Published on February 21, 2013 | by Henrietta Hitchcock & Jay Elattar1
ALN does London Fashion WeekAs two student journalists that consider wearing a hat to an interview as risqué, our brief to cover London Fashion Week 2013 was something that was slightly beyond us. Howewer, we weren’t going to let our lack of fashion decorum get in our way
We used Google as our best friend to learn the lingo, but more importantly find where designers were hiding, models were pouting and make up artists were keeping their tools.
Our first step to channelling our inner fashion god/goddess was to look the part as you can see in the pictures where we were photographed in Topshop clothes. Our Google skills were up to scratch and we were ready to put our new found skills to the test.
For women, the biker jacket, snakeskin, stripes, neon, checks, ‘90s minimalist tailoring and baggy trousers, slouchy shapes, bare midriff, two-tone, high-slit skirts and the colour white were in.
For men, we found rather worryingly that wooden planks placed across your face, painting your face fully black, bin liner chic and also white and neon were on trend.
A grungy 1990s feel with elements of tartan, knitwear, welded toecap boots and slim fitted tailoring were also in.
The wooden planks alarmed us at first, but yet again we took it in our stride, creating a beautiful headpiece out of the wood we had left in the garage (we’re not made of money). We had never been more ready.
The hunt begins
We arrived in Dalston early on a Wednesday because this is where all the up–and–coming designers are based nowadays.
As we strolled towards Christopher Kane’s office we panicked slightly. We had our questions but we knew there would be a daunting buzzer system and we were not sure what we would say to the person on the other end.
It turns out that no one answers the buzzer in the fashion world, because we rang every single one and stood there like fools for ten minutes.
The next thing we knew, Teresio Blanchetti, sales manager for Christopher Kane, stood in front of us – and he was not a happy man.
“We do not do meetings like this. Send an email.” He pushed the door to his trendy Dalston studio shut and that was it. On to the next.
“The words ‘fabulous’ and ‘amazing’ are used like they are going out of fashion – pun intended”
J.W. Anderson was easier to get into, as it turned out to be a casting day for London Fashion Week. We were sent from one door to another a fair few times, and were looked up and down by trendy – albeit painfully skinny people.
But we finally – and very accidentally – gained access to the studio alongside a lovely intern who obviously had mistaken us for someone important. In we strolled, but no sooner had we stepped in did the penny drop that we were student journalists with no appointment.
The intern looked like she was going to break down in tears, and sent someone else to deal with us. We felt a bit guilty, but it didn’t get in the way of making us feel worse about not meeting another designer – just receiving another email address.
Henry Holland was next on the list, but it was getting late. By the time we reached his studio, we were tired and it was dark. This was the first one to actually have his name on the buzzer and we were ecstatic.
In we went, and up the stairs, only to discover that they were packing up for the day and yet again, asked us to just send an email. To this day, we haven’t received any replies.
Outsiders on LFW’s insideThere are some expectations that London Fashion Week lives up to. The words ‘fabulous’ and ‘amazing’ are used like they are going out of fashion – pun intended – and kisses on the cheek float in the nothingness between one person’s lips and another’s face, drifting off into the ether like Chinese lanterns. Fierce cheekbones are everywhere. Watch out or you may cut yourself on them.
A fine blend of cliques and clichés, walking into Somerset House was like stepping onto a highly disorganised catwalk. It was as if someone had taken Vogue, i-D, and a blind selection of Topshop items and smacked them all together until something came out at the end. All the while, atmospheric music played through speakers, creating an ambience perfect for posing.
Groups of no less than three were stood around the courtyard all desperately hoping that one of the plethora of fashion bloggers would ask to take a photograph of their two-tone blazers and neon trainers.
When said groups were not busy being snapped, they were taking shots of themselves on their iPhones or iPads – two of the fashionista’s best friends. Watching them try to avoid the dreaded self-shot ‘arm-in-the-photo-so-you-know-it-was-taken-by-me’ look seemed troublesome for most, seeing as they were attempting to fit too many people into the image.
And my goodness, the joy that spread across their faces when someone offered to take the photo for them – now their hands were free to ‘casually’ place on a hip or make a peace sign. It must be tough being so trendy.
Conversations at London Fashion Week are enthralling. When standing in a queue for the Eudon Choi show, I overheard the people behind me discussing their plans for a show later in the week. Talking about what to start with prompted one woman to explain that “snakeskin shoes just aren’t outrageous enough for our opening,” a point that her friends passionately agreed with.
“Who are you wearing?” was one of the more absurd sentences. Yes, it is a stock phrase in the fashion world, but that does not make it any less ridiculous. People wearing people? That would land you in some sort of prison, surely?
The art of nothingThere were some very well dressed individuals, most of whom wore all black. However, we saw two women that stuck in our minds, the former for her unrivalled vision and flair, and the latter for ironic reasons. The first was sporting triple denim. You read that correctly: triple denim.
Part one was a pair of skinny denim jeans. Part two was the denim shirt. These were to be expected, though. The last component was by far the most daring – a pair of denim jeans being worn as a headscarf. Sunglasses were non-negotiable, and the look was topped off by almost comically oversized shades that ended at her pursed lips.
Woman number two was walking down a set of stairs in a black shirt with white writing on it. The shirt read, “L’art de rien,” which in English means, ‘the art of nothing.’
This seemed to sum up London Fashion Week – it was the height of pointlessness.
This conclusion may have been affected by having to queue for what seemed like days in a line that moved no more than a centimetre at a time, but the observation still stands.
Having spent a while absorbing everything and trying to make sense of it all, we couldn’t tell if this woman was aware of the irony that her shirt lent itself to, or if she in fact did and was wearing it ironically.
It was impossible to tell how sentient she was as she breezed through like a stylish apparition, looking into the distance as she went.
Fashionistas are not made for queuing, darling. Or at least they don’t queue well.
It took near on an hour and a half to get into Choi’s show – the term ‘fashionably late’ never felt more apt – which lasted just over nine minutes. Apparently, this was to be a ‘presentation’ and as such was not referred to as a ‘show’, but what is the difference?
Once in the room, seating was allocated, meaning that the mere mortals had to stand around the sides of the room, jostling for space so that they could see the clothes.
We sat down at the back to take notes and no sooner had we done so than we were lost behind a sea of photographers and videographers. If Grazia style director Paula Reed felt as if journalists would “end up looking at a couture show through a blogger’s hat,” at least she gets a seat.
“The idea of George Orwell’s dystopian Nineteen Eighty Four has never looked so chic”
The presentation itself was actually very impressive and went halfway to dispelling the myth that anything seen on a catwalk could never be worn in real life.
The dresses were stylish and the shoes were beautiful, but the same can’t be said about the headwear. Most of the hats looked like art installations more than fashion and although this didn’t detract from how good they looked, it robbed them of any day-to-day functionality.
This wasn’t as bothersome as the models’ facial expressions, or lack thereof.
The ‘vacuous’ look was ever-present, which prompted two questions: do models have feelings? Or do they just look so vacant because they are trying to concentrate on walking in heels slimmer than their Vogue cigarettes? Either way, the idea of George Orwell’s dystopian Nineteen Eighty Four has never looked so chic.