Hi guys, I'm back in Sweden! The next time I go home I'll be all packed up and leaving for good! That will be my thirteenth flight?! Ah I'm a bit superstitions about that now and also quite guilty of my carbon footprint! I got back to a broken sink and anonymous tightie whities in the shower so it isn't looking up!
I must wrap up London as I have to get onto the other fashion weeks and then go back to September to see what we want to wear this season, so confusing! I warn you, this is loooong, maybe one for weekend reading! I left off when Aminaka Wilmont had just finished, one half of the design duo an alumni of my Uni in Borås! I was walking out in the slow but pushy crowd and ended up standing next to the lady I'd spoke to outside with the cool hat. I feel a bit stupid actually talking about fashion shows because I only ever read or write about them, so when it comes to a discussion it feels quite strange and clique to point out the direction or pick out details. Just showing that fashion people are very nice and it helps to be friendly back, the lady, whose name was Hazel I believe, said she had a show clash later in the day with Bora Aksu and offered me a ticket to an On|Off show! How kind! More on that later. By now it was nearing 2pm as the show had started late, and I walked out onto the fashion packed street towards Freemasons' Hall. As I was crossing the street, I noticed the girl next to me and she recognised me from here! I knew I recognised the swish of long, dark hair and behind super cool Alex Wang style glasses was Natalie of Canned Fashion. I knew her too despite just starting to read the newish blog (among the other daily 300) as it's really great! You know some blog that are just the kind you like to read and reinforce that there's always fresh inspiration out there; check out her amazing collection of colourful coats and even a hair scrunchie or two, woah! We had a quick chat and she introduced me to her gorgeous friend Georgia who I think is a model but I had to dash off, argh what a shame! Next time I'm reserving ten hours of free time!
This might have been time to change into flats but as you're walking through fashion week, that's when you need to wear your heels! If I was seated at shows it would have been OK but standing for hours on end was taking it's toll. I could feel my knees wobbling as I navigated the uneven London pavements, but Freemasons' Hall was quite close thanks to Natalie and Georgia's helpful directions- right at Starbucks FYI! It's quite a shame that I can recall information like that from two weeks ago but nothing of the lecture I had earlier!
There was already a big crowd outside, expanding then crushing up as lorries tried to squeeze down the narrow side street. I waited for about fifteen minutes before edging close enough to see people with invites were allowed to push inside. Luckily I had one, although they spelt my name wrong!
If you're an X Factor viewer then hiii, I totally watched even from Sweden. But to the point, remember when Cheryl wore that black dress with the two huge embellished circular curves protruding at the front? Beyonce wore one too at the MTV awards where she fabulously said 'I just want to thank Jay... for putting a ring on it' upon winning an award for single ladies. Well that's David Koma! Refresh your memory here. Celebrities wearing designs made it much more prominent in my mind than if I'd previously just looked at catwalk images, as they bring the clothes from art to reality, and Cheryl and Beyonce are both curvaceous women so his designs are very cool and also clever. A Central St Martins graduate too, David Koma had a lot of people at his show, and by my eavesdropping they seemed important! I was so thankful to be let straight into the show but then you were faced with just another wait in a hall. I have no idea what happened to people through all the rain later in the fashion week, were they let in earlier? My feet were really, reeeally starting to ache now. The pressure on my knees was painful too and the shoes are really high so it's hard to balance your weight. I'd just been pavement stomping and now standing still with a heavy bag on my arm made the pain jump up a level to 'uncomfortable with hints of tiny daggers.'
As exciting as the first time, I spotted Susie Bubble in front through the crowd! She was in a group so I couldn't really barge through the queue and throw myself into the circle but it was very cool. The ladies next to me were jabbing away at Blackberries and one mentioned Avril Mair, who is a fashion editor at Elle, so maybe they were Elle members too! Would you be excited too? I know it wouldn't really wow people if I said I stood next to some of the Elle team but these are the women sending out a magazine to thousands and thousands of people and forming fashion culture, so quite important really!
