London Fashion Week autumn/winter 2010 drew to a close last Tuesday, and as a LFW virgin, I walked into the Somerset House site very excited to be a part of the exclusive world of this important event on the city’s style calendar.
My last season boots embarrassingly followed a pair of buckle clad spats down the cobbles which were immediately snapped by the crouching fashion paparazzi and I soon realised, as a watched others get stopped, that just by being there, you were giving free reign for all to stare, scrutinise, and take your picture without any hint of intrusion.
And some of the stylish someones were lapping it up: indulging the eager photographers with their practised moody-faced poses. However, as I wandered around, I was pleased that my fears for feeling terribly out of place and inadequately styled were very soon dissolved amongst other ordinary faces.
Exploring the exhibition rooms full of dazzling jewellery, amazing millinery and weird and wonderful footwear had me wide eyed and excited like a child with a golden ticket at Willy Wonka’s.
Being in the audience at Amanda Wakeley’s catwalk show, rubbing shoulders with keen fashionistas and Christopher Biggins (yes, he was disappointingly as A-list as my experience got!) and watching the stern-faced waifs swoosh past, draped in sumptuous rouched silk and layers of fine feminine knits, was undeniably wonderful.
But, towards the end of the day, as I took one last turn out of the courtyard, wandered back out onto The Strand and into normal life again, I realised that what I once thought of as this secret world of glitz and glamour, is actually not so farfetched from the everyday streets of London.
I’m actually surrounded by a rich patchwork of ever-changing and always exciting sights. From the gang of mates kicking a can down Mile End Road, to the brave eccentric on the tube in nothing more than a pair of spangly knickers and a hair piece at 10 in the morning, to the model-like couple in effortless vintage plaid buying vegetables at Broadway market.
While I was most honoured to attend, and would recommend anyone who loves fashion to go if they get the chance, I don’t think you have to be at London Fashion Week to see great British design…you just need to get out in London and open your eyes.