Sunday, 14 October 2012

London Fashion Week Highlights

Despite the fact that my life is an emotional turmoil right now, I can say I'm truly happy about one thing: I've reached a milestone in my career. Years of writing about British fashion and young talent for a French audience more often than not totally oblivious of any fashion made outside Continental Europe have paid off. My editors at L'Express must like my style, because they decided to have me cover London Fashion Week for the magazine. I was beside myself with joy, pretty much had to refrain from kissing everyone in the room. The British Fashion Council did the rest with the most amazing display of savoir faire: upon arriving to St Pancras (an extra-fancy train station if we compare it to the dumpy Gare du Nord), I found a lovely driver waiting for me (thanks for everything, Jim!) who took me to the official LFW 5 star May Fair hotel. 5 days of shows, running everywhere, crazy work, crazy fun and no sleep ensued. 
These are just some of the highlights of the week; it was difficult to choose because really everything was perfect (except for a couple of gossipy French people): Mary Katrantzou's chaotic show, meeting Fred Butler and talking about her work, sitting front row at Christopher Kane and Paul Smith... It was all tons of fun and I hope to do it again next time!

Discovering Marques'Almeida

I had previously seen a couple of the pieces created by Portuguese designers Marta Marques and Paulo Almeida on I-D, but never a whole look. I was stunned at their show: I had never seen such distressed and such fabulous denim! I loved the dark green pieces with embroidered stars/ivy leaves. But what stroke me most was how well the collections translated to the street. There were several girls dressed in Marques'Almeida clothes at Somerset House and they all stood out, looking fantastic in a kind of grungey chic way.

Bumping into Vanni everywhere

Italian whirlwind Vanni, one of my best and dearest friends, abandoned me in Paris a year ago to find his luck in London... and find it he did! Vanni called me on the first morning of LFW to tell me he could meet me whenever I was free. Instead, I bumped into his fabulous self in Somerset House between shows by chance. He introduced me to some of his friends, including jewellery designer Mawi (guess where his necklaces and clutch in the picture come from), who was super sweet. During the next few days I saw a lot of him (although I have never enough of Vanni): we drank champagne together at Somerset House, he impressed me with his door bitch skills at the Jonathan Saunders show, we drank margaritas at a Mexican speakeasy/S&M dungeon in Soho and he told me all about his upcoming collection. Because on top of working for Mr Saunders and Miss Mawi and taking London by storm, Vanni is a talented designer preparing his first collection, so keep him on your radar everyone!

Meeting Iggy Azalea at the Moschino Cheap & Chic show

Walking into the Moschino C&C show on saturday evening all the mainstream media were drooling over Alexa Chung. My eye, however, was caught by an elegant blonde in a long leopard dress. Although her looks and demeanour reminded me of Golden Age Hollywood stars, it turned out to be outrageous Aussie hip hop singer Iggy Azalea. I couldn't help myself. I walked past her and told her how much I loved her work. I didn't want to bother her, so I didn't expect it at all when instead of behaving all diva-ish, she started spontaneously talking to me about her trip to Europe and how the fashion industry made her feel. So not only the girl has mad talent, beauty and style, she is also super nice! Here she is, among others, talking about how to dress for the front row. 

Having lunch with Margaret Howell

I'm a lucky girl. On sunday I was privileged enough to be invited to a lunch with none other than British icon and designer Margaret Howell. It felt very much like an oasis in the middle of crazy day which at times seemed too fashion forward. Margaret and her team are zen and cultured and, as different as their respective styles are, they share with Paul Smith a philosophy about fashion that connects with traditional British know-how. For them, it's all about creating quality clothes in a respectful way, clothes that are timeless and so well cut that they make people wearing them feel confident. Here are two pictures from her show, which took place earlier that day. It goes without saying I would have worn every single piece of the collection.


Seeing Tate Modern at night (and the Jonathan Saunders show)

From the moment I got the ticket I knew it was going to be quite something: a show at the Tate Modern! How cool could that be? But what I didn't expect was to see the entrance of the museum deserted and dark at 9 pm. That was really rare. And cool. It felt almost sacred, like a temple. The Jonathan Saunders show was also pretty impressive. I've always liked his work, but this season it felt really next level and mature... See for yourselves. 

