her slot as judge on ITV’s ‘The X-Factor’. Named fashion icon of the year by ‘Grazia’, Cole claims to not to use a stylist, and has become a poster girl for the British high street. One editor tells of Cole rejecting McQueen and Chloé garments on a shoot, insisting on wearing a River Island dress instead.
28. Sarah Leon
Model agent and scout
After being spotted herself in Covent Garden, in 1994, Leon worked as a model for about three months before trying out as a booker at Select, then moving to that agency’s New Faces division. In the 15 years since, she has launched the careers of Agyness Deyn, Daisy Lowe, Lily Donaldson and Alice Dellal, and has booked models who often work in other areas too, such as music and acting, for everything from Prada contracts to Vogue covers.
29. Jourdan Dunn
2008 was Jourdan Dunn’s year. She triggered a media storm in February when she said that black models were under-represented on the catwalks, became the first black model to appear on a Prada catwalk for 10 years, and in July, she graced the cover of the Italian ‘Vogue’ issue devoted to black models. In November, she won Model of the Year at the British Fashion Awards. Her willingness to speak out about race has raised awareness of the lack of ethnic diversity in the fashion industry.
30. Ronnie Cooke-Newhouse
Creative director and consultant
Cooke-Newhouse likes to remain behind the scenes, but her fiercely astute sense of style and consumer trends means most of us will be familiar with her work. Heading up her own consultancy firm, she helped make Topshop the mecca it is today, and also works on image and identity for Lanvin, Mulberry, Comme des Garçons and Julien Macdonald. Newhouse founded Details magazine in the 1980s. She was also creative director of the New York store Barneys, and became worldwide creative director of Calvin Klein in 1997.
31. Mert Alas & Marcus Piggott
Mert & Marcus’ instantly recognisable shots have been seen in ‘W’, ‘Vogue’ and ‘Vanity Fair’. They are the talents behind countless ad campaigns, including Louis Vuitton and Miu Miu. Their most recent work is on the cover of ‘Love’, featuring the naked Beth Ditto.
32. Joan Burstein
Owner of Browns
Mrs B, as she is affectionately known, is one of the best-dressed women in fashion, gracing the front rows of the shows in impeccable designs by Chloé, Jil Sander or Zoran, worn with striking jewellery. She founded the cutting-edge boutique Browns in 1970, and helped to launch home-grown talents such as John Galliano, Hussein Chalayan and Alexander McQueen. More recently, the elegant octogenarian, appointed CBE in 2006, has supported the likes of Christopher Kane and Marios Schwab.
33. Professor Louise Wilson
Course director, Central Saint Martins
The famously outspoken Louise Wilson is one of the most influential voices in fashion academe, and has nurtured many now-household names to international success via the MA course that she runs at London’s Central Saint Martins. Former protégés include Hussein Chalayan and Sophia Kokosalaki and, more recently, Marios Schwab and Christopher Kane. Wilson’s no-nonsense approach makes her a formidable force – not only in the lecture halls, but in commercial terms as well. Last year she was appointed OBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours.
34. Sarah Mower
Ask any industry insider where they get their fashion-fix and sartorial savoir faire from, chances are they’ll mention style.com. Sarah Mower’s catwalk reviews for the site are famous for their idiosyncratic blend of background information, punchy trend analysis and succinct economic explanations, and have made her an unmistakable power on the fashion scene. Mower is also a contributing editor for US Vogue, visiting professor at Central Saint Martins, a talent scout for the British Fashion Council, and sits on the New Generation selection committee.
35. Averyl Oates
Buying director, Harvey Nichols
As the leading light at Harvey Nicks, Averyl Oates can be instrumental in promoting a young British designer or supporting an established one. There are six Harvey Nichols stores in the UK, meaning that her influence reaches consumers right across the nation. She joined the company in October 2004, having previously worked as the womenswear merchandising director at Harrods.
36. Jo-Ann Furniss
Editor-in-chief, ‘Arena Homme+’
As editor-in-chief of the world’s grandest men’s fashion magazine, Jo-Ann Furniss commissions influential work by fashion stars including Olivier Rizzo (who is currently stylist of both menswear and womenswear for Prada) as well as the photographers Willy Vanderperre, Bruce Weber, Juergen Teller, Nick Knight, Alistair McLellan, Steven Klein and many more. Currently the only female editor |of a men’s title, Furniss’s talent lies in her ability to predict the forthcoming mood. Arena Homme + magazine celebrated its 15th anniversary last year.
37. Mandi Lennard
Clients and contacts know Mandi Lennard as more than a PR – she is a brand protector who aims not just to raise the profile of her young charges, but polices their interests fiercely. On her books at the moment are, among others, Gareth Pugh, Henry Holland, hatter Nasir Mazhar and Katie Grand’s brand new magazine Love. Lennard founded her company 11 years ago, and took on the newly launched magazine Dazed & Confused. Since then she has become the veritable patron saint of fashionable east London, as she was responsible for marketing the area’s super-cool status, and can be thanked for rejuvenating London Fashion Week with her battery of young, fresh talent.
38. Terry Jones
Editor-in-chief, ‘i-D’ magazine
Terry Jones founded music-and-|fashion mag i-D in 1980, after a five-year stint as art director at Vogue. The product he launched was the first style magazine to feature street fashion alongside catwalk collections, a formula now ubiquitous but then unheard of, and i-D soon became a breeding ground for talent. He describes his art direction as “controlled chaos”, and it remains his mission to nurture creative links with young photographers, writers and stylists, and to keep youth culture and street style central to the magazine’s artistic vision.
