25
Feb
2009

Fashion Week’s Finale

If aliens had landed, in the past week, out of the blue in South Kensington, what they might have made of it is anyone’s guess – they would have seen great industry, gratuitous exhibitionism, hierarchy and competition, admiration and resentment, but all for what? It might have been useful to provide them with a London Fashion Week cross section, an ant farm of sorts, and a narrative spoken in reverent, hushed tones. Amongst the exhibits of their most modern museums, the worker ants prepared a great display. February saw frantic activity in and around the hives, growing to a climax over just six short days. Preparations had been under way for months, and then, finally, the spectacle came together at last.

Inside, we saw the drones, busy putting the finishing touches to the structures, gathering all manner of decorations and communicating with great urgency. At the heart of those hives, special chambers could be found, where the kings and queens of the colonies sat, surrounded by their closest workers. These were the designers. Activity there was focused on a number of unique pathways, onto which, at a special signal, particularly thin specimens emerged in full decoration, and displayed themselves to the assembled observers.

One such display was mounted by a king named Bora Aksu, recognisable by his liking for black garments with holes in them, which seemed to attract a favourable response from the gathering. There, popping flashes and clicking noises signaled heightened excitement, reaching frantic levels as his creatures paraded back and forth. It is thought that this behaviour was something to do with securing mates for reproduction, although the exact purpose of the rituals remains a mystery.

At night, a dramatic change took place, and congregations gathered under shelter, in dark areas, where they ingested liquids and powders, and vibrated in response to loud noises. In one such area, entitled Jalouse, a group met to celebrate a display by designer Osman Yousefzada: it was a large and lively gathering, and quantities of liquid were provided for consumption. Special effort was made on appearance and, there, it seemed, reproduction could at last be attempted.

Each and every member of this complex community was moved by an unseen force, a force which ensured that the display was an annual success. But the effort was an exhausting one and, on the last of the six days, activity ceased once more, the structures were dismantled, and the individuals faded away, until, exactly six months later, when the preparations were to begin again in earnest.

Daisy Lowe was keeping cool with Glaceau vitaminwater, the drink of choice at London Fashion Week this week

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