Front-row tickets to top catwalk shows being offered for sale for up to £5,000 each
You might have thought that front row seats at London fashion week are reserved for the hottest celebrities, Instagram trendsetters, trade buyers and journalists such as Anna Wintour. But a Guardian investigation reveals that top seats to some of the world’s biggest fashion labels’ catwalk shows are being offered for sale for as much as £5,000 each.
Designers selling seats in the front row – known as ‘The Frow’ in the industry – include Alice Temperley, a favourite of the Duchess of Cambridge, and Mary Katrantzou, whose dresses have been worn by Michelle
Obama, Sarah Jessica Parker and Keira Knightley.
Katrantzou, a London-based designer who sells cocktail dresses that cost £30,780 , is offering front row tickets to her catwalk show this evening for £5,000 each. Sarah Dulong, her senior sales executive, said: “We did [have tickets], but a few weeks ago. The tickets were selling for £5,000 for the front row.”
When asked if the ticket buyers would need to have a knowledge of or interest in fashion, Dulong said: “Not particularly, no”. Later, a Katrantzou spokesman said: “Mary Katrantzou sell tickets to the show through the BFC [British Fashion Council] London fashion week guest club packages.”
BFC said the packages offer an “exclusive opportunity for your guests to be part of the select few who experience the phenomenon of this internationally acclaimed fashion event”. It offers “uniquely dazzling package[s]” such as “glamorous champagne breakfasts”, private chauffeurs and previews of forthcoming collections. These start at £520 per person.
It also offers “front row seats at a standout British designer catwalk show plus the opportunity to meet and greet the designer back stage after the catwalk show”. The cheapest front row tickets cost £1,700 plus VAT.
SME London, the BFC’s corporate hospitality partner, said it had tickets available for Temperley London’s show tonight for £2,500. The SME representative said the tickets included meeting Temperley after the show. “The front row experience is very much being at the centre of things with all the VIPs and celebrities and those in fashion,” the SME sales representative said. Temperley did not respond to requests for comment.
The BFC defended selling front row tickets. Caroline Rush, BFC chief executive, said: “As a not-for-profit organisation that supports many young designers, we offer hospitality packages that in turn enables us to offer a premium show venue to emerging designers at a reduced rate, or offer additional income to those designers that work with us on front row packages, to offset the costs of producing a catwalk show.
“As you can imagine, the show seats, particularly front row, are in high demand and we only work with designers that are able to accommodate, hence the limited amount available.” Rush later said that the BFC had failed to sell any of the high price front row tickets.
The Guardian was also offered front row tickets to Victoria Beckham’s show tomorrow for £5,000 each by a thirdparty. Beckham was not aware that tickets were offered for sale and said she has “categorically not offered any hospitality to the vb show”. Ticketing company Sincura has apologised to Beckham and stated that an employee who offered the tickets was mistaken.
Tony Baxter, director of Sincura, said: “We can confirm that though we do have access to many shows, we have no access to Victoria Beckham’s fashion show.”
Sincura’s website also offers front row tickets for New York fashion week, including Calvin Klein for $5,500 and Oscar de la Renta for $4,400. Calvin Klein said it would take legal action against Sincura. A spokesman for Oscar de la Renta said: “There were no tickets to the show sold and to my knowledge that is not a practice the brand employs.”
‘The front row experience is very much being at the centre of things‘ Sales representative SME London
Front row guests at the Turkish designer Bora Aksu’s London fashion week show yesterday