This year’s London Fashion Week went without a hitch thanks to Lynne
Franks PR, says Kimberly Fortier, communications director at Conde Nast
It could have been PR mayhem. Over the past eight years London Fashion
Week has had its ups and downs. First there was no place to hold the
shows, then there wasn’t enough funding for the designers, finally the
designers began to jump ship - showing instead in Paris or Milan. Add to
this the ego of the average fashion designer, the occasionally precious
behaviour of the fashion journalist, and dozens of public relations
firms jostling to get their designer clients into the limelight. It’s a
scenario worthy of Patsy and Edina.
But Patsy and Edina would have been bored to tears with London Fashion
Week. It was decidedly low on kiss-kiss luvvie hysterics. In the press
room, special telephone lines and computer terminals were set up to help
journalists file their stories. Renault sponsored vans were on hand to
whisk top editors from office to show, and last minute seating blips
were smoothed out.
The laid-back hippie-chic style of Lynne Franks PR is not right for
every client, but it set the right tone for London Fashion Week. The
public relations agency didn’t chase hard news stories or set up press
gimmicks. What it did was provide good, reliable efficient service.
Enough of their staff were at the shows to sort out last minute
problems. They made it as easy as possible for the editors, journalists,
buyers and celebrities to get to their seats and see what was going down
the catwalks. In the face of a bomb alert, fire restrictions leading to
seating problems, and a lack of super models, Lynne Franks kept its
By taking the service angle they showed a strong understanding of the
British fashion press, respecting journalists’ ability to make up their
own minds. After years of problems, London Fashion Week looked stable,
and the press wanted to bang the drum for Britain. Only one negative
piece appeared, against a mountain of positive press. And when Colin
McDowell had a whinge in the Daily Express about the British Fashion
Council, Lynne Franks faxed the paper a reasoned response between shows.
The only people who got it wrong were not the dizzy fashion darlings,
but the sensible grey suits at 10 Downing Street. The Government hosted
a bash for British fashion luminaries - three days after they had all
decamped for Milan.