Don't you hate the term "round up" not only does it imply we have attended some hideous rodeo but it also means something has come to an end. The latter is true with London Fashion Week done and dusted two weeks ago. Milan has also rocketed by and we are just left with Paris as is the status quo every 6 months. So before my mind is frosted with the delights of the French fashion houses I'll bring you my views from the catwalk side seats, they were great seats to which I am indebted to my wonderful Fashion Director Tilly Hardy at TWENTY6 Magazine.
Fashion Week is a spectacle in itself without even considering the actual shows. The wonderfully dressed buyers, editors and their assistants parade through the majestic setting of Somerset House with resplendence. Bloggers, photographers and fanatics, snap photos of their favourite and most bizarre street style muses, conduct interviews or just gawp in sheer fascination. The action taking place outside the show spaces is as eagerly anticipated as the creations London's premier womenswear designers send down the runway on the backs of the world's most beautiful walking coat hangars.
|The sun shining on Somerset House|
I was wearing some rather exciting pieces from the graduate collection of Hong Kong designer Jean Chan which drew significant attention. There are many critics of fashion show attendees dressing for peacock-purposes, making a spectacle to claw scraps of publicity for themselves. And whilst there are those who undoubtedly fit this profile, it is actually rather splendid to see the creativity and expression of some people. Additionally, being so highly publicised the event provides an excellent platform to endorse new talent. I was wearing Jean's clothes to promote him, the side effect of having my photo taken a lot did incur a small dose of childish glee at being centre of attention (I'm only human) but that was not my intention when I got dressed in the morning. Jean's brand image was spread directly as a result and I would do it again in an instant.
|A Jean Chan Look|
The shows run back to back and it is impossible to see every designer but those that have been missed can generally be seen online later. I spent my days jumping between venues, the majority of shows being split between Somerset House and Freemason's Hall, which involved a speedy run up Drury Lane to the amusement of theatre goers. Queuing for the shows takes as long as it takes. Fashion shows notoriously start late, in fact it is surprising to start on time and once the show begins it is all over within 10 minutes.
A disembodied voice hushes the crowd, the music begins and the lights flare to the point of retinal pain and judgement begins. Phones and iPads aloft the show is instantly scrutinised, ultimately the clothes yes, but also the models, the music, the make-up, the hair. Does it fit? Does it all come together? Why is she walking funny? What fabric is that? Is that blue or purple? That's crap! That's nice but unwearable, good for a shoot though!
All the above and more runs through my mind as the show goes on. The final walk through of all the models is concluded with the designers bow and boom, the show is over and cue stamped for the exits. If there is time I race to the nearest wifi spot and type up my review. From the media's perspective whoever can get their review up the fastest wins.
Naturally the shows varied in quality, some I adored such as knitwear specialist Mark Fast (see below) whose garments involved thousands of knitted ostrich feathers dyed fuchsia and black. Set on the roof of the ME Hotel, the panoramic views and natural beaming sunshine (the weather that day was a real godsend) came together in the intimate location making the small collection of 10 highly intricate garments radiate from the runway.
Some shows did not live up to expectation and understandably there is bound to be the odd model trip and not everyone can afford top calibre models, but seeing labels on the bottoms of shoes or seeing an unfinished hemline is inexcusable when you are presenting yourself as the height of luxury fashion. Plus top model or not it aggrieves me to see a model walking like Bambi. Walking in heels is a big part of your job, you get paid to do it, so learn! I'll teach you if necessary!
|Learn to walk in these or go home! Amazing platform pumps at Runway Collective|
Is that CRISTO CLEAR?
ps. for all my individual show reviews please see the TWENTY6 Magazine blog, they are all linked by #CristoJohns