Posted by Melanie Rickey, Fashion Editor at Large

A case full of Lupfer loveliness 
Contrary to popular belief, London Fashion Week, or any other fashion week for that matter,  isn't all about the shows. One example of an off-schedule event this time around was Relative MO's gorgeous event at Two Temple Place. Within the ornately decorated venue which, oddly, used to be the HQ of The Bulldog Trust, (though I reckon it looks like a Freemason Lodge) jewellers and fashion designers exhibited their Autumn/fall offerings and pepping up weary press who'd been sprinting around the catwalk circuit. Dominic Jones was there as was Bolzoni & Walsh, but by far the busiest room was Markus Lupfer's.

Two Temple Place 

You know Markus, right? He is an utterly charming boyishly handsome designer in his late 30s, a German who has lived in London for most of his adult life. Every fashionable woman in the world's major cities probably owns, or wants to own, one of Lupfer's superfashion novelty knits. You might recognise the lips below, this is his all-time bestselling motif. I've got one!  Markus doesn't just create cult status jumpers, but he accepts that this is what he is famous for. In fact he embraces it.  Markus is also doing fashion business in his own very successful way. I had an fascinating chat with him at the event, and he told me how he's tailored his brand to suit what he's learnt his customers want from him. Something of a theme this week, as it is almost the same discussion I had with Richard Nicoll too. In the fashion business, there are many ways to be successful. 

Sequin embroidery on an iconic Lupfer jumper

"Four and a half years ago, everything changed" he told me. How so? "I just thought, I need to prioritise being good to my customers, giving them good service. It is not only about the catwalk show".

To put this in context, you should know that Lupfer began his career in the same way as many London based designers, through sponsorship from NEWGEN. So he began with catwalk shows, as is often seen to be the 'done thing' in fashion. The big change came when Lupfer realised that he didn't actually NEED to do shows to be a successful designer.  He decided it was time for "a totally different approach" to showing his work and so abandoned the catwalk concept. At the presentation at Two Temple Place, there was a room dotted with Lupfer's new season sequin embroidered jumpers, precisely cut glittery tailoring.  A vintage trunk, lined with glitter, was stacked with neat piles of cartoon animal designs while close by a few models hung out by the fireplace in big armchairs wearing his jumpers and cute skater skirts, doing fun poses while much needed refreshments were served.

Cute animal tees with sequin masks
Hanging out in Markus Lupfer AW12, no wonder they look like they're having fun
One of the main reasons that Lupfer has changed his approach is his passionate belief in fun, which obviously comes through in his designs. "I've let that showbiz design ego go and am just doing what feels natural - having fun, being light and bright!" he said. It just so happens that being fun works well for Lupfer's balance sheet too. Having fun AND making good business sense? Sounds pretty perfect to me! If you are a fan of the Lupfer aesthetic, and who wouldn't be, you should get yourself  down to Bicester Village's British Designers Collective which opens next Wednesday.  I'm going to the launch which is hosted by Alexa Chung to do some shopping, and I will definitely be on the look out for a bit of Lupfer. The full list of British designers present is impressive

The full list of womenswear designers at the Bicester Village British Designer Collective is here- 
Nicholas Kirkwood
Marios Schwab
Jonathan Saunders
Markus Lupfer
Peter Pilotto
Holly Fulton
Bella Freud
James Long
Emma Cook
Hermione de Paula 
Jean Pierre Braganza 
plus accessories from Pauric Sweeney
Lily and Lionel
Erikson Beamon.

Find out more about the British Designers Collective here. And maybe see you there next Wednesday. 

Friday Fun jumper from Markus Lupfer