September 28, 2013

Hats Off to London Fashion Weekend

             London Fashion Week’s little sister, London Fashion Weekend, does not baulk in the face of its mightier predecessor. As we disembark from London Fashion Week, London Fashion Weekend offers something all of its own. Somerset House dedicates a weekend every September and February to host the massive event. Somerset House is worthy of a visit itself, with its guided tours, art exhibitions, and open-air concerts and films. This was my second year attending London Fashion Weekend and its popularity has only grown since then. 

             Whereas the space around me was maneuverable last September, this year I found myself lumped in with hoards of people, attempting to inch my way along clothing racks. I didn’t mind being squashed up against a particularly luxurious crimson fur coat, but almost as soon as my covetous fingers had stroked it, I was swept up in the fashion mob. As they say, if you can’t beat them, join them, and that is exactly what I did.

             There are a variety of ticket options available, so personal preference plays a factor in what you gain from the experience. My friends and I purchased tickets by the name of “Shop & The Lot (Trend),” which granted us shopping access and the opportunity to attend the trend catwalk show. The designer option is also available. We additionally picked up our tote bags. While ours were included in the price of our ticket, the totes were also offered at 10 pounds on site. Compared to Mulberry’s sultry slate gray of last year, the Sister by Sibling design for this year dazzles with highlighter bright lime green, black, white, and gray leopard spots. Their bubblegum pink namesake is emblazoned on the back, sealed with a playful kiss. 

             The goodies inside the tote included Lavazza Qualità Rossa Coffee, Kusmi Imperial Label Tea, Beauty Candy Raspberry Candies in the shape of little bears packed with collagen, vitamin D, B6, and folic acid, tantalizing blue Maybelline Volum’ Express Color Shock mascara, Maybelline Color Show Vintage Leather nail polish in Red Grained, and Sea Salt Spray, which I highly recommend, and Curl Spray, which I am yet to try, from hair care line Label.m. 

             Before the scheduled catwalk, my friends and I decided to browse the designer stalls, where we were inundated with clothes, accessories, jewelry, and shoes. Floor upon floor inside Somerset House offered tempting one-off pieces and fashionable merchandise, usually at reduced prices. As I mentioned earlier, the place was packed, so we had to be hasty in our shopping. Perhaps it was for the best, as I am sure we would have come away with a lot more bags than we did. We spent a substantial amount of time browsing the jewelry section, where a dainty, unusual gold spider bracelet caught my eye.

Trying on Vintage Fur Company fur head wraps
             A piece of work created by Rachel Entwistle, the eight-legged creature is sterling silver with 18ct yellow gold plating. A sapphire gemstone is slotted into the spider’s abdomen and the oxidized sterling silver chain is finely doubled. Onyx beads decorate the clasp for the finishing touch. Whether I allow the arachnid to creep across my wrist or hang from it as if weaving a web, the delicate piece is nothing short of a conversation starter. Entwistle doesn’t stop with spiders though, borrowing inspiration from beetles, crosses, and bones. Another standout item for me would have to be Entwistle’s jawbone bracelet, which is exactly what it sounds like. Deeply seated in the collection is the ability to turn often overlooked aspects of nature, like bugs and human physiology, into beautiful pieces of work.

             If you can’t find something you like whilst shopping during London Fashion Weekend, you simply aren’t looking hard enough. From silk pajamas to jeans patterned with bicycles to rings cast from pigeon feet, the stalls provide for every kind of customer. There’s so much choice, there’s almost too much choice. Before my friends and I could get stuck hemming and hawing over what color silk pajamas we preferred more, we made a dash for the catwalk show…an hour earlier than the designated time on our tickets.

             This actually ended up working in our favor, because we ended up being the first in line and it seemed that others had a similar idea. Not long after we stood obediently at the red velvet rope barrier did others catch on and join the lineup. This secured us a respectable second row seat for the catwalk show. Front row seats are a privilege that can be purchased ahead of time. This year, the catwalk expanded so that more people could fit inside. Press waited hungrily at the end of two aisles instead of just one and the audience’s eyes darted between the two doorways on either side of the room. We wondered expectantly where the models would start their strut and where they would make their exit.

Waiting for the catwalk show to begin
             The catwalk show featured four different themed trends for Autumn/Winter 2013: Back to Nature, Pretty in Pink, Victoriana, and Shape Up. Stylist and fashion consultant, Pandora Lennard, styled all of the looks and presenter Angela Scanlon introduced them.

             The Back to Nature models paraded down the runway in faux fur and feathers drenched in olive greens and chestnut browns.

             Pretty in Pink took its cue from John Hughes’ classic 80s film of the same name, amplifying the pink with each new outfit reveal.

             Shape Up’s blocky ensembles continued the geometric look from last season, proving its lasting power with zesty shapes and graphic lines.

             Victoriana finished the presentation with my favorite wardrobe staple of all black, leaving me enamored by the chunky heels and glints of gold. Classy creams cascaded over the midnight blacks to make for a timeless combination.

             Almost as soon as we left the catwalk show, we faced a very crucial unit of the fashion army – press photographers and fashion bloggers. We were snapped by both, alluding to the knowledge that we must be doing something right. There is nothing more satisfying than being recognized for fashion in an explicitly fashion-centered environment. As Yves Saint Laurent so eloquently put it, “Fashions fade, style is eternal.” With that, I tip my Panama hat to the legendary Saint Laurent and it’s hats off to London Fashion Weekend, until next year.

             If you’re interested in viewing my entire look for the occasion, visit the post on my style blog, A Stitch in Time, here. See what’s on at Somerset House hereRead up on London Fashion Weekend here and browse Rachel Entwistle’s jewelry here.

Photo courtesy of Stephen Lucas, a photographer covering London Fashion Weekend

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