London Fashion Week aw10: Day 1

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F-f-f-freezing. Excitement and anticipation >>> Blogger meet n greet >>> Minute’s silence for McQueen >>> Yasmin le Bon fangirl moment >>> Liberty London Girl’s Mercedes blogmobile >>> David Koma’s ziggy zaggy Debbie Harry dresses >>> Bodyamr’s hot models >>> Bodyamr’s hot collection >>> Frantic copy filing >>> All about Hakaan >>> Ftape’s Volt/Swarovski Crystallized party >>> Katie Eary’s killer shoes >>> Fred Butler’s killer Volt magazine cover >>> A singer called Misty Miller >>> Cadbury’s Dairy Milk for dinner >>> Glass magazine launch party >>>Moanathon about flaky PRs >>>

London Fashion Week aw10: Beautiful girls

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The Rika pop-up shop is in situ for a month – go check it out and pick up a copy of the mag…

Toast meets Turbeville

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I may not buy their clothes but Toast is a label I am totally visually seduced by. From their stores to their catalogues, everything is meticulously art-directed and now they have brought that vision to their website. The brand, which excels in what I call rustic lifestyle chic has introduced editorial features to its site, kicking off with this intriguing film of fashion-turned-art photographer Deborah Turbeville talking about her work. Toast shot its latest catalogue in a house in Mexico, only to find it belonged to the fascinating Turbeville. So… what kind of person lives in a place like this?

Quote of the day

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‘We used to have all the celebrities and people there, and I think that at that moment in time that’s what people loved. It generated so much press and at a certain point it was like, did anybody actually watch the show? All I ever saw in the press was who was there. So we sort of stopped that and just got back to showing a fashion show, and if people want to come, great.’
Robert Duffy, President of Marc Jacobs on

Arm candy

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I must be the biggest fan of LFW’s Timeline. This is the designated phoneline that you call to find out how late the shows are running and it’s a real lifesaver (OK, that’s a typical fashion exaggeration but you know what I mean) for journos and buyers alike.

I still call it the Timex Timeline as Timex were, I believe, the first sponsors of the Timeline back in 199-whatever. I do recall that each season, if you were on the right list (thankfully I was), you would be gifted a Timex watch when you rocked up to the stand. I used to ask for the mens version and regift it to my dear dad every season. And to this day I have his Timex watch hanging on a hook above my desk. (I’m still always late though. Erm, maybe I should replace the battery, it did run out about 6 years ago.)

This year the Timeline is sponsored by Blackberry who also have a natty app that gives you updates as well. Cool! But I still like to wear a proper watch and for that I think these Triwa ones are just lovely. How handsome is that tortoiseshell?

What are fashion shows for?

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New York Fashion Week is in full flow and London Fashion Week kicks off on Friday. For the designers, months of caffeine, sweat and tears will culminate in a 15-minute crescendo. But who and what are they for?

Back in the olden days, the shows were elite salon events attended by super-rich customers and the fashion press. As time went on they became larger productions, with more editors and buyers witnessing bigger spectacles. More recently, press-hungry celebrities realised fashion shows made good photo-ops and designers (or their publicists) realised that those same celebs could get publicity (leading to sales) for them. recently reported that celebrities like Chloe Sevigny and Mary-Kate Ashley can get paid five figure sums by designers to show up in their front rows – and there we were thinking they did it for the love of a Balmain harem pant. As if!

And now we’re in the age of the live-streamed show where anyone can watch the show from their couch or desk, or even Times Square if you’re an Alexander Wang fan. Fashion Week is tough on fashion editors. It’s not all champagne and air-kisses, there’s a lot of running around, a hell of a lot of waiting, plus in between, the trips back to the office to attend planning meetings and sign off page proofs. Eating and sleeping rarely factors. Oh to be able to sit in the office and watch it all online like everyone else! Could this happen?

Alas, not for a fashion editor. Because the days of attending the show purely to report on the clothes are long gone. These days, a fashion show isn’t about what’s on the runway at all but the ‘show’ happening front of house and backstage. The show isn’t just the models on the runway, it’s the celebrities, the editors, the backstage crew. It’s the overheards, the atmosphere, the hullabaloo. Social media has changed Fashion Week in the space of one season. WWD published an article on the influence of social media at fashion shows and reports that some brands now have as many as 40% of bloggers taking up press head-count. Those designers embracing social media (live-streaming, tweeting, blogger-courting) are also doing more to show the backstage and pre-show buzz. Marc Jacobs’ president Robert Duffy has spend the last two weeks Twitpic-ing model castings, set-building and other insights into the Marc Jacobs show build-up.

