“I was in a romantic mood this time around,” Lulu Kennedy reported at the star-studded lunch to celebrate the Fall collection from her supergroup-style label, Lulu & Co., at the very swank Harry’s Bar, a venue that’s light-years away from her gritty home turf in East London. Kennedy (pictured, right) is the founder of Fashion East, the legendary talent incubator that’s spawned the likes of Gareth Pugh, Jonathan Saunders, Richard Nicoll, and Roksanda Ilincic, and for her namesake label, she collaborates with her protegés and other young guns of interest. Her mood this year led her to include a few couples as collaborators, including artists Tim Noble and Sue Webster, besties Bella Freud (center) and Susie Bick, and photographer and art director Patrick Waugh and Alistair McLellan.
Kennedy and business partner Tania Fares (left) created Lulu & Co. last year to celebrate a decade of Fashion East, and it proved so popular they did it again. As last season, there’s a retrospective shine over the whole. “This year, it’s a mix of Fashion East past and present,” Kennedy said. “We have the couples who are new, but also the old—the journeymen of Fashion East like Jonny Saunders and Richard Nicoll. We worked hard at making the clothes more affordable and wearable.” (There’s a word not always top of mind for Kennedy’s kindred on their own runways.)
Charlotte Dellal, Mary McCartney (Stella’s photographer sister), Camilla Al Fayed, Sara Parker Bowles, Liberty Ross, and a clutch of designers including Roland Mouret, Erdem Moralioglu (below left), Roksanda Ilincic, Nicholas Kirkwood (below right), and Marios Schwab all stopped by to toast to the new. (Though Harry’s did make for a bit of culture clash—Henry Holland tweeted that he needed to get special dispensation to enter wearing his shorts.)
Of course, as more and more interest is directed at London’s new garde, there’ll be plenty more meet-ups of the gritty and the glamorous. England has just gotten a stylish new royal client of particularly high profile, and one wonders if she’ll be as receptive to young U.K. designers as her counterpart of sorts, Michelle Obama, has been to young Americans. “I think her McQueen wedding dress was beautiful, but I think now she should turn her eye to some other U.K. designers,” Kennedy said. “We are working on Resort now with Roksanda, and there is this gorgeous black and white draped number and I thought, wow, this dress needs an occasion and certainly [the Duchess of Cambridge] will have plenty of those. We will send her the lookbook, so fingers crossed. I mean, Mrs. Obama chose Roksanda, so here’s hoping that the Duchess will, too.”