About an hour passed and I was starting to wonder whether being at fashion week for about four hours was worth it for only ten minutes of relevant show time. It's not a lot when you add it up! Was it worth getting the very first glimpse of the show when it will be online so soon afterwards, and in some cases broadcast live online anyway! I never thought this in Copenhagen as the whole experience of the lavish shows and settings felt like it could never be experienced fully otherwise. But the shows I saw in London had paired down sets and were much smaller. Maybe my purpose would have been better if I could have got some good photos or better footage to offer you. As I was standing, I didn't have any information about the show and couldn't take clear pictures or see the shoes or details. This isn't a complaint as I know the show is hardly dependent on whether little me gets a decent photo of a shoe, but I had to have a bit of a think on how I would document the shows. As you can see I decided on retelling the whole experience at great, long-winded lengths!
I wasn't quite at the front of the crowd when the queue fiiinally got moving, but I walked around the catwalk again to stand at the front corner. This way you can see the models right away so have more time to digest the outfit, so you don't miss a great look. I also like to see the models wait at the sides of the catwalk before they walk out and see their faces, but mostly they came straight out from the back. I put my bag on the floor in front of me and saw that directly opposite on the front row facing me was Susie Bubble! After a seconds doubt I thought yes, this is my chance to meet Susie, and I went to walk around the benches to the right, but just as I said excuse me to get past one of the organisers, another lady beat me to it! She sat next to Susie who had previously sat alone, the perfect meeting time, and Susie put her hands to her face in a cute little gasp, so I guessed the lady was quite important! Therefore I refrained from barging in and vowed to wait until the show finished.
Again the lights went down, the music jumped to a start, and the first model stepped out. Everyone sits up to attention and cranes their necks, it's so cool! You know when you're in a cinema sometimes and you get distracted by the people around you for a minute and totally loose the film because you realise you're in a massive dark room with everyone staring at the same thing, totally absorbed? Well a fashion show is just the same, and as my view wasn't great and I didn't have my glasses or um, binoculars (must put on the list for next time haha), I couldn't really get much from the clothes until seeing the online pictures. It also felt very surreal to be at an actual show with everyone having a look on their face like they're really considering and pondering each look. It's quite funny! I got distracted a lot by looking at the crowd reaction.
A bit stalkerish (again, I apologise!!), but you can see Susie in the photo above! As for the collection, it was all teeth. Thick, muggy nudes cut into sharp zigzags on moulded or bandage dresses came out, with now signature boulder curves at the hips. I'm hankering after a dress with boulder hips now as I've never seen anything structural enough on the high-street. I couldn't put my finger on it but I felt like I'd seen the collection before. Funnily enough when I was in Starbucks a bit later I heard two ladies talking about the show and comparing it directly to another designer, but I don't remember who; any ideas? Even so, creating dresses like this that are protective enough to hide flesh but still enhance curves, and grab the eye but with safe colours, are bound to be picked up by lots of women.
At the end of the show, which went by in an absolute blur, I made a dash for the front row but Susie was heading backstage, nooo! Ah well, maybe next year! We will meet one day I'm sure. For now, I had other priorities, mostly being my legs which were bidding a sad farewell to my feet. We had reached the 'crippled yet heated' phase, where the burn of pain was reaching all areas. I marched outside and past the main entrance of Freemason's Hall where another show was about to start, and a guy stopped me to ask if he could take a snap of my shoes. Why not! These shoes are my proudest moment. I asked what the photo was for and he said he was a blogger. As I said before, this happened a couple of times, how people would ask you about blogs or say they blogged and you'd be like 'oh, I'm actually a blogger!' But I kind of feel like an OAP of the blogging world and look upon all the new kids like young whipper snappers. It made me realise again how I let this blog sail along on it's merry little journey of fate, whereas this blogger had business cards and everything. Here's me three years down the line and I'm barely scraping the corner of fashion week. I have no time for blog promotion, I only just have time to blog! Hehe I stole the snap, check out the original source and blog The Very Simon G for the post. And shout out to a commenter who spotted the snap too!
