The manager of Premier Menswear had driven the desire to move this element of the unified show to come back into London to stand up against EMAP. This moved it away from its sister events and he came up with sound reasons for this, but perhaps they should have been outweighed by the benefits of sustaining a one-roof unified show.
EMAP launched Forty Degrees as a casualwear event to seize one part of the market. Forty degrees is the temperature at which you washed jeans, back then at least. Their marketing campaign was very good, a sequential mailing of items revealing the name ‘Forty Degrees’ but not what it was. They out-marketed us in this sector, but it has always been easy to rip parts from an existing format, the database is easily definable and reached, the messages more specific. When your event is trying to be all things to all sectors it becomes exposed.
Our show went well but this was my first and it was therefore more about learning who to listen to and where I might add momentum. I did get one superb personal opportunity, as a Chelsea fan, I presented a birthday cake to our ‘Best Dressed Man of the Year’, Ruud Gullitt. However, I then had to take the pain of a rather irate live interview from a Newcastle radio station asking me why its favourite son David Ginola had not won the award.
My fondest memory of Womenswear and Childrenswear was the whirlwind that was escorting Margarita Pracatan around the show. She had gained popularity as a novelty singer on the Clive James Saturday Night Clive programme and rapidly become something of a gay icon. However, this octogenarian Cuban also ran a successful New York cable channel. She was remorseless at the show, bringing to mind Jeremy Beadle, attracting visitors, learning enough to sell the goods, walking out on the catwalks, and taking over the small electronic keyboard in the bar back at our hotel. She wore me out.
In the meantime, EMAP was planning a womenswear show in London, so the question was, did we move ours to the capital or not? The team and I thought their early progress would recede and we should see them off with our benefits of a one-roof event momentum.