Any stylist or fashion editor will tell you that no two working days are the same but I usually think that’s a load of guff. I mean, there are some days when you don’t leave your desk – a constant torrent of emails to be answered, samples to chase up and appointments to make. Then other days consist of solid appointments to call in clothes, possibly interspersed with a press day or two. But today was a different kind of day. It began at 10am with a car sent by the BBC to pick me up as a guest fashion expert on the radio. I had a lovely amiable chit-chat with the driver who was celebrating his 27th wedding anniversary (kudos!) then spent the next hour taking live quickfire what-to-wear questions from the radio listeners and giving no-nonsense advice. It was exhausting but great fun. Even though I’m opinionated on here, I’m not usually one to dictate ‘wear this but don’t wear that’ but that’s exactly was was wanted, so instead of gently suggesting ‘maybe add a statement heel’ I had to get a lot tougher and bark things like, ‘lose that waistcoat love, it’s naff!’
That was followed by a few nibbles and a gander at the Net-A-Porter Cruise press day at the St Martins Lane Hotel. The highlights were Mint’s neon-pink pailette shift, Phillip Lim’s puff-sleeved military jacket and Richard Nicoll’s luxe, T-shirt shaped dress. New to the NAP stable for Cruise 09 are Preen, Lover and See by Chloe shoes.
Nearby was The Photographers’ Gallery so I took the chance to check out the Fashion in the Mirror exhibition, small but nicely put-together (but I’ll do a separate post about that). Of course, I spent more time in the bookshop than taking in the exhibition but who’s complaining – I bought a novel little photo book called Prom Night by Elissa Stein full of 50s-80s prom snaps – oh there were some beauties (and horrors)!
After a brisk sushi lunch I quick-marched over to the Hardy Amies Christmas press day. Now formal menswear is really not my forte and Hardy Amies is certainly not a name that’s normally on my radar but I thought I’d have a look and I’m glad I did. The mens ready to wear suits are spot on – slim trousers, narrow lapels and a great pricepoint at only £425 for a suit. Then there were some shit hot skinny ties – who knew Mr Amies was the first to do a squared-off tie? I was also shown a pair of Chelsea boots that were first designed as a collab with Clarks in the 60s and have been revisited for 2008. One more thing, did you know Amies was a former spy? Me neither!
I just had time to put in an appearance at the House of Fraser Christmas press day – lots of patent clutches and frothy prom dresses as you’d expect – before haring it to the South Bank as I badly wanted to see Waterlilies. Of course, I should have booked. I got there just in time (no thanks to the frankly criminal signposts that sent me on a wild goosechase) only to find it was sold out. Oh quel bloody surpris! But no harm done because it meant I rediscovered Albert Nyathi & Imbongi, a fantastic Zimbabwean band who were taking part in the National Theatre’s free outdoor festival. Back-story: I first stumbled upon this band on a gruesome hospital appointment two weeks ago – they were playing a mini-gig in the hossie foyer! On exiting the film-that-wasn’t-to-be, I recognised their costumes (namely the Marc Jacobs-style headbands) and dance moves from my vantage point, so spent a very enjoyable half hour rocking out to their highly contagious melodic grooves. Ain’t it funny how things turn out?