The lights dimmed as the purr of gossip and chatter drew to a halt. Glossy haired girls fixated their eyes on the catwalk in anticipation, occasionally glancing towards the trophy celebrities adorning the front row. The photographers clicked their cameras into place as fashion’s elite clutched their iPhones, hash-tagging LFW, poised to make or break this collection with a hundred and twenty characters or less. The first bars of the electro soundtrack pounded alongside my heart as I looked around the spacious venue. This is where I had longed to be for eighteen years, day in, day out, and as the first delicate model emerged in a bold, botanical print I sat upright and watched, every little detail was magical and the entire experience surpassed my already sky-high expectations.
London Fashion Week is a mecca for the countless British girls longing to make it in the industry. It is the be all and end all, and I have always seen it as something of a fantasy. The chic sorts who create the glossy magazines we devour every month emerge from their pristine offices, heels clicking fiercely, and descend on Somerset House. They casually pose for the bloggers, hands in pockets, showcasing new season McQueen like it was made for them, before taking their front row seats at the ‘it’ shows, deciding who to make or break.
By some divine miracle, I had ended up among these glamourous creatures, elated and nervous in equal parts. Carefully considered ice blue jeans were my nod to the new season and I held my trophy mini-Mulberry, as if a designer bag might boost my credentials. I am hardly Olivia Palermo, but I secretly hoped for the bloggers to adore my style. A couple of snaps later, one of which was simply of my Panda phone-cover, I felt a less of a misfit. There are aspects of London Fashion Week that are unlike anything else in the world, it is at first uplifting but above all inspiring.
Clueless, a friend and I walked into Somerset House, brandishing LFW Daily and watching the seasoned fashion folk that passed us by. A svelte blonde woman darted past in distressed denim and a zingy fluorescent jacket, my head zapped round, helplessly attracted to neon, and immediately it was clear that this was unknown territory. Used to admiring the London fashion scene from afar, through the window of my laptop, I was used to a much tamer version of fashion, where a dark lipstick is groundbreaking. By contrast, anything goes in London. Sheer palazzo pants are greeted by admiring glances, vivid Katrantzou-esque prints are standard and you could wear a fascinator on the underground without so much as a perplexed stare. It is a place where individuality is welcomed and whole-heartedly embraced. In all sincerity, where could be better?
Fashion Week is where London’s darlings come to flourish. You have the long limbed Alexa Chung brigade wearing what could be their grandmother’s cardigan and grandfather’s slippers, yet still looking unfeasibly stylish. You have the street-style magnets that wear a bare minimum of four trends at once, carefully executed and styled to perfection. Then you have the ones that try too hard, almost clown-like in their attire, yet still they exude the vivacity and fearlessness of London style. They look ridiculous, but fabulously so.
Standing in the queue opposite those holding their invites, one cannot help but feel a little disheartened. A number of us stood shivering, hoping that somebody would have a devastating clash between shows, or that they would encounter a frustrating underground delay forcing them to miss out so we could get in. I just longed to know what it was like, to sit at one of the catwalk shows I would spend hours dissecting, writing out detailed reports that only I would read.
The deceptive February sunshine was little consolation as we stood in the icy shade, waiting to hear our fate. A few everlasting moments later, I could not believe my luck as the tall man standing by the doors ushered us in, the first ten. We navigated through the crowds before finding a gap on the second last bench and taking our seats.
For the lucky ones who frequent fashion week, gliding from Milan to Paris, this undoubtedly sounds silly. The thrill of my first day at fashion week is madness. For them it is stressful, too many shows and too little time. The champagne reception here, the after party there and then there are the droves of budding designers that want to impress them. During fashion week, their time is as sparse as their wardrobes are full. Nevertheless, I envy them. That one day I spent at London Fashion Week, albeit sans invite, was a dream come true, and nothing can compare.
MORE ABOUT MY FIRST LFW HERE.
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