As I write this, London Fashion Week is just coming to a close.
Fashion is a subject that I return to time and time again. I love it. I used to work in fashion retail, in between veterinary nursing and my degree at agricultural college. An odd mix, I grant you, and one that probably ensures that I will never be on the Front Row at any catwalk show in the near future. That, and the fact that I’m a thirty-five year old woman with two small kids and a 9-5 job doing something completely different. Oh, and despite a wish list as long as my arm, no money to spend.
But as luck would have it, I no longer have to sit on the Front Row to see some of the catwalk shows unfolding before my eyes, at the very same time as the people who were actually invited! The wonders of technology, together with some kind of democratisation of fashion and (whisper it) a desire to be profitable in uncertain economic times have led to live-streaming. Lovely live-streaming, which means that I can sit in bed with a cup of tea, and watch the fashion as it happens. In bed is the new Front Row, as the fabulous @Bettymagazine tweeted to me the other day ( I know, I’m name dropping, I might get a ticket one of these days…)
I’ve spoken before about the speed of the fashion industry being a bit of a pain – and at the moment, I’m still not yet wearing the spring and summer pastel frocks I was promised and I’m already thinking about the clothing I might be wearing in the bloody winter. This is because, despite my protestations that everything needs to just slow down a bit, I am still drawn like a moth to a flame, towards the whole thing.
So, what have I managed to see?
Mulberry: Emma Hill’s show, influenced, as far as I could tell, by ‘Where the Wild Things Are’ (although that might just an indicator of how far my life is removed from what is fashionable) was beautiful. Too much fur for my liking – I would never wear it – but the colours and textures of the tweed and lace pieces were stunning, and I am finding myself thinking even more about how the hell I could wear orange, a colour I love, but which does not love me. Most of the Twitter chat around this show was centred around the new Mulberry bag – the Del Rey – which, named after Lana, is a beautifully classic number which will be available in the Autumn. Seriously, Lana Del Rey has been around for about half an hour and she’s got a Vogue cover and a Mulberry bag? That’s some work…
McQ: Livestreamed via their Facebook page, this was a bit less successful, purely because of the way the formatting had been designed. Having said that, it was still easy enough to see that I want everything in this collection. Suiting reminiscent of the war years in olive green and burgundy, incredible petticoated dresses with floral applique and the most beautiful finale by the bride, Kristen McMenamy, it was shiver-down-the-spine wonderful and felt like Sarah Burton had returned to the McQueen archive, and brought the best of it, with her own twists, to the catwalk again.
Mary Katrantzou: One of my very favourite designers ( I wrote about her prints here) and the toast of the fashion industry with collaborations with both Top Shop and one of my perennial favourites, Longchamp. Now, I’ll say here, that this live streaming was a bit of a nightmare to watch, clashing as it did with the school run (honestly, what were they thinking?) Still, I kind of managed it. And, WOW, was it worth it. For the first time, the Parisian couture embroiderers, Lesage, have worked with a London designer and the addition of this incredible embroidery to the intricate and unique digital prints brought a whole new dimension to her work. An amazing collection and one that cements her position at the very top of the fashion industry.
So, in bed is the new Front Row. It’s been a pleasure to see some of the the Autumn Winter 2012 collections on the catwalk. Now all I need to do is work out how I’m going to afford some of them…