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Best online discount deals revealedIt’s every shopper’s dream - information that shows when to shop for the best discount deals on a retailer’s agenda. The gesture best described as customer service at its best comes courtesy of leading online voucher site Savoo.co.uk which decided to

release industry data to show consumers that it is dedicated to helping them get the best value deals online and to help them make the best choices about when to shop for certain items.

Best online discount deals revealedThe saving trends data reveals exactly what month retailers offer the biggest discounts on a range of everyday shopping items, from clothing and electronics, travel and entertainment, to children and teens. Contrary to popular belief January is the best month to shop, Savoo.co.uk’s savings data pinpoints July as the best month to make purchases on clothing, shoes and accessories, with available savings hitting a mammoth 60%.

January did however reveal to be the best time for families to grab bargains on kids, babies and teen purchases, with discounts hitting almost 40%.

With VAT rising by 2.5% points to 20% as the new government seeks to balance the books by 2015, consumers will be forced to pay even more for the purchase of everyday and essential items, which will hit many people hard – especially families. Savoo.co.uk, a free online voucher site that allows people to save on almost anything that they want to buy online, says discount vouchers offer a great way to help people afford the things they need, without breaking the bank.

Sarah Escott, UK Director of Retail Partnerships at Savoo.co.uk comments: “Our team of deal hunters at Savoo.co.uk is absolutely committed to helping consumers get the best deals online. Obviously the savings and timings vary from merchant to merchant, but we wanted to release this data to help people make the most informed choice they can about when to buy their goods and make sure they save every penny they can.”

Savoo.co.uk’s team of Deal Hunters scour the web to find top offers in every category, from designer clothes and baby gear to big screen TVs and gourmet food. The voucher codes site currently offers approximately 5,000 vouchers, with opportunities to save everyday on major brands, such as Apple, Amazon, Argos, Dell, Debenhams, Figleaves and Tesco.

The saving trends data also revealed:

March, April and July offer technology lovers, desperate to get their hands on the latest gadget launch, almost 20% discounts on electronic and computer items.

May is the best time to snap up holiday and travel deals, with retailers offering up to 55% discount deals, offering a huge saving - particularly for those planning family holidays.

June or September are the best months to enjoy a day out at a theme park, evening at the theatre, or perhaps just a meal for two at a nice restaurant, with retailers offering discounts of 15% - higher than any other time of year.

Picture credit: Money Wise

Goldsmiths jewellery fairFashion jewellery fans won't want to miss the Goldsmiths’ Fair, the ultimate showcase of independent jewels in the UK. Over the past 28 years the Fair has grown in stature and is now considered the most prestigious event of its kind in Europe.

This annual selling event, which is open to the public, positively buzzes with talent, passion, creativity, innovative design and superlative craftsmanship. The fair celebrates the bespoke, and each piece is hand-made by dedicated artists in small workshops around the country and collectively the Fair represents months of intense skill and artistry.

Goldsmiths jewellery fair The ancient, traditional skills of the jeweller and silversmiths are much in evidence, in some cases excitingly fused with cutting-edge technologies. Jewellers Tina Engell and Roslyn Millar for example use the cuttlebone from cuttlefish to cast their jewellery, a technique widely used by Renaissance jewellers which results in an attractive grainy texture which looks both antique and yet very modern.

At the other end of the spectrum advanced laser welding is enabling jewellers and silversmiths to scale new heights previously thought unreachable. Tom Rucker’s breathtaking jewellery for example is made by painstakingly laser welding fine platinum wire together to produce an intricate molecular lace like effect. Equally, silversmith Kevin Grey, exhibiting at the Fair for the first time, uses laser and TIG welding techniques to join individual hand-raised formed pieces of silver to produce his beautiful seemingly seamless vessels, remarkable for their simplicity of form, line and volume.

Fashion no longer dictates that metals should never be mixed hence jewellers positively relish the freedom and experimentation that this allows.

The Goldsmith Fair runs from 27 September to 10 October in East London. For further information go to thegoldsmiths.co.uk.

Image: Oxidised amethyst ring

Summary of Haute Couture weekThe designers ball, which drew to a close last Thursday, featured only seven participants out of the ten international fashion houses that carry the label. Nevertheless it is to be noted that Paris haute couture is opening out to young designers

through the guest members procedure, and to High Jewellery, which now features in the official couture week diary. All the same, organising a fashion show remains very expensive, as does the production of each piece, with the cost capable of reaching millions of Euros, for sometimes little-known designers. To give one example, it costs between 10,000 and 15,000 Euros to hire a venue in Paris.

Summary of Haute Couture week“I no longer want to consider couture as a stressful meeting for yet another collection, but rather as an opportunity to gain pleasure from creations. So this season, we are launching a second line, AVH (...), to enable us to have prices consistent with the market,” explains fashion designer Anne Valérie Hash, who unveiled her alternative line on the eve of the week dedicated to haute couture. AVH was one of a selection of creative labels that occupied Brongniart Palace for the first ever Paris Fashion Days event. In total, 4,000 visitors flocked to this event organised by Prêt à Porter Paris, in partnership with IMG Fashion UK.

