CAMPAIGNS: Judge and Jury; Why Lynne Franks PR did Fashion Week a real service

This year’s London Fashion Week went without a hitch thanks to Lynne Franks PR, says Kimberly Fortier, communications director at Conde Nast Publications

This year’s London Fashion Week went without a hitch thanks to Lynne

Franks PR, says Kimberly Fortier, communications director at Conde Nast

Publications



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

cool.



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.



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