The Non-Fashionista’s Guide
When it comes to fashion, my only experience of it has been through endless repeats of Ab Fab on a Sunday afternoon. In my eyes, it’s all rather subjective. One man’s trash is another man’s treasure and all that. Whereas I think my bright pink trousers are the height of fashion (in context with the rest of my otherwise quite dull wardrobe), others might scoff at this being last year’s trend – if indeed it ever was. Yet there has always been something quite alluring, quite exciting, about the buzz of London Fashion Week. The dark sunglasses of those on the front row, the strained botox-laden smiles of the fashionistas of old, the crazy and daring sculptural attire worn down the runways applauded as the next big look. How very Ab Fab. It’s other-worldly, and quite frankly, all a bit odd. This is precisely why I love it.
That air of exclusivity is what draws some of the world’s biggest names to descend upon London twice a year, as part of the bi-annual well-heeled tour of the Big 4 fashion weeks: Paris, Milan, New York, London. How one obtains that golden ticket to sit on the front row, or even a chair at the back, is the stuff of legends. Luckily for mere mortals like you and I, there are ways in which you can get your fill of frills at this year’s A/W 2018 London Fashion Week.
London Fashion Week Festival [20th – 23rd September]
Yes, there may be a certain kudos attached to being photographed on the front row of a catwalk, but once your eyes have recovered from the plethora of flashbulbs you’re stuck in a dimly-lit room watching a procession of impossibly beautiful men and women parading the latest creations from the drawing boards of some of the globe’s best known brands, with little opportunity to get involved further than the raucous applause at the end. Great, if that’s your bag. If not, then save your best outfit for the London Fashion Week Festival. (Don’t worry, there are still some catwalks involved!)
From the 20th – 23rd September you can peruse the latest collections of over 150 British and international designers at a specially curated pop-up at The Store Studios, 180 The Strand (HQ of the British Fashion Council). Not only can you help the BFC give exposure to some lesser-known brands, you will also get to meet the designers yourself while enjoying the specially discounted wares. Who knows, you might even get a free style consultation out of it.
The Festival is also hosting numerous talks and panel discussions, from ex-British Vogue editor Alexandra Schulimen, to Game of Thrones actor Maisie Williams. You can also sign up for an A/W makeover by the top team at Toni & Guy, have a manicure from House of Lady Muck, or even head to the “ear bar” of Astrid + Miya where they will ‘dress’ your ears with cuffs, or even go so far as to pierce your ears for you. Tickets are from £20-£60, and also include a limited edition tote bag designed by Molly Goddard, winner of the 2018 BFC/Vogue Designer Fashion Fund. Bargain!
There are also plenty of other ways to enjoy fashion’s version of Christmas, while making you sound very ‘in-the-know’ to your friends Throughout 14th – 18th September from 18:00 – 20:30, meet fashion illustrator Jessica Bird in the lobby of The London EDITION hotel, where she will be on hand to create pastel portraits in a 15-minute frenzy of sketching (on a first-come-first-served basis). Looking for a bit of respite? Bumble has teamed up with Charlotte Simone to host The BFF Hub, where you will find fluffy walls, a station to make friendship bracelets, teddy bear photo booths… they are calling this the “friendliest spot at Fashion Week” and they are not wrong. Open only on the 15th and 16th, grab your pals and your best Instagram-worthy outfits and take them to Carousel, 9-1 Short’s. Oh, and it’s free. Happy times.
On Sunday 16th Victoria Beckham will make her first appearance as a designer at LFW, just in time to celebrate her first decade in the industry. What’s more, head to her flagship store from 15:00 where Mrs. Becks will be behind the till selling limited edition 10 Year Anniversary T-shirts. You can also rub shoulders with another fashion icon, Matty Bovan, at his talk discussing his installation at Leeds Pavilion created alongside artists Rory Mullen and Adam Leach. They will focus on the relationship between fashion and performance art, as well as the creative process behind the installation. The event is ticketed, and can be booked here (21st September, 18:30.)
The event to attend that will incite jealousy in anyone you show pictures to is Chubby Cloud; an installation piece by Anya Hindmarch, a humungous white bean bag will take up the floor of the Banqueting House upon which guests – dressed in special rompers – can roll around and relax while enjoying talks by designers, sleep experts, meditation guides, and the odd celebrity reading bedtime stories. Stare up at the beautiful Rubens ceiling while trying not to fall into a gentle slumber. All proceeds from ticket sales support the Historic Royal Palaces, and runs from 14th – 16 September.
Grab those sunglasses, practice your pout, and get yourself down to London Fashion Week. Don’t forget the champagne, dahling.