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The Prince of Wales launches the British Fashion Council's London Collections: Men

14th June 2012

The Prince of Wales (right) talks with American designer Tommy Hilfiger (left) and his wife Dee (centre) during a reception at St. James's Palace, London

The Prince of Wales joked that he has become an "icon" of British fashion as he hosted a reception at St. James's Palace to launch a new exhibition of British menswear.

The event was attended by fashionistas such as Dame Vivienne Westwood and Tommy Hilfiger, celebrities Tinie Tempah and David Walliams, and even Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt.

After getting a taste for the clothes and talking one-to-one with the guests, The Prince addressed them in what he described as an off-the-cuff speech.

He said: "I am finding it very hard, ladies and gentlemen, to live with myself after I discovered that somebody has suggested I might even be an icon of fashion. It has taken 64 bleeding years. "I am so grateful to those people. I don't know why (they say this), they must be trying to get somewhere. I am very touched.

"I seem to have lurched from being the best dressed man to the worst dressed man - presumably it sells publications.

"Meanwhile I have gone on in my old way, like a stopped clock - I tell the right time every 25 years," he added.

The exhibition, called London Collections: Men, includes work by designers such as Paul Smith, Margaret Howell and Richard James, heritage brands such as Aquascutum and Savile Row tailors.

Attending the palace to learn about the collection, designer Dame Vivienne Westwood said: "I am a very big fan of the Queen, I think she is marvellous and everybody else is coming round to that opinion.

"She is so important and a quick way of summing that up is to say that if we didn't have her we would be like everybody else.

"But I think a great part of my respect for the royals is based on Prince Charles - he has done much better things for the country than any English politician."

The committee curating London Collections: Men include the likes of GQ editor Dylan Jones, American designer Tom Ford and Elton John's partner David Furnish.

Rapper Tinie Tempah, who has recently launched a fashion range, is also a member.

The Londoner said it had been an honour to talk with The Prince, adding: "It is something I am going to cherish for the rest of my life.

"It seems that there is more attention being to be paid to young British fashion designers and young British musicians these days and I am happy to be a part of that," he added.

Also in attendance was American fashion legend Hilfiger, who said: "HRH is wonderfully charming and intelligent and has a lot of interesting questions about our business and what we are seeing out there.

"Obviously people are complaining about business but we are not, we are very bullish about our growth and our existence."

London Collections: Men, organised by the British Fashion Council, will run until Sunday and will combine shows, presentations, exhibitions, events and digital programming.

Venues are spread out around London and include locations such as the Royal Opera House, Savile Row and Greek Street in Soho.