Getting interviewed for Fashion TV Spain at the Crazy Horse x Marios Schwab event

For some reason upon entering the Crazy Horse party I caught the eye of the rad Fashion TV Spain reporters, which was cool as I was having a very patriotic day all dressed in Bimba & Lola. So here I am rambling on about I don't know what and sounding like a total #FashionRetard... Although in all fairness I must say I'd been running around since 8 am and this was 10 pm, so I think the need for food and sleep might have made me sound a bit more empty headed than usual. The Crazy Horse party was actually thrown to present a new lingerie collection by Marios Schwab. The clothes were, as I supected, "chic and a bit risqué", and the girls modeled them admirably. There's no footage of the actual show but the clip below will give you an idea of what it was like (it was the same show, only with Marios's clothes). You gotta love le Crazy Horse!

Sitting behind Suzy Menkes at Erdem and discovering something

I was placed directly behind Suzy Menkes at the Topshop venue waiting for Erdem's show to start when she took out her laptop and then I discovered Miss Menkes actually writes her reviews on the spot, while she waits for shows to start! I was so impressed, I mean, R-E-S-P-E-C-T, seriously. I know she has been working for decades, but I doubt that I'd ever be able to concentrate that much during the shows. The show was amazing (has there ever been a less-than-amazing Erdem collection?) and I was happy to see shoes that a human being could actually walk in (low heels and flats were actually a trend during LFW so yes, you can finally let go of all your 15 cm- torture instruments).

My first Burberry show

I literally had to run to make it, but it was worth it. During the last few years and thanks to Christopher Bailey's incredibly high-tech savvy social media team, the Burberry show has become one of the most important events not only of London Fashion Week, but of Fashion Month. It was actually really exciting to be there and have the honor of seeing the collection first-hand and of being deafened by the music (I hear it's always that loud. It's quite cool anyway). Later discussing the collection with fashion critic Godfrey Deeney, we both agreed on how smart and well thought it was, and how many desirable pieces there were (I personally loved the feathered dresses and trench coats). Christopher Bailey is one of the most interesting and clever personalities in fashion business, that's for sure, and his collections never fail to impress.

Thomas Tait's lush collection (and lush graffitis)

Tuesday morning. It was chilly outside and the first show was at 9 am after a 4 hour-night sleep. But all was forgotten as soon as I got to the skate park in which Thomas Tait's second ever show was to take place. It was all covered in multicolor graffitis. Coming from Paris, where the fashion industry is so grown up that street aesthetics would never be allowed on the runway, I was thrilled. I actually think that's when I decided I need way more London energy and vibes in my life and work. The show was fantastic and proved what everyone already suspected: that Mr Tait has mad talent and he's one to watch. Also, I would wear his organza bermudas and coats any day.

Drinking champers at Nasir Mazhar...

... and yes, feeling a little like Eddie Monsoon. Nasir's show was a hip hop performance that had everyone raving and jumping around at the Topshop venue; that mixed with the champagne and again the lack of food and sleep did make me feel like Eddie. I was just lacking her wardrobe. But seriously, the show was pretty cool, and it had a plus: the nails were done by the amazing artists at WAH nails!

My Bleach experience

After my very last show on tuesday, I headed to the Bleach hair salon on a whim (well, not really a whim, I had been wanting to do this for months) and asked for a green dip dye. It was a bit of a bold move, not so much because of the colour but mainly because I had a Eurostar to catch in about an hour and a half, which meant I had 80% chances of missing it #fashionUNconscious. But the ladies at Bleach are pretty much super heroes: they took me in and coloured my hair at a supersonic speed, making sure I didn't miss my train. They also gave me the exact shade of green I wanted. But what I loved the most about them was their enthusiasm and the fun they were having with their work! Which I guess it's kind of natural when you create such magical hairdos; it's a bit like creating unique works of art, no? I would have been all depressed in the Eurostar going back home if it wasn't for my amazing peacock-green do. All in all, I think losing my Bleach virginity has turned me into a Bleach addict... I'm already scheming on my next dye (pink and purple? Ombré blue?). Meanwhile, here's what I look like now.

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