I Feel the Need…the Need for Tweed
The season started with Paul Costelloe opening yet another London Fashion Week show with autumn shades. But that was it for the usual fall tones. Soon the catwalks filled with bright colours and light fabrics as if the designers were predicting a globally warm winter. Janice Dickinson gave me a little scare with her lip, but then Hilary Alexander made it all better with her sunny worker bee disposition. Day one also attracted Corrine Bailey Rae, Jo Wood and Paloma Faith who was spotted at PPQ.
Art & Fashion Sitting in the Tree...
I always look forward to a Maria Grachvogel show because to me fashion is primarily beauty and secondly art. And Maria’s creations are the perfect marriage between the two. Seeing her show is like seeing something for the first time in nature that makes you glad you’re alive. Everything is beautiful, from the choice of the venue, which this time was at the stunning Savoy ballroom, to Swan Lake-like music. Her “Magic Pants” and catsuits have taken years to perfect in order to achieve that elongated leg and thin waist that every woman desires. When it comes to art Maria says that each piece of her unique print technique is called Artwork Print. It's hand painted, digitally engineered to work in harmony with the shape of the garment and the silhouette. "Each one is printed, cut and made one by one and each garment takes on average five days to paint, so it really is like wearing a piece of art” she told LondonFashionWeek.co.uk
Jean-Pierre Braganza won us over with oversized, abstrametrical (I like making up words - abstract / asymmetrical) jackets.
Photos: late and missed Rishi Mullett-Sadones
Felder Felder chose unhealthy looking models with goth-like make-up and cigarette made holes in the clothes, which were probably laser-cut. We loved the silver space pants and beautiful flowing fabrics over sexy bodies.
photo: Sofia Bak via iPhone 3GSCorrie Nielsen was someone we saw for the first time and fell in love with at the finale. The models did an incredible job at creating an illusion of a gothic scene, moving like ghosts down the runway to captivating choir music, reminding us of Queen Elizabeth I and her powerful presence.
We know trends are only there to make the consumer feel the need for certain “must-have” items. But they’re also there to inspire. London fashion however is there to inspire unconformity. Between New York, Paris and Milan, London is a city that represents edge and produces designers that march to the beat of their own drum. This fashion week the designers seemed to say “enough” to the marketing industry and showed us the way to take risks and have fun with our outfits. And by the sour faces front row, I’d say we need a bit of fun. Isn’t it why we’re in the fashion industry in the first place? Because we chose to do what we love? Even though for years we’re forced to work with no pay, live on an occasional canapé, shove our blistered feet in high heels and forget sleep, rest or relationships.
Fantastic Mr. Faux
If there was a trend it had to be Paul Costelloe’s logo – the fox. Foxes were everywhere, not only did the naughty designers start creeping more and more fur back on the runway, but Mulberry used Mr. Fox for their inspiration. These cute critters were on London Fashion Week bags, Mulberry invitations, delicious ginger biscuits, as well as Mulberry catwalk soundtrack, which was from Fantastic Mr. Fox. Even street-chic during fashion week was foxy. Not to mention I felt much like a fox myself, the day after a Mulberry after-party I discovered a family of faux birds in my handbag "did I turn into a shewolf last night?" I thought and attached them to my outfit. Recycle recycle recycle. Speaking of Muberry, the show was as cute as ever with beautiful models, live dogs front row and on the runway. The show as well as the afterparty drew in the most stars this season...Clemence Poesy, Professor Green, Kirsten Dunst, Benedict Cumberbatch (BBC's Sherlock), and I thought I saw Russel Crow at the after-party holding a women's handbag but turned out it was just my organic beer goggles.
photos: Sofia Bak
Day one ended with a fantastic Central St. Martin's show, presenting 21 young designers. Daphne Guinness was spotted probably looking for a new protege. We loved Phoebe English who by the way won, but seemed like she was too strongly inspired by Maison Martin Margiela and Mark Fast.
