It’s that time of year again. Fashion Week rolls around, we dust off our gladrags, wear heels all day pretending we’re not in agony and burn the Jo Malone candle at both ends. It’s a week where nothing is ever too much and excess is celebrated. Where pageantry or ‘peacocking’ as Suzy Menkes calls it, is rife. Where we play dress up and indulge in sartorial contradictions, we speak in sound bites and exist in a bubble, where we cautioulsy navigatie the cobblestones and bask in the glory of ridiculous creative brilliance. Seriously, what’s not to love?!
Twice a year it happens but it still takes me by surprise every time; I feel like an extra from Clueless, or maybe it’s Mean Girls. I revert back to a teenage version of myself, over-enthusiastic and wide-eyed but with a general undertone of awkward. Navigating the front row requires finesse, strategy but mostly a sense of humour. People get ‘VERY EXCITED!’-both those sitting and those doing the seating. Trying to play politics with the fashion elite, magazine editors, A-list actors and Harry Styles can be a challenge on a Saturday especially after opening night parties. But London Fashion Week is special so it’s worth sharpening the elbows and getting involved. Here’s how it’s been so far…
My first stop was Daks, it was made for loaded birds who live in the French Riviera but I suddenly feel my life won’t be complete until I get a leather turban. The Antipodium presentation proved you don’t need a monster budget to put on a good show once you’ve got revolving pedestals and holographic lame. A strong Lolita vibe with bra tops, sorbet florals, lilac and powder blue embellished suede and faded rainbow knits made it my favourite collection in donkeys. Next was Holly Fulton with her usual array of art-deco, graphic prints and giant jewellery with some notable additions in the form of logo sweaters, a tinsel coat (obsessed) and a cropped bomber jacket made from cork! If Jane Fonda was a Malibu Barbie this would be her dream wardrobe. John Rocha was as ethereal and wonderful as always with sculpted silhouettes featuring prints for the first time in forever. Full skirted appliqued and lace dresses were juxtaposed with chunky leather shoes and couture baseball caps made from acetate.
I always adore the ridiculous excess at Ashish and this season was no exception. Apart from the inside out odd sock situation it was kind of brilliant, made better by the presence of Paloma Faith in a floor length sequin gown doing laps. I’ll be pre-ordering an “S&M” or “Disco” shopping bag. Genius.
Henry Holland was as hectic as ever with Alexa, Pixie, Kelly Osbourne, Grimmy and Harry Styles in tow. The show itself was inspired by “a trip to a balmy Mexico City by way of the tattoo parlours of Venice beach”, it was fun and sexy as always but the hand-painted key and phone holsters proved that Holland is ace at selling us things we didn’t even know we needed.
After a raucous night at the W party held at Edition Hotel, Margaret Howell’s quintessentially British show is the only thing that could get me out of bed. Well that and a Bloody Mary at the Smythson presentation in the Bond St store. The fact that Anna Wintour photobombed me (or was it the other way around?) made this a memorable morning.
Topshop Unique with it’s grass catwalk, a-list Frow and Ibizan dream theme was a winner and provided welcome relief from the downpour not to mention food and booze which is thin on the ground. Sophia Webster’s presentation in a custom designed, flower-filled garden was magical with Katy B singing live and models acting out scenes while lounging on beds and chatting on the phone. Sounds porn-y, it was anything but.
I finished the day off with Paul Smith in an old granary building behind King’s Cross Station. He stuck to what he does best; cool elegant matching suits in vivid colours ranging from clean white and bright blue to sunshine yellow. His smiling face made even the sternest fashion editors melt as everyone cheered while he ran down the extremely long slate runway. Finishing at the Belstaff shindig where Mr David Beckham was the guest of honour as he was announced global face of the brand. Dressed head-to-toe in leather women and men alike were swooning. It may not be high fashion but Golden Balls is still very much on trend.