What to Read Next

Prince Charles opens London menswear week

14 June 2012

He may not be monarch for a while yet, but for the next four days he is undisputed king of the front row. With the first ever week of men's catwalk shows in London falling hot on the heels of the jubilee, Prince Charles is the man charged with leading the British menswear industry into battle with the titans of France and Italy.

Tonight Prince Charles will host several hundred representatives from the fashion industry at a reception at St James's Palace, in celebration of the menswear shows that begin tomorrow.

Whether the prince will adopt Anna Wintour's trademark sunglasses for the duration is not known; what is certain is that the lure of a gold-embossed palace invitation is a significant coup for the British Fashion Council as they strive to fill the London front rows with the world's most powerful buyers and editors.

Despite stiff competition from parties hosted by Tinie Tempah (featuring crazy golf on the roof of Selfridges) and retailer Mr Porter (with DJ Alexa Chung), the St James's Palace invite the week's hot ticket. Menswear by Margaret Howell and Claire Malcolm of Hardy Amies on display during the reception, alongside designs by Christopher Raeburn, the winner of the emerging talent in menswear award at the most recent British Fashion Awards.

But the prominence of Prince Charles signifies more than simply a wish to capitalise on jubilee fever. The rich Savile Row tradition of British tailoring and a drive to promote quality British craftsmanship are a key part of the message of this fashion week. Those steering the event are keen to move the image of British designer menswear on from the creative-but-crazy label and into more commercial territory.

This is a shift which has been successfully made in womenswear, where the London collections are now a slick and respected element of the global industry rather than the eccentric afterthought they once were.

Writing in Vogue two years ago, Prince Charles demurred from being labelled "fashionable", but acknowledged that "there have been those generous enough to call me 'well dressed'". The Prince is a longtime customer of the shirtmakers Turnbull & Asser, whose shirts are made in a small factory in Gloucestershire, and the distinguished Savile Row tailors Anderson & Sheppard.

"Clothes have to combine style with sustainability," writes the prince in the current issue of GQ magazine, "and I find British-made tailoring more than meets that challenge – much to the amusement of my staff, who are sometimes surprised to find that what I am wearing turns out to be as old as or even older than they are".

This week's showcase for British designer menswear hopes to capitalise on new findings which show that while women are cutting back on luxury fashion and spending more on high street purchases, men are prioritising luxury purchases.

Research by American Express shows that in 2011, men's year-on-year spending on luxury fashion grew slightly by 1%, while spending on mainstream fashion fell by 1.2%. In contrast, women cut back slightly (0.7%) on luxury fashion spending, while increasing spending on mainstream fashion by 5.2%.

guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media 2012

Shift into High Gear

Get the training you need for a career you ll love. Click here to learn more about MMI.

Hilton HHonors™ Card

Earn 40,000 Hilton HHonors™ Bonus Points. Apply for Your Card Today.

Drivers With No Tickets In 3 Years Must Read This

United States drivers are surprised that they never knew this. If you drive less than 50 mi/day, you better read this...

Help Erase Credit Card Debt with a Personal Loan

Are you paying too much on your credit cards? Consider a Personal Loan to help consolidate your payments.

Starwood Credit Card

Earn 25,000 Bonus Starpoints®! Use toward Award Nights or Flights.

This Movie Deal Is Sure To Get Your Attention!

Get 4 Disney Movies For $1 With Membership. See Details. Exclusive Titles, Merchandise, Offers & Discounts. Plus, Free Shipping On Your Initial Order!

Insane Navy Seal Flashlight, should it be banned?

The Military has recently released technology that is now available to the public. Get yours before they run out - Limited Supply!

Drivers With No Tickets In 3 Years Must Read This

If you drive less than 50 miles per day, there is a way to pay less for auto insurance that few people realize. Are you overpaying?

Update Your Look: Bell Sleeves

VA Mortgage Rates In 2016

VA Rates as Low as 2.75% (3.028% APR) 15 Year Fixed. Exclusive For Veteran & Military Takes 1 Min!

Consolidate your Student Loans by Refinancing

Refinance your student loans to a lower rate with SoFi. Find out how much you can save!

Banks Are Worried Homeowners Will Do This.

Homeowners are surprised and furious. If you owe less than $625,000 on your home, you better read this.

Switch and save!

Switch to Progressive and you could save an average of $548.

Read This Before You Buy Medigap Plan F

Plan F is the most popular Medicare Supplement plan, but there's another Medigap option you should consider.

Powerful Tactical Flashlight Flying Off Shelves!

This new tactical flashlight was just released to the public and is flying off shelves in the United States. Limited supplies left, act quick!