Golden Name Check


>> Last night, if you're a Twitter follower you would have seen myself and seemingly THE WHOLE WORLD tweeting commentary alongside the Olympics Closing Ceremony in London, with the general consensus being that it wasn't a patch on (Sir) Danny Boyle's Opening Ceremony.  LOL-est tweets of the night came courtesy of @ChristopherShannon @WilliamOliver and @WillBroome.  With a preceding digital montage of David Bowie and a few sneaky twit pics courtesy of PR mogul Daniel Marks from TCS, I was getting mighty MIGHTY excited over the imminent appearance of all the supers strutting in British designers as featured in British Vogue's Olympics-themed shoot in the current September issue (which in turn made it a HUGE coup for Vogue).  The representation of British Fashion at an event that has an audience of circa one billion people worldwide is the sort of priceless publicity that can't be underestimated.  To the inevitable soundtrack of David Bowie's Fashion, trucks adorned with Nick Knight's imagery of the models came trooping out and once the billboards were torn down, they revealed Kate Moss, Naomi Campbell (both in Alexander McQueen), Stella Tennant (in Christopher Kane), Georgia May Jagger (in Victoria Beckham) Lily Cole (in Erdem), Jourdan Dunn (in Jonathan Saunders and Stephen Jones), David Gandy (in Paul Smith), Lily Donaldson (in Vivienne Westwood and Karen Elson (in Burberry) who then proceeded to strut down towards the centre of the Union Jack formation in the Olympic Stadium.  The gesture was impressive but was the message properly conveyed?  Business of Fashion wasn't sure.  Imran Amed tweeted "OK, has to be asked. That was a representation of British Fashion on global stage, in front of 300 million people? #missedopportunity"  Christopher Shannon didn't beat around the bush: "That 'fashion' bit was crinnnngeeeeeee #closingceremonies"  I said, perhaps in Tweeting haste "Saying it in small voice in case people pelt me with apples but fashion segment felt vaguely *hollow* ?"  

Upon reflection, I'll probably need to adjust that tweet.  It definitely wasn't hollow for the designers involved.  That stage for designers like Erdem, Christopher Kane, Jonathan Saunders and to a lesser extent for Burberry, Vivienne Westwood and Alexander McQueen was immense, without parallel and completely justified.  If the Closing Ceremony was going to be a celebration of British culture and what it has to offer the world, then fashion quite rightly should have its spotlight.  Whether having supermodels strutting to a David Bowie track in a bizarrely staid and slightly old-fashioned catwalk set-up with clothing credits read over the loudspeaker was the best format to celebrate British fashion, remains a question mark for me.  The segment seemed to be stuck in a generic timewarped view of fashion that didn't seem to connect with what's actually going on in fashion today.  Oh, strutty models.  Oh, strike a fierce pose at end of catwalk.  Oh, credits read out loud in manner of a catwalk show at The Clothes Show at NEC Birmingham.  In any case some of the fashion namechecks were completely lost on the British audience at home anyway seeing as the BBC lowered the sound when they read out "Burberry", "Jonathan Saunders" etc in accordance with the broadcasting corporation's zero-branding policy.  Not sure if international audiences got a better hearing.  Hadley Freeman of The Guardian has also questioned the appearance of models after two weeks of celebrating female athletes that embody the polar opposite of the figures a la Kate, Naomi and Co.  That's probably an even more potent counter-argument considering how inspired I, along with practically every Londoner I know, have been over the athletes' achievement and sheer tenacity.    

This isn't an outright dirge.  It was a difficult feat for the British Fashion Council to pull off a feat like this, fighting to even have fashion represented on an already packed schedule of acts and choreography.  Marks, director of London PR company The Communications Store, who I think was the primary orchestrator of this segment in the show said on Twitter "What an amazing night. Fashion well represented.  Nearly didn't happen at all.  A story for another time.  Two years of hard work to make that happen. Celebrate it!"

