Optimism, in short, was a characteristic of the day. “It feels like progress is being made. There is not the same sense of angry frustration as was [at the EEF National Conference] last year,” said Craig Naylor managing director of precision tooling company NTR.
The opening presentation from Jim O’Neill of Goldman Sachs Asset Management, showed that such optimism is not without reason. He carefully laid out evidence to show that the global economic outlook is not as dire as most believe.
Mr O’Neill, who coined the term BRIC in reference to the world’s fastest growing economies, clarified the business imperative of becoming involved in those markets. He also defined a global economic rebalancing of power between the US “which used to consume too much and produced to little,” and China “which used to consume too little and produce too much.” Analysing data on national retail sales and consumer spending shows that we are moving towards an equilibrium says O’Neill.
Glossing over concern in some quarters that China’s growth is slowing, O’Neill stated some stunning facts about its continued expansion – between 2010 and 2012 China’s growth equalled the entire value of India’s economy, worth over $4 trillion.
Countering naysayers who moan that the UK still exports more to Ireland than it does to the lucrative BRIC markets, Mr O’Neill stated that “this is no longer true”. Canny firms are changing the balance and O’Neill revealed that UK exports to the eurozone have in fact declined by 10% since 2000. In the meantime, UK exports to the BRICs have grown to account for 8% of what Britain sends overseas and Goldman Sachs’ guru says this should reach 17% by the end of the decade.
The message to those with a thirst for growth was this – grab your competitive advantage while you can.
Kansai Yamamoto, the designer best known for dressing David Bowie on his Ziggy Stardust tour 40 years ago, has decided to return to the world of fashion design. “The first 20 years of my career I spent as a fashion designer, then the next 20 years I focused on entertainment. Now, for the first time, I am combining those two things,” Yamamoto said after a show Friday in Tokyo.
In the early Nineties, after two decades of showing and selling his avant-garde collections in London, Paris and New York, Yamamoto took a hiatus from the fashion world to focus on live entertainment events. His Super Shows, as he called them, combined elements of music, dance, acrobatics, traditional Japanese festivals and other spectacles, and were performed around the world, from Vietnam and India to Russia and Japan. The first such event, in Moscow’s Red Square in 1993, drew a crowd of 120,000.
Friday’s event was on a significantly smaller scale, performed at a theater previously used by the Blue Man Group. Still, the elements of fashion and entertainment were both evident, as martial arts performers kicked and lunged across the stage in Yamamoto’s samurai-inspired costumes. There were also dancers, a trumpet player and models in the designer’s latest designs, which included camouflage jackets and harem pants covered in clear sequins, as well as long skirts of intricately embroidered Chinese satin.
Some of Yamamoto’s latest creations will be sold in a pop-up shop at Isetan’s newly remodeled Shinjuku flagship from April 3 through 9. The 69-year-old designer said that from now on, he plans to do more of his elaborate music and performance shows in Europe, Asia and the U.S.
Fashion Week: Models dare to bare in cut-away dresses!
The latest line from label Vizyon, showcased at the LFW, picked up on the current trend of cut-away dresses. Photographs: Uttam Ghosh
Called ‘Enlightened Shadows’, the newest line by duo Shradha Murarka and Ninon Palisse of label Vizyon is inspired by modern art and Gothic references and consists of cocktailwear, structured short dresses and sophisticated red carpet gowns.
Unusual silhouettes, complemented by a myriad palette that varies from earthy brown to electric blue, sport geometric and architectural influences, as well as insect inspirations through cobbled web structures and beetle shell embroideries.
And thanks to this theme, the outfits also managed to mirror the 2012 trends of cut-aways and colour-blocking. To know what we’re talking about, take a look at this slinky yellow and sparkling black number.
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