I haven’t attended one of the ‘big’ international fashion weeks for quite some time – they sound awfully glamourous but after a couple of years on the circuit, it all gets a bit much – but a recent invitation to London Fashion Week made me think, ‘why not?’, it would be good to see what had changed; and what hadn’t.
Photos from London Fashion Week via my iPhone ... sorry for the fuzziness!
The last time I visited London Fashion Week was before the resurgent ‘Cool Britannia’ group of fashion designers like Peter Pilotto, Mary Katrantzou and JW Anderson had stormed their way into the hearts, minds and pages of the international fashion mafia (oops, I mean ‘media’).
I was hoping to see awesome, fashion-forward collections, insane street style and catch a few emerging designers who would go on to be the “next-big-thing”.
Were my hopes fulfilled? Not entirely; but I certainly experienced a London Fashion Week that has become much more similar to the other “big three”; New York, Milan and Paris.
So, what were my five “take aways” from London Fashion Week? The five things that stood out, that remain in my brain?
1. Everyone is a photographer but no one has manners
Bloggers and social media have become the “queens” of the fashion weeks since the last time I attended one. Gone are the days when only accredited photographers from big publications had permission to wave cameras in your face; now everyone snaps away on everything from professional looking jobs to their smartphone … and they have no manners at all.
The professionals will tell you who they are; hand you a card and ask for the details of your outfit. The amateurs will sneak up behind you while you’re chatting and snap away without a single word. I almost stepped on one girl who was hunkered down at my feet snapping away at my Jeremy Scott x adidas sneakers!
People wanted to photograph my hair, my backpack, my shoes … and not a single one told me who they were or where the images were going to end up; the only person who gave me a card was the lovely lady from Getty images – a professional all the way.
2. The crazier you look, the more likely you are to be photographed
Despite having purple hair and amazing shoes I was hardly photographed at all really; not compared to some of the other attendees, like the girl wearing an enormous plastic cat head!
Yes, she covered her entire head with this cat thing … it didn’t matter a jot what she was wearing on the rest of her; it was all about the cat head (pictured above right).
Others seemed to be wearing the ugliest item they could find in the bottom of the local second-hand bin; the aim was not to look fashionable or attractive, it was all about standing-out. In fact, the uglier you looked, the better.
3. If you walk around with Daniel Boey you’ll spend a lot of time watching him be photographed :)
Singapore’s godfather of fashion Daniel Boey attended London Fashion Week this year too, and since his stint on Asia’s Next Top Model has become something of a fashion celebrity; much to his own surprise and mortification.
Between entering the gates of Somerset House, the central point for LFW, to reaching the far side of the courtyard we were stopped no fewer than eleven times at one point (pictured above left & centre).
It helps, of course, that Daniel is a consummate fashionista and dresses to impress. He wore a lot of British-Singapore label BodyBound as well as Diamond Walker boots, another Singapore label, and various bits and pieces from other Singapore or Asian designers.
But the thing that surprised him the most were all the bloggers who had somehow seen the TV show and wanted to have personal photos taken with him; he was well chuffed, as they say in the UK.
4. Burberry is friendly
One of the main reasons I was in London was to see the Burberry Prorsum Autumn Winter 2013 runway show in the “tent” next to the Albert Memorial in Hyde Park; how much more English can you get?
The collection was perfectly Burberry under the assured direction of the brand’s chief creative officer Christopher Bailey, but what really stood out was that despite being the biggest show of the LFW schedule – we’re talking about 1,500 guests, many of whom were superstars in their own right – the staff were absolutely lovely.
Sure, there was security to make sure only those with invites got to enter the tent, but it was done in such a friendly, dare I say gentlemanly, way. There were no fights over who was sitting where, in fact the enormous space meant that most everyone had a good view even if they weren’t front row, and stars, editors and various Burberry people all gleefully greeted each other milling around on the runway before the show (pictured above left & centre).
Afterwards we got to slip backstage to watch Christopher Bailey be mobbed by cameras and well-wishers, while the top models of the season who walked the show – Karlie Kloss, Jourdan Dunn and Cara Delevingne – slipped into their civies. The girls very kindly took photos with fans and Jourdan graciously told me how comfortable the Burberry shoes were when I asked; so friendly! (pictured above right)
On top of that, when we left the tent and went hunting for our car – again thoughtfully provided by the Burberry Singapore team – we were helped out by a very friendly, and kind of cute, Burberry security guy who tracked down our car, personally showed us where it was and then made sure it wouldn’t be made to leave the holding area until we were all inside it. He was super nice; and did I say cute?
5. Mulberry does great food
Another reason I was in London was to see the Mulberry Autumn Winter 2013 show held in Claridge’s Hotel Ballroom, complete with enormous butterfly decorations and hands-down the best food of the week. Actually, come to think of it, Mulberry seemed to be the only one who did food for the hoi-polloi.
There were savoury muffins and old-fashioned ‘pop’ made from elderflowers and blackberries; a perfect tie-in to the collection’s “English hedgerow” theme of botanical prints, butterflies and flowers. Surprisingly enough, I actually saw real, live, fashion editors eating these muffins! Not a common site at any fashion week.
I had a fabulous time this year at London Fashion Week, despite the freezing cold temperatures … Oh, that’s another thing I should have added to my list of things I learnt at LFW – if you’ve got half a brain it doesn’t matter what you look like standing in line for a show; wear your warmest coat!