Just as I went off, I met another blogger!! Cat (or maybe spelled Kat!) of hippyhippychic! I knew her blog from the name but visiting later I'd definitely checked it before. And I'm happy to say it is almost as cute as the owner! I don't want to be patronising but Cat was the youngest person I saw and was so fun to talk to, when I'm writing my posts I always imagine teen girls reading them, I don't know why! We should have got a photo really, bad bloggers! I was acting a bit loony all over fashion week as a) I was super happy and flattered when someone recognised me and I could actually talk to someone after hours of stony silence, and b) the shoe pain was going to my brain! I hobbled off and bought the biggest hot chocolate in Starbucks, where I spotted Saga, the photographer of the blog Never Ending Story and friend of Gala Gonzalez. I do people-watch but only from afar so I didn't check everyone out in Starbucks before or I might have said hello! I only saw her from behind my gigantic mug as she walked out, and even then I was perched on the corner of someone else's table because the little shop was full, and mostly with fashion people! I knew I couldn't take my shoes off because putting them on again would be hell and I was feeling the burn even sitting down, so I started putting a little cocoa butter down the sides to possibly ease the feeling, but that just made me more conscious of every. painful. step. Ah I forgot the best thing! My Mom had made me some egg mayo sandwiches and wrapped them in foil, so all day I was strutting round with a packed lunch from my Mom, haha how uncool! I was wanting to whip them out but it wasn't the time or place, so I got to my feet (ouch) and went off back to Victoria House to crash the free ticket show. Then it struck me: Boots (the drugstore)! Oh how I love thee.
Indeed! I grabbed some heel cushions and a lady let me sit on a stool behind the counter to put then in, yay! But HORROR of HORRORS struck. My shoes broke again!!! Nooooo! As I lifted my foot up one of the curls knocked against the stool and it snapped. As if they sell £350 shoes with plastic curls? Couldn't they just be metal! Thankfully if they were to snap at any point in the day, I'm glad it was then as I've kept the little piece; it's the smaller curl at the bottom so I'll glue it back on, and even though there'll be a split, hopefully from head height you won't be able to notice! But still, aaargh!!
As I walked out the shop I said I silent thank you to the heavens as the relief was immense! Finally I could walk again! Sure it was still like walking on spiked stilts but it was ten million times better. Everyone else was walking in killer heels so I'd love to see their pain! But really, those are the people who have the cars driving them to each show! I went back to Victoria House and had to walk through the OnOff exhibitions to get to the show. All the designs seemed to blend into one now as they're all structural, moulded, ruffled, and textured. Like was the demise of Luella really a sign that no one wants bows and froufrou anymore? Well I do! And Luella was the example of how you can be girly and fashion forward. We need a new example pronto! Or someone please back Luella!
I technically crashed this show as the invite wasn't mine, but I think if it had gone differently this might have been my favourite show! That was if I hadn't died a shoe related death! The basements of Victoria House was all white washed walls and different turn-offs, so the queue for the Ashley Isham show was just around a corner in a long, white hall with a low ceiling. I joined the third queue for standing tickets against one wall and was about twenty minutes early. BIG mistake! Fifteen minutes went by and my feet were about to fall off. The mixture of them being so high meaning all your pressure is on small parts, and then my knees and legs were so tired too. Half an hour went by and I couldn't find a position to stand that helped my swollen feet. You're probably thinking OK it is a bit stupid to wear high heels and not expect pain, but I did wear them to a Girls Aloud concert and an after club and they were fine! It's because of all the standing, literally hours and hours of standing still and then walking and then standing for another hour and a half and then walking again. Also I didn't want to be a baby and just thought five more minutes and they'll let us in... OK ten more minutes... this show was the worst though! After forty five minutes the queues were so long and thick that it was basically a crowd. This was annoying to the people like me who'd queued orderly and quietly for ages, and people kept pushing through and soon the queues had no meaning. The organisers kept coming back and forth and letting one person round the corner and placing some people in certain queues and soon people were just pushing themselves beside you. After an hour they were letting in a few people but our 'queue' wasn't going anywhere. I didn't even care that much when Jodie Harsh pushed past, although I wouldn't mind some of that pink hair.
The people all around were getting a bit annoyed and there was a couple infront with total PDA issues haha! But then the girl behind me said something and we got chatting. If that hadn't happened I might have left, the show was never going to start!! She was really nice and a Chelsea graduate so we talked about school and other shows, and she was quite interested in blogging. She had great shoes too! I guess it's really hard to get into blogging nowadays but think of all the great blogs that have sprung up recently; as long as you have the passion it will be easy!! Finally, fiiiiiiiinally they started letting people into the shows and it seems there was no queuing system anymore, it was just file people in as orderly and quickly as possible. We literally walked in and stood where we were about a metre in. By this point it was not comfortable show viewing. Yet the show was amazing, from the music to the backdrop to the models, all were something flamboyant and energetic and fun; it wasn't trying hard to be new or cool, it just was!