While the major fashion houses do not break with catwalk-show tradition, they very much count on sales of accessory products such as make-up, perfume and glasses, which enable them to maintain their couture branch - an “increasingly fragile and precious activity that is becoming ever more expensive to maintain,” recognises luxury specialist Jean-Jacques Picart. Take the example of Chanel and ‘Rouge Coco’, its new lipstick range, which magnifies the Chanel brand image.

The Autumn - Winter 2010-11 order books are expected to indicate positive trends. During the July session, the upturn in demand was confirmed through internationalisation, particularly the increasing number of female buyers from emerging countries such as Russia, India and China. Whereas in the past, the keen interest in Paris haute couture originated mainly from the United States and the Middle East, “nowadays emerging countries represent major potential for couture,” specifies Picart.

As far as the LVMH group’s fashion and luxury consultant is concerned, the wealthiest individuals from these countries “are in search of recognition and a status, and haute couture is the ideal way, with jewellery, to rapidly demonstrate that they belong to an elitist and privileged category (...) And in our luxury lines of business, we are in need of these privileged individuals, who will create new work for our design workshops, embroiderers and plumassiers”.


From our correspondent in Paris

Photo: Chanel, fall 2010

London Fashion Week welcomes Acne and GilesThe British Fashion Council have announced the September London Fashion Schedule, which will mark the debut of Swedish label Acne showing in the capital. The schedule also reveals newcomer SS11 NEWGEN designers Michael Van Der Ham, David

Koma and Holly Fulton, all making their catwalk debuts. Giles has confirmed he too will show in London marking a return following two seasons in Paris. Designers also confirmed to show on schedule for a third consecutive season include Burberry Prorsum, Matthew Williamson, Pringle of Scotland, Antonio Berardi and Jonathan Saunders.

Giles Deacon commented on his return to London “Giles is aquintessential London label and I am extremely happy to be showing in  London after two successful seasons in Paris”.

NEWGEN London Fashion Week welcomes Acne and Gilesdesigners David Koma and Holly Fulton will show in a back to back format in their on-schedule debut whilst Mary Katrantzou and Michael Van Der Ham will host their first stand-alone shows. Other designers showing under the NEWGEN umbrella, sponsored by Topshop, include Peter Pilotto; while Louise Gray and Craig Lawrence will both show their collections on the presentation schedule.

NEWGEN MEN designers James Long, Christopher Shannon and J.W. Anderson will once again show on-schedule, alongside a catwalk debut from the cutting-edge tailor to some of the world’s biggest stars Ozwald Boateng. Raw, emerging design talent juxtaposed with innovatve yet popular tailoring from Savile Row designers, such as Boateng demonstrates the evolution of the breadth and calibre of talent showcased during LFW’s Menswear Day.

Louise Goldin, 2010 Fashion Forward winner supported by Coutts & Co will host a digital presentation and event showcasing her S/S collection.

CEO of the British Fashion Council Caroline Rush, commented “London Fashion Week is renowned for its diversity and breadth of talent; our established, iconic brands show alongside our brightest emerging stars in an extraordinary showcase of talent season on season.”     Giles Deacon is to return to London Fashion Week with his namesake label Giles.

"I'm really excited. It seemed like a good idea to bring my own labe back to London. I don't like the idea of doing two things in one city," Deacon, who has been showing in Paris for the past two seasons and who is now also the creative director at Emanuel Ungaro, told Vogue.com. "I like the freshness of popping around and not being pigeon-holed. It keeps it exciting and fresh which is what everyone likes about the fashion industry."

Image: Giles

Acne opens for business in LondonThe new Acne store in the capital’s Dover Street will open today with the latest aviator-inspired AW10 collection and sneak previews of the staple piece of the season being their shearling jacket. The Swedish label Acne, standing

for Ambition to Create Novel Expressions, is already a big hit in London (we can get our hands on the cool brand at Browns, Liberty, Matches and online) but the anticipated concept studio spread over a five storey townhouse in the heart of London was news that sent fashion insiders into overdrive.

Acne opens for business in London Founded in 1996 in Stockholm, Acne not only consists of a fashion brand but also stretches to advertising, art, film, e-commerce, magazine publishing and even toys. The denim offshoot began in 1997 when founder Jonny Johansson and three friends designed 100 pairs of jeans to distribute among friends, family and acquaintances. Before long a public demand for these raw denim jeans with red stitching appeared and the following year Acne Jeans was born with its first collection.

Today Acne has over ten stores situated not only in Scandinavia but also in Australia, Austria, France, Germany and the USA. The expansion into the London retail landscape had always been the brand’s long-term goal. Founder and Creative Director Johansson told GQ.com: “Very early on, back in 1999, we started selling to London. I think we even sold to Selfridges but we were so young and couldn't deliver - we got a bad reputation! We have really been looking for a store and it's been a long wait. I'm super happy with the location: I really love Dover Street Market, The Wolsley is quite close and I stay at Brown's Hotel. So I think it's an area that's neat, in between offices and art dealers.