So are fashion shows morphing from exclusive industry-only events to become more of an entertainment thing? Yes indeed. It’s all about the marketing and commercial opportunities now, brought on by both the recession and the online revolution. The next stage is brands opening up to the public who in turn will, hopefully, open their wallets. On February 18th Diane Von Furstenburg puts on a separate show for Amex cardholders from which the $150 ticket price goes towards Amex’s $250,000 donation to the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund. Guests will watch models present the spring-summer collection and theoretically rush to buy whatever tickles their fancy in store shortly after. Meanwhile Proenza Schouler will make their AW10 handbags available to preorder online immediately after their show.

In this new era, old school fashion editors won’t like being lumped in with the ‘civilians’ but while the majority of brands can see the worth of going public, a few are still resistant. ‘We believe that luxury breaks down when access is in excess,’ Luca Luca president Yildiz Blackstone told WWD. My guess is that in time, there will be a split, perhaps with Fashion Week as we know it being used for entertainment and commercial purposes, and a spin-off being created for the trade press and buyers.

What do you think?


Mag-hag alert!

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Idea books are back at the St Martins Lane Hotel. Yay! This time, they’re hosting a pop-up-shop-slash-exhibition of Self Service mags. Self Service is one of the only magazines I collect and actively go back to on a regular basis – the interviews are absolutely brilliant.

The issues start at £50 and go up to £250 (for the Chloe Sevigny issue 2). Head to the front room at St Martins Lane Hotel from February 18th-25th to nose or buy.

P.S. If those dates don’t work for you, the shop is also open between now and 27th February for other vintage fashion and photography books.

Fashion Week Tweeters

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People keep asking me which LFW shows I’m excited about and I can’t answer. I’m looking forward to Michael van der Ham as he’s new so I don’t know what to expect from him. I also love the classicists – Margaret Howell, Nicole Farhi and Betty Jackson for their wearable styling. And then Charles Anastase and Eley Kishimoto for their youthful aesthetic. And I love the menswear shows for the ideas I can steal for myself. But I can’t say I’m madly excited about the shows. I get more excited about the atmosphere, catching up with people and taking in the theatre of the front-of-house show. What fashion editors and buyers choose to wear to the shows is as telling as what’s on the runway, especially as now people dress up for the cameras.

Is it sad to be excited about Twitter? I love real-time information and I follow a good mix of tweeters, so as we have had enough lists of ‘the best fashion bloggers’ for now, I share with you my favourite fashion tweeters. These are the tweeters I retweet the most…

Business of Fashion: These guys do a lot of retweeting and linking. If it wasn’t for them I would miss a hell of a lot of useful fashion articles

F.TAPE: Relentless tweeters, the F.TAPE crew are everywhere. Lovely people too…

Volume Group: Ok, not fashion tweeters but essential for up-to-date social media info

IamMademoiselle: A fellow fashion anony-blogger, this one blogs for Elle. She’s funny.

Topshop_tweets: A prolific tweeter who satisfies my appetite for constant updates

Grazia_Live: By-the-minute updates from my fave weekly

TimesFashion: Front row commentary and links to articles

Vogue_London: More front row tweetage from New York, London, Paris and Milan

Lorraine Elle: Editor of UK Elle. Tweet-a-holic

Labishdish: Retail and fashion expert

WGSN: Instant trend reports from the international trend-forecasting agency

Fredbutlerstyle: Chummy with all the emerging Brit designers and goes to the best parties

Robertcduffy: President of Marc Jacobs. Only tweeting for a few more days. Insightful!

Did I miss anyone? You perhaps? Tell me in the comments…

OK, 1 more, the official LFW Twitter. Can’t not follow them!

Quote of the day

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“I had a Westwood crown hat I would wear to kindergarten when I was about five. Obviously it was the coolest thing.”
Margherita Missoni, The Independent on Sunday. Nope not jealous at all. (Grrr.)

J’adore Chanel

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I am pretty much over all the ‘Valentines gift ideas!’ emails that are clogging up my inbox (sorry PRs) – apart from this one. Chanel’s double C logo is one of my favourite luxury logos for its graphic simplicity. Legend has it that the lampposts of Westminster are adorned with interlocking Cs as a symbol of The Duke of Westminster’s love for Coco. Sweet!

While we’re on the subject, how clever is this pic by Raymond Meier for US Vogue, styled by Elissa ‘Elissa, your shoots always look the same’ Santissi*. Sheer brilliance!

[*as Anna Wintour sniffs in The September Issue]

[Middle pic:]