39. Claire Wilcox
Senior Fashion Curator, V&A
The Golden Age of Couture: Paris and London exhibition in 2007 was the highlight of Wilcox’s career so far. A thoughtful, yet accessible study of couture’s heyday, it was launched with a glamorous gala that marked the museum’s desire to rival the costume ball at the Metropolitan Museum in New York for prestige. Wilcox devised the Fashion in Motion series at the museum, has set the standard for style exhibitions, and boosted the perception of fashion as a multifaceted commercial art form.
40. Harold Tillman
Chairman, the British Fashion Council and Jaeger
Appointed chairman of the British Fashion Council in 2008, Harold Tillman is also chairman of Jaeger. Since he bought the company in 2003, it has gone from an ailing business to one with fashion credibility, a spot on the London Fashion Week schedule, and to having 765 points of sale. Two years ago, the silver-haired entrepreneur established a scholarship fund to help London College of Fashion students, and last September he announced an initiative to help fund designers on the brink of building viable businesses.
41. Manolo Blahnik
Shoemaker-cum-Hollywood household name, Blahnik paved the way for the new generation of independent creators and a revived interest in the craft. The dapper dresser’s profile was boosted by the ‘Sex and the City’ character Carrie’s obsession with high heels, and the Something Blue stilettos he designed for the climactic scene of the SATC film became a bestseller. The voluble designer gets his sketches turned into shoes in Italy.
42. Professor Wendy Dagworthy
Head of fashion and textiles, Royal College of Art
Formerly a designer in her own right, for many years Dagworthy has shaped the future stars of British fashion. Hussein Chalayan and Stella McCartney both learnt their craft under the ruby-haired professor when she was at Central Saint Martins. More recently, she taught Erdem and Georgina Goodman. Dagworthy is currently working on an exhibition about British fashion in the Eighties for the V&A.
43. Philip Treacy
Appointed OBE in 2007, Treacy has been pivotal in keeping the endangered art of millinery alive and innovative. He designed the hats for Grace Jones’s recent tour, and collaborates regularly with Alexander McQueen. Treacy began his career studying fashion in Dublin, then millinery at the Royal College of Art, before going on to work with Karl Lagerfeld at Chanel for 10 years. One of Treacy’s most beautiful and elegiac creations – a black hat in the shape of a galleon – was placed on his friend Isabella Blow’s coffin at her funeral in May 2007.
44. Hilary Riva
CEO of the British Fashion Council
In January, Riva was appointed OBE for her dedication to promoting British fashion internationally, supporting young designers and developing London Fashion Week, as CEO of the British Fashion Council, a position she has held since 2005. In that time she has overseen the Model Health Inquiry, which decided to ban models under 16 from appearing on the catwalk and introduce a Model Health Sanctuary.
45. David James
James has been a leading force in imagery and advertising since the late Eighties, when he began designing record sleeves for the likes of Soul II Soul and Neneh Cherry. He is art director for advertising campaigns for Prada – a role he has enjoyed for 11 years, working alongside the likes of Steven Meisel and Glen Luchford. He became art director at Another Man magazine in 2005, and in 2006, he undertook the art direction at Another Magazine too, working on editorials with David Sims and Craig McDean, as well as championing young artists.
46. Sam Gainsbury & Anna Whiting
Since establishing Gainsbury & Whiting |in 2000, this indomitable twosome have pushed |the boundaries of how fashion is viewed. Whether it is sourcing a paint-spraying robot arm for Alexander McQueen, or creating a 3D hologram of Kate Moss, their job is not only to deal with the very nuts and bolts of both fashion shows and shoots (from catering to set-building), but also to realise the designer’s creative vision. Having produced shows for everyone from Topshop to Chloé, and music videos for Björk, they recently launched their own film division, and are currently representing Nick Knight and Steven Klein.
47. Lulu Kennedy
Founder, Fashion East
In 2000, Lulu Kennedy founded Fashion East, an initiative through which three young designers each season would be able to show their collections at London Fashion Week. Having helped to launch the careers of Marios Schwab, Roksanda Ilincic and Jonathan Saunders, Fashion East is seen as one of the most important sources of new talent at the event. This fashion oracle is as bold and innovative in her dress sense as the fashion designers she supports.
48. Jess Hallet & Sarah Murray
Best friends Hallett and Murray formed the casting company Darling Productions in 2000. With the support of industry movers-and-shakers Edward Enningful and Ronnie Cooke-Newhouse, they got off to an impressive start – their first clients were Jil Sander and Comme des Garçons. Since then, Murray, a chestnut-haired former model, and Hallett, who worked for Storm Model Management as Kate Moss’s booker, have become influential casting directors. They have sourced models for labels such as Stella McCartney, Kate Moss for Topshop and Giles Deacon, while current clients include Luella and Alexander McQueen.
49. Dylan Jones
Editor of ‘GQ’
Dylan Jones became editor of i-D in 1984, and has also been an editor at The Face, Arena, The Observer and The Sunday Times. He has edited the best-selling men’s magazine GQ for almost 10 years, during which time he has considerably upped circulation figures and boosted the brand’s image with high-profile launches such as the GQ Men of the Year awards. With other published work including biographies of rock stars and politicians, anthologies of essays, and even a modern etiquette guide, Jones has become quite the cultural pundit, and an important voice on the British fashion scene.
50. Nick Robertson
Founder of Asos.com
While much of the high street may be struggling, the clothing website Asos currently attracts 4.5 million trend-hungry users a month, and posted a 118 per cent year-on-year sales increase for the nine weeks to 16 January 2009. The secret of the phenomenal success of Robertson is vision – successfully recognising and exploiting the internet’s potential – customer service and choice. Asos offers young women access to cherry-picked pieces from high street shops, as well as a panoply of affordable independent designers and high-end brands. The Independent