Red or Dead
Day two drew in Nick Grimshaw and Jameela Jamil of C4, Pixie Geldof, Tracy Emin, and Alexa Chung, Melanie Blatt as well as Nicola Roberts were spotted at House of Holland. Betty Jackson woke us up on this rainy London morning with beautiful scarlet flowers in the hair of her models and on the runway.
Kinder SurpriseSpeaking of flowers, Kinder Aggugini charmed the front row by placing kinder orchids with care instructions on our seats. Some didn't want theirs so I saved the poor flowers by pinning them to my coat and took them home. Since the hair does have a very distinct trend in a shape of a ponytail this season, Kinder's models were cone-headed and had their tresses pinned into orchid-like ponytails. The atmosphere was beautiful until the show started and the photographers started yelling at the models to walk away faster so they can shoot the next girl (due to the shape of the runway). This made me laugh at first but then I felt sorry for the models and angry at the photographers. I know it's their job to do anything to get the picture taken, but there's no need to be so rude.
Photo (bride): Sofia Bak
Do Good, Give Blood
So far it seemed like a weak season, not a lot of celebs front row or famous models on the catwalks, and lacking in novelty or showmanship. Enter Charlie le Mindu. First off, let me thank Calum Walsh at Blow PR for convincing me to split forces and stay for Charlies show while sending the rest of my team to Nicole Farhi. Calum sat me opposite six porn stars chilling front row and next to a lovely party planner/stylist Leo Belicha who invited me to the after-party sponsored by Babestation. Fashion royalty Diane Pernet and Daphne Guinness were also in the audience. It's difficult to talk about the fashion, when clearly the show was about something much more important...and if you can't guess what it is I think the bloody sign on the very first models head pretty much spells it out. The finale was staged to a soundtrack of slaughtered pigs, which again, made me laugh at first and then made me remember why I'm attempting to be a vegan at home. It was so loud and played for so long that I felt like going to church after it was over. Charlie came out to wave at the spectators wearing a bloody apron. The man knows how to get through to his audience, no matter how brain-dead we are during fashion week madness.
Koma Fulton Stop
The #BFM's like to pan over David Koma, the hottie of the straight men in fashion department. And the way he dresses women...well...his wife is a lucky gal. Koma presented a very elegant and sexy collection of soft leather with a feminine touch of pom-pom's and polka dots. Holly Fulton had a show following Koma's in the same venue and for the same guests, but for some reason one of the guests decided to skip the Fulton show and left in-between. We wont name names, but let's just say it was a BIG buyer. Why? Because they don't carry Holly. Is that an excuse? We think not, but who knows maybe she had a good reason. Besides...people in glass houses... . Holly's collection is definitely one you will always recognize. Some lines have a strong signature and some are constantly re-inventing. This season her smoking lips made me want to own a piece from her collection, which previously seemed like something that isn't my style. Long silk dresses with art deco prints gave an aura of glamour to a previously edgy runway at the BFC tent.
Photo of Marina: Sofia Bak
Sharing the Spot LED Light
At Mark Fast, Jeffrey Michael Design was trying to steal the show. Marina and the Diamonds was spotted wearing his cool LED vest on the front row. But Fast quickly pulled in the focus. The minute his first look hit the runway a wave of "wow's" went through the room. Often criticized for this or that Fast has surprised everyone in the room with something completely different from his usually sexy knitwear by showing leather and other amazingly edgy looks. Elle Russia editor next to me was glued to the runway and laughed at my comment "Are we at Mark Fast?" His beautiful collection was inspired by a wolf in sheep's clothing, and that says something more about his opinion of his line than these particular designs I would think.
On the Dole
"He's big in Japan" people were saying before the Ashish show. Paloma Faith, Amber Rose and talented M.I.A. sat front row, and I was wearing what I call "The Real Wonder Bra" by Jeffrey Michael Design. Attention seeking? In a word - yes. What wouldn't I do for a friend? We loved the show, one of the models was chewing gum and it was very fitting with the line. Jeffrey called it sparkly hobo chic, and I decided I must have the sweater that proclaimed: "Hard Times".
