S URVIVING FASHION WEEK

London Fashion Week is hectic, chaotic, confusing, thrilling, pell-mell, and exciting. Our team take you with them as they attend shows, rush across London from one venue to another, and generally figure out how to survive fashion week…

Illustrations by Lauren Rowley

RHIANNON D’AVERC – CHIEF EDITOR

This season, I was determined not to succumb to show clash. Every fashion week, there’s always at least one show I can’t make because I’m already somewhere else – and I’m sick of it. I sat down and carefully scheduled everything, only RSVPing to shows if I didn’t already have something booked for that time.

And yet I still managed to double-book myself… at least twice a day.

Thankfully I had my team with me to keep me going. These are my fashion week essentials:

  1. Someone to sit with, gossip with, discuss the looks with, and share the load of carrying goody bags
  2. Both a light coat and sunglasses – for long days that stretch into cool nights
  3. Sensible shoes (how do the stiletto crowd do it?!)
  4. A phone charger to cope with all those Instagram lives
  5. A bag big enough to fit a DSLR, umbrella, and as many Lara Bars as I can grab from the free stalls

This season was fun, although there was a bit of disappointment around the venues. Fashion Scout was stiflingly hot and nowhere near big enough for the crowds, while the BFC showspace was relegated down into the basement at 180 Strand. The best staging of the week for me was at Gayeon Lee, where gorgeous lights and hanging sheets creating a cinematic, secretive space where models drifted into and out of sight.

Best collection? Hard to say. Nothing stood out for me this season in a lasting way. There were plenty of high points and low points, but no clear winner that I could see myself remembering for decades to come.

MADELEINE OAKLEY – WRITER

Is it bad that I enjoyed queuing for the London Fashion Week shows just as much as watching them? The outfits people wore were so out-there and experimental. Part of me wants their confidence to dress in such wacky clothes, but at the same time, I am quite happy to observe from nearby. Whilst queuing, the people I spotted in the best outfits were as follows:

1) A topless, rather rotund man with a sparkly beard, baggy trousers and a lot of rainbow body paint
2) A girl in an entirely red outfit, complete with shiny red leather bakerboy cap
3) A teenager in a long red coat, platform shoes and DIY garter. Attached to their nose was a moustache made from a pipe cleaner
4) A girl in graffiti-covered denim cutoffs, with stickers on her legs saying ‘Fuck Fast Fashion’
5) A girl with a hat made from ring pulls
6) A woman in an orange and blue ensemble: huge sparkly sunglasses, PU ruffled sleeves, platform shoes
7) A woman with countless very heavylooking silver necklaces and space-agestyle plastic glowing glasses

If only all queueing could be as fun! It was my first time at London Fashion Week, so I had no idea what to expect. I was astounded by the creativity of the collections I saw. My favourite show was A-Jane, as I loved the contrast of neutral and neon tones, and the shapes created through fabric manipulation. At the Seven Continents in Couture show, the dresses were breathtakingly ornate and must have taken so much time and imagination to create!

To survive fashion week, I would encourage you to bring a bottle of water, and to accept a free fan if offered one, as it gets very hot by the catwalk! Comfy shoes are a must. I am baffled that people can bear to wear stilettos in general, let alone to fashion week.

JO REGIS – ADVERTISING REPRESENTATIVE

If you have ever been to Paris Fashion Week, you will know that it is a thing of beauty to behold. Even without the luxury brands on show, the sheer decadence of the city’s architecture commands this. If you stake London and Paris side by side there is no comparison, as London really does have its own specific brand of Fashion Week. Of course there are the main, high fashion catwalk shows, but alongside these could be found plenty of AvantGarde and experimental live exhibitionstyle presentations and shows by smaller independent brands. Designers like Roberts|Wood creatively combined their fashion craft with dance and theatrical atmosphere to deliver a sense of performance art. Alice Archer opted for a choreographed movement of models around a set that embodied a live magazine shoot. It was refreshing, fun, interesting and enjoyable. London is the place for the independent and we are proud to host them. They deserve a space, but I am left wondering if and how London Fashion Week will continue to sit on the world fashion stage. That is presuming that the stage remains as it currently stands, which is unlikely.

6 Tips for surviving the next Fashion Week

  • You’ll do right to keep your essentials light As women, we know what the essentials consist of… don’t we? After all, our bags are always overflowing with just the essentials. Fashion week is most definitely a time when you’ll do right to really keep it light. Even the lightest bag will feel a lead weight after 6 hours! So, may we humbly suggest that your essentials consist of… – One lip and powder touch up product – Perfume & hand cream for a post 3hour freshen up. (Now would be the time to use those Jo Malone or Byredo samples stashed in the bottom of the drawer)
  • Braving the heels? Then stash the flats. Unless you have toes of steel or shoes custom-made for delicate feet, you’ll need them! – H20 is a must! San Pellegrino sparkling natural mineral water, my personal favourite, is also really good for you. Calcium, chloride, fluorine, lithium, magnesium, nitrogen, potassium, silicon, sodium and strontium are just a few of the dominant natural minerals that make up its great taste. And to top it off, it is an icon of Italian style – Lastly, a packet of tissues is the solution to almost any emergency. The loo roll is bound to come to the end just as it’s your turn.
  • A bag with style, form, and function You can’t beat a stylish and functional bag for traversing Fashion Week. Think somewhere to hold your essentials, to collect those show freebies and brand publications, hold your water and store yet more freebies. Whether you choose something on wheels or for your back, make it count, by making it stylish!
  • Charging Pack So you set out with your phone 100% charged, but if you think this will get you through the day, think again! Regardless of your poison, that iPhone X or Samsung S10 will be in constant use all day, live streaming shows, snapping collections, checking schedules, displaying invites, recording interviews, voice notes and more. The last thing you want is for navigation to wipe out the battery on route to the next important show. Bring your battery pack. Problem solved! Preferably one like my stylish 10,000Mah pack by Knomo that will charge your device at least twice, leaving you with enough juice for some de-stressing meditative music on your way home. And don’t forget the much-needed charging cable.
  • Choose your navigation software wisely & plan ahead In my humble opinion, Waves and Google Maps are the only true contenders for navigation app top spot. The jury is still out on City Mapper and iPhone Maps doesn’t even get a look in, but whatever your app of choice, it’s a good idea to make sure it’s set up for peak navigation performance and download an offline copy of the area
    your shows are in, for easy reference on the Tube where there is no GPS and in case of any data dead spots. You are bound to get lost or walk past the venue three times, even though it’s right under your nose, so leave yourself plenty of time to get to each location and if you’re really ahead, reward yourself with your coffee tipple of choice. Hot or ice cold, Latte or Macchiato, or with a shot of vodka, coffee is still the hottest accessory of the season.
  • Do your butt a favour If there’s any way of fitting a seat pad in your bag, you should definitely do it! Get one of the folded varieties or just be creative, your butt will thank you for it. Even a 10-minute show can seem like a lifetime when your nether region has to endure those firm wooden benches for the fourth time in one day. LFW feedback: please include seat pads in the VIP experience.
  • Observe and mingle. So, everyone is there to view the fashion on the catwalk, as well as the showstopping outfits worn by guests and VIPs that commandeer a much deserved second or third look. But don’t just be a spectator, mingle and network. You never know who you might meet, or where a simple conversation might lead.

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