Clutching all the scant reassurance that little gasconade could provide, it was into the fray once more as London Fashion Week flounced into action. The thing is, it’s hard not to feel like an outsider at such an event; to try or not to try, that is the question.
Whatever my attempts, the extent of my suavity was soon discernible from the greeting I received outside the VIP areas: ‘Press?’ So they spotted I wasn’t a fashionista. Well, not having had a hair cut in nine moons probably didn’t help, nor the fact that I actually measure time in moons, either, come to think of it. Even for an untouchable like myself, however, the atmosphere was still contagious – competitive and intimidating, but contagious.
You see, a smallish part of me longed to throw off my shabby garb to reveal a GaGa-esque Roi du Soleil, like Philipe Von Ferrari, who once turned up to an auction house dressed as a hobo to bid on a rare stamp and fox his rivals. ‘It is I’, I would cry, as Somerset House became a collective orgasm of gasps and knowing looks, and I paraded off atop a carnival float to a fanfare of loud techno. As I say, very contagious.
But what else is fashion about but sheer flamboyant display and trumpery? The moment it becomes too serious it becomes one of the worst things in the world; I often think it needs a horse-dose of humor just to keep it from becoming a poisonous canker on society (though sat chomping free croissants, quaffing Evian and fizz, watching the strange pantomime, it’s hard to stay bitter).
So who took themselves too seriously and who left their heads firmly up their own arses?
Well, Charlie Le Mindu, a French coiffeur-terrible, delivered necromantic, coal-dusted creatures topped with religious icons, something like Cousin It after a day at a Catholic salon, but with enough raunch and theatre to avoid being frightful. And Ashley Isham offered a pleasing kaleidoscope of glitter.
But self-irony was sorely lacking in Aminaka Wilmont’s show, entitled, wait for it, ‘Strife’, focused on pain and war and centering on ‘how to make do with what is left around – debris, flotsam and scraps’…but also using ‘sumptuous organic silk jersey, heavy crêpe de Chine and Merino wool’. Oh dear.
In the end it’s often the little things that are able to capture the essence of events like this, better than descriptions or photographs, and something that caught my eye on this occasion was a message on one of the exhibition walls that read: ‘Thought of the day: Haiti’.
London Fashion Week runs until Tuesday 23 February at various London locations.