Oy Vey...Oh Yay!
Linn almost had a breakdown on the way to Burberry. Fashion Bus (the press bus) was stuck in traffic and we were reading tweets saying the show was about to start. When we were finally there we ran for the doors and were the last one's in, some of the other journos from the bus didn't make it. Running (late) for once paid off for me because I ended up getting a better seat right opposite Kate Bosworth, Rachel Bilson, Ellie Goulding and Mario Testino. Elegant white coats and jackets tied up like presents with black string-belts were very chic. I later got the scoop from my BFM agent at Burberry and found out that the clear rain protectors that were used to save the designs from the fake snow at the end are selling like hot cakes. I also have some inside info on Burberry Bespoke...but will not reveal it just yet.
Another "oy vey" moment came when I saw I had a standing ticket for Giles. It's the inside joke of the #BFM that I don't like to use those because I don't want to get too tired for the rest of the shows. Work smarter, not harder I say. But they like to make fun of me for being a diva. "I'll do it for Giles" I said. The Royal Courts of Justice is a fabulous venue which was really well organized and I ended up not standing for long, waiting around along with Pixie Geldof. Inside I discovered I could sit on the side benches. I noticed flame-haired Mary Portas (Secret Shopper) front row. Before the show started one of the photographers scouldn't help himself in such an acoustically perfect venue and started singing, which send a roar of laughter through the room. I loved the show and ended up standing to see it (next to Louise Redknapp who came in late).
Mary Katrantzou seemed to have been the press favourite this season. Everyone from Suzi Menkes to Hilary Alexander was calling it her best season yet. Inspired by the Asian motifs this season Mary came out with more unbeatable work in her signature style.
Genders swapped this season at Paul Smith and J.W. Anderson. Shiny happy Paul has decided to continue with his menswear theme (which I adore) and made some updates. If S/S11 was forecast as bright and preppy, his A/W11 collection was more relaxed and geeky. We also loved the dangling scarfs at menswear day closing show Tween.
Photo: Catwalking.comVivienne Westwood continued with some of the gender swap theme and was appropriately attended by Boy George. Westwood is a trustee of Liberty and continues to use the medium of her shows to talk about culture and politics, more specifically about the urgent need to act against climate change, which makes me love and respect the lady even more. Her rag-doll/scarecrow make-up excited the media, which pictured gold paper-faced model for days to come. As distorted as her models were on the catwalk, Vivienne herself came out as elegant as I've ever seen her. Her hair was pinned back in an elegant sea-shell and she wore a stunning blue dress which made her dameness appear very blue blooded indeed.
Alice? Who the Fudge Is Alice?
Temperley returned to London with a captivating show at the British Museum. Before the show we spotted Jaquetta Wheeler chasing her kid across the runway and the charming Mark Ronson. The production was unbelievable, with such a huge space the models executed their walk to perfection, basically watch the video, not the pictures for this one. The catwalk was very complicated and the designs seemed to have been inspired by flamenco.
BFM ETA @ BFC 4 EDM @ 2:45 #LFW
Emilio de la Morena drew in Olivia Palermo and some joker photographers who yelled "dont take pictures of the photographers!" before the show which lightened the mood.
Amr with his models backstage by Sofia Bak#BFM split forces again and I just made it to Bodyamr as the show was starting. I met Mak from Bodyamr at my local and it turned out he lives in my building! Needless to say I was able to snap this backstage shot with my iPhone and someone else's flash thanks to my love of Guinness. This season Amr started making shoes and came out with some fabulous gold boots and a lot of sparkle in his designs. Beautiful flowing gowns and middle eastern magic made this show a success for this celebrity favourite.