” The new studio features clothing, furniture, a roof terrace, garden and gallery boasting design work from artists such as Jean Cocteau, Jeremiah Goodman and Katerina Jebb: "Ever since we formed Acne we always talked about a house with different levels of creativity to house all of our artistic endeavours," said Johansson. He continued: "The Studio will be more than just clothing it will be a house of differing creativity."

For most fashion brands, opening a new shop is a tentative process of testing the water but the thrill of the opening day and the early arrival of fashion fans this morning confirm Acne is here to stay.

Elyse Taylor for O’NeillInternational model Elyse Taylor faces the new Spring 2011 campaign of O’Neill Girls. Besides being the new face, she co-designed a limited edition swimwear collection for the Californian surf, snow and youth lifestyle brand. Imagery from O’Neill’s

Spring 2011 photo shoot, shot on location in the Virgin Islands by Kyle Alexander, will debut at the Miami Swim Tradeshow this weekend.

As part of Elyse Taylor for O’Neillthe collaboration, O’Neill Girls will also be unveiling an exclusive swimwear collection, Elyse Taylor for O’Neill, later next year. Born in Vaucluse, Sydney, since her career began, Taylor has worked with high fashion brands including Victoria’s Secret, and appeared on runways for Marc Jacobs, Alberta Ferretti, Dolce & Gabbana, and Roberto Cavalli.

Scheduled for release in 2011 at specialty retailers and boutiques,Elyse Taylor for O’Neill will complement the brand’s 2011 lifestyle collections that merge 1970’s retro surf styling with indie culture and ethnic influences. For O’Neill Girls, she will be included in retail and online videos, digital and print advertising, product hangtags, and other promotional content.

O’Neill Girls is inspired by the adventurous and free-spirited young female.  Driven by O’Neill’s heritage as the original California surf brand since 1952, O’Neill Girls offers a range of styles for all seasons both on and off the beach. The brand includes a blend of effortlessly cool prints, dresses, tees, denim, fleece, jackets, accessories, swimwear and wetsuits. For a sneak peek into the O’Neill Girls Spring 2011 photo shoot, visit www.facebook.com/oneillgirls.

Image: O'Neill Girls

AIFW: Spijkers en Spijkers launch SISThis Amsterdam International Fashion Week saw the debut of SIS, the new diffusion range by Spijkers en Spijkers. The Dutch design duo Truus and Riet Spijkers will launch the new line for SS11. From the start, Spijkers en Spijkers developed a signature style known for its

graphic detailing, and distinct use of colour. The twin sisters have a historical fascination for the roaring 1920’s and the changes it brought to the worlds of arts and fashion. To Spijkers en Spijkers, this is the era when their muses where born as independent thinkers with a mind of their own. With these inspiring role models, Spijkers en Spijkers play the role of “modern suffragettes” reaching out to women and giving them confidence to be who they want to be.

AIFW: Spijkers en Spijkers launch SISWith the above in mind, Spijkers en Spijkers created their more accessible SIS line. The art-deco influences, the graphic detailing and the explicit use of colour are also reference points for SIS. Inspired by a Dutch sailor song, the new collection features sailor influences in bon ton style. Both the sea-life graphics and the shape of the garments refer to the designers’ love for art-deco. Their use of animal prints, light fabrics, and vivid colours speak throughout the whole collection.

Image: Spijkers en Spijkers SIS SS11

Burberry buys Chinese storesBurberry has bought 50 of its Chinese franchised stores in a deal worth 70 million pounds. Control of its franchising may add as much as 20 million pounds to operating profit in the year through March 2012, the Pimlico-based company said. “Financially, the deal

is excellent,” Dennis Weber, an analyst at Evolution Securities in London, said in a note. Earnings per share may be enhanced by about 6 percent in fiscal 2012, said Weber, who has a “neutral” rating on the stock.

Burberry buys Chinese stores Luxury companies are seeking to tap growth potential in China, where the number of millionaires soared 31 percent last year, according to research by Capgemini SA and Merrill Lynch & Co. The country’s luxury goods market will be worth $14.6 billion in five years, making it the world’s largest, the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences said in May.

Burberry rose 9 pence, or 1.1 percent, to close at 799.5 pence as of 4:30 p.m. in London trading. The shares have gained about 33 percent this year, giving the company a market value of about 3.5 billion pounds.

“This is a very attractive deal from a strategic and financial perspective, giving us control in a key growth luxury market,” Chief Executive Officer Angela Ahrendts said on a conference call. “We can see clear opportunities to further increase sales and profits.”

Retail sales in the Chinese stores, which were previously reported as wholesale revenue, totaled 75 million pounds in the year through December 2009, generating profit of about 14 million pounds for the local franchisees, Burberry said. Had Burberry owned the stores in the financial year ended March 2010, retail revenue would have represented 63 percent of total sales, up from 58 percent without them, Ahrendts said.

Under the new agreement, Burberry will take over the outlets’ operational management, while existing franchisees will hold a 15 percent stake in their business, the company said. Burberry, which currently has 13 directly operated stores in Hong Kong, one in Macau and 19 in Taiwan, plans to open 10 more units in China this year, Ahrendts said.

Image: Burberry Fall 10 campaign

Click here for an explanation of CEO Angela Ahrendt.