Therefore, on a final note let's not dwell on format and celebrate the FASHION.  My favourite looks were definitely Christopher Kane's Ziggy Stardust-esque chainmail graphic suit and Jonathan Saunders golden panelled white dress, complemented by Stephen Jones' headdress.  Chainmail in Kane's A/W 12-3 collectionw as the backdrop to all that awesome plastic thread embroidery and in another so-wrong-it's-right moment, shined a refreshed spotlight on this often questionable material.  Let's also think about whether a show like that will indeed see any sort of positive uplift on those brands featured, not necessarily in direct sales (that would be ambitious) but in Google searches and people merely enquiring about these designers or their names sticking when people come and visit London in the tourism and retail uplift that the organisers and government hope for as a positive upshot of hosting the Games.  That's the sort of gold that can't be weighed and counted just yet.

20 Replies to “Golden Name Check”

  1. I thought the fashion segment during the Closing Ceremony was rather unexpected, intriguing and generally pretty good – though, I’m quite easy to please!
    It ended somewhat abruptly, as they moved on to the next bit, which I don’t think helped the feeling of “hollowness” that has been cited. But it was a dazzling mini-show of British fashion, in any case.
    Best Wishes,

  2. I think the entire closing ceremony was a series of good moments that could have been great…like everything was left just a little bit short. But the designers and the nod to British high fashion was there and was represented by the best so we can be really happy with that 🙂

  3. David Gandy should definitely have come on in a gold Westwood codpiece instead. Also, it would’ve been nice to have staged a Galliano comeback. 🙂

  4. Fantastic spotlight for British Fashion and those that worked to make it happen should be congratulated. But I have to agree with you & Tara. It was the abrupt ending that left us wanting more. I expected something to happen when they got to center stage. Or perhaps I just wanted more time to see them all together… that picture above is a remarkable line-up we didn’t get to see on screen.

  5. I agree with everything you’ve said. I think a better way to do it would have been to inject a bit of humour, energy and fun into this whole segment, as this is one of the main things that caracterises British fashion. And I certainly didn’t hear any of the designers’ names while watching on TV…
    Wandering Minds fashion

  6. This (also the Spice girls^^) was definitely my favorite part of the closing ceremony and definitely the most glamourous! All the gold must represent the Gold medals!! Haha.

  7. I have to say that I thought the whole fashion segment was a bad interpretation of British fashion, and incomplete feeling. I watched the closing ceremonies on NBC and I couldn’t even hear them announcing the designers or models, I didn’t know they had until I read your post. What that left me with was a couple of models I knew, such as Kate Moss and Naomi Campbell, and then the rest were just random models. I also was left guessing who was wearing what, and whether it had anything to do with the top British designers. I found the whole closing ceremonies cringe worthy, but this was a particular low point. I was considering doing a post on this myself actually.

  8. I totally agree, it could have been so much more. We could have had a mix of models, athletes or other entertainment personaltities (of different shapes and sizes) wearing the clothes of our best designers, but TOTALLY lets forget that for now and just be over the moon our fantastic fashion designers got a mention. The pattern cutting studio I work at cut the pattern for the assistants gold leather jackets, we’re gutted they didn’t read our studio name out with the rest! 🙂 We had no idea where the work we did was being used in the ceremony so we are super chuffed it made it into the fashion section! We also cut the blue suits the guys with the lightbulb hats were wearing. LOVE IT!

  9. Hmmmm rather disappointing if you ask me. For a nation so steeped in fashion history – and isn’t is the 2nd highest earning industry in this country? – surely British Fashion should have been represented a bit… better? I mean, are we not sick of the site of Kate and Naomi? we’ve seen them strut a million times before, who needs an extended catwalk of the same faces?
    I think what we needed was British fashion over the decades with something to signify how absolutely amazing and unique it is now! Music got it and the opening and closing ceremonies, why not fashion???

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