Amanda Wakeley show had beautiful seam work and no less beautiful Louise Redknapp and Tracy Emin who was sitting next to a hot man Jeffrey and I couldn't stop staring at. The man can dress! Sharp black suit, stiff white collar...very Tom Ford. Speaking of Tom Ford, everyone was talking about his secret show this season. Is this going to become a trend now? Secret shows? Anyway, Tracy told us that the beautiful man is Amanda's boyfriend. What a stunning pair they make...
Photo: Catwalking.comLouise Gray was inspired by a celebration. I was not inspired by Louise Gray. In fact I was kind of scared. Clowns...anything to do with clowns...or maybe it's the kids that scare me, not the clowns.
Photo: Catwalking.comRoksanda Ilincic had the most beautiful show as far as my taste is concerned. The rich colours, the luscious fabrics. I think it's her best season yet. She's on every editors watch list including Anna Wintour, and we can see why.
Just wanted to show the amazing job the guys at TONI&GUY are doing for the press during fashion week. I have no time or energy for anything let alone styling my hair, and they save me every season. Just look at how gorgeous and happy they made my friend Olena from AnOther Magazine. Thank you Richard and Lauren!
Have you heard of Ada Zanditon? Someone to know I would say. Sweet as a pea, talented and eco conscious. We met her at Esthetica exhibition and fell in love with her personality and her stunning designs. I later noticed this (above) outside On/Off and had to take a picture. It's her dresses frozen in a huge block of ice. What went on here Ada? Whatever it is +A for creativity.
The fashion crowd was as entertaining as ever with their outfits. This season there were mostly young grannies and sex slaves...and my "The Real Wonder Bra" lighting up the menu at Balans.
Towards the end of fashion week I seem to loose the ability to even form a sentence. I was about to make some point talking to Katie the tall blond hottie from Bryan Morel and someone from Imagine Fashion and realized half way through that I've forgotten what I'm talking about, which was really embarrassing. After Topman afterparty at Bungalow 8, I asked Kat (RYAZANSKAYA): "Are you sure I haven’t fallen down the stairs last night? Everything hurts". Now all I have to do is kick two LFW habits – drinking Vitamin Water, and Tweeting. My memory is coming back to me now and I just recalled reading something I thought was extremely funny in Fashion Week Daily...in reference to Pam Hogg, Harper's BAZAAR editor was quoted "I tried to tweet about gold lamé but couldn't figure out how to do the accent on twitter, and without the accent...well that's just lame isn't it?" It's all coming back to me now...eco girl Erin O'Connor at the VIP area in the BFC press room looking hot in a navy hat. By the way, can we get BFC to make the press room bigger? What's with the lines? So inconvenient when you have to work.
Yasmin Le Bon cat-running at Issa, bad photo by Sofia BakFast walking models caused a stir amongst bloggers who couldn't take pictures fast enough with their smartphones. Self included. Backstage rumor has it - the designers are worried about their looks getting into the wrong hands so they asked the girls to walk faster.
Tata Naka presentation directed by my Harper's editor Natalia Alaverdian who was producing their look book shoot.
All images and videos from the shows can be seen here
This London Fashion Week brought about the best time of our lives' so far. But then...devastating and shocking news. My team and I met a wonderful, sweet, kind, funny, beautiful young photographer who quickly became a friend, and just as quickly dissapeared from the face of the earth. I know you're in a better place Rishi...this world is a test that makes us the best we can be walking through all it's darkness...it's not easy to be here. A lot of the times we're unhappy and you never really know anyone, but I know you were good, and I know you are at peace now, which is the only comfort we can cling on to now. This article is dedicated to you. We miss you, we selfishly wish we had a chance to become your true friends and have you around shining your light into our lives like you clearly did for your family and friends. We can't imagine how they feel right now if we feel the way we do and we only just met you. All we can say is we appreciate the little time we had with you...you made us better in just a few days. Thank you.
...Sofia, Kat & Linn