In these photos I'm holding my camera up high as I was a few rows deep standing, so you had to crane your neck to see anything. Each look was so different that I couldn't follow the show as I had such a bad view.
Sophie Anderson on the front row...
At one point a ripple went through the crowd as a model seemed to loose her footing or her shoes. She was on her way back down the runway and the last girl, so all eyes were on her as she slowed right down and was taking one baby step at a time, as though dragging along a shoe. I couldn't see the malfunction but everyone was willing her down the runway and on the final walk, the designer came out arm in arm with the model and gave her a big hug and cheer!
I said goodbye to the girl I'd met, she was really fab, and finally had chance to change my shoes! I just sat on one of the benches as people were leaving and whipped them off. So good!!!! I still had to tread very slowly and softly at first but it was soooo nice!! By now it was about 6pm and getting dark outside. I was heading to my friend's later and wasn't sure if I'd be back or make it the next day, so I had a break in a coffee shop and ate my egg sandwiches (hahaha) and bought some more plasters from Boots. These were the real deal as I actually put my shoes on again!!! I'm not really crazy or a masochist, just once I used up ten plasters so basically covered my whole foot and had a break, they hurt so much anyway that I could barely feel them anymore! And I was only at fashion week once so I had to wear the shoes in Somerset House.
The area was very quiet now with only a few people still milling around. I actually went back to the press desk because earlier they'd given me a bag but not a pass. Finally I got one with my name on it, so cool! I wore it with pride! I was scanned into an exhibition, which all in all was a bit strange. It's hard to browse designers you have no affiliation with, but I think late in the day is the best time to go as you can talk to the team at each display. It's a very valuable experience for a Textile student like me, but I wasn't out to network!
The first rooms I went in were mainly accessories. This back room with the bags below was totally empty and as I walked in about five people were like 'hiii!'. I guess they don't know who you are at first and are really keen to showcase their brand, so everyone was very friendly, and it was like in a boutique where they leave you to browse for a moment and when you look interested they start selling. I was just browsing and none of it was really my style, but lots of people started talking and telling me about their collections. One lady at the Stephen Jones display was like 'Flying Saucer????? What's that then?' in the way adults talk to children loudly, because it was on my press pass. I wonder what would have happened if I'd got to wear it all day. One man started talking to me (starting with a compliment, most of them do!) and telling me enthusiastically about his stand and making comments about fashion week, and then when I was replying his eyes just glazed over and he wasn't even listening. Sales are a strange thing!
It was really getting late now but I wanted to squeeze the last drops out, so I asked a steward where she recommended and she said to go downstairs in the lift to the designer exhibition. And it turns out this was where all the Scandinavian designers were!!! I was in my element! I wandered round hearing titbits from the designers, and it was a really calm, cool environment because the day was winding down and it was pretty empty. The designers must have been knackered after selling all day!
I met part of the Kron Kron design team, a super cool Icelandic guy. Style Bubble has featured this brand quite a lot if you remember?
Cool Opening Ceremony boots.
I was wandering along and I spotted the Minimarket display!!! I was so excited, I told the girls there that I'd saw the show in Copenhagen the week before and it really blew me away, it was incredible! Sadly the shoes weren't arriving until the next day, worse luck!!! But they had the thigh high yellow suede boots, remember them from my show coverage by any chance? I also had a looong sit down and fab chat with the Wackerhaus people, a show I couldn't fit into my Copenhagen Fashion Week. I wish I could have gone back and really investigated each brand, every one had so much to offer and deserved a lot more time. Sadly it was 7pm and announcements were ringing out saying LFW was closing.
And that was the end of my fashion week! Oh no wait! As I walked out of the exhibitions and was walking around the big tent in the middle of the Somerset House courtyard, I saw Hilary Alexander and friend being directed to the toilets. Claim to fame!! Maybe I should have followed her in... yeah maybe not the best idea!
If you're wondering, yes I was still walking around in my shoes! It was the last leg and I love them so much and never get chance to wear them, so I just battled it out. I nearly fell down all the stairs because my legs physically couldn't bear the strain anymore but I'm a tough cookie. And that night I went out in different heels! Do you watch the amazing programme Snog, Marry, Avoid? My friend's housemate's friend was on the show and we went out with her, she was amazing!! Her friend was there too and they are both strippers so it was a wild and crazy night, and quite an eye opener. I don't condone it but they were absolutely loaded and partied away while their LV and YSL clutches were left on the label across the club!