A few weeks ago, I found myself on a train to London. At least once every few months I make that same five hour trip for work, to visit friends, or to eat my way across the city with dogged determination. This was different. This was the one thing I’d brought up in conversation with every friend, acquaintance and cab driver since I got the news. I was going to London Fashion Week.
It started with a post on a Facebook group back in January; PlusMinus Magazine were looking for writers to cover LFW, and I thought I’d try to land one of the places. I genuinely did not expect to be picked. My blog is tiny, I’m a relative newbie, and most importantly, I am NOT A FASHION BLOGGER. I have written a grand whopping total of three outfit posts in the two years since I started blogging, and in one of them I dressed up like a unicorn and made Long Suffering Employee of the Year Rhory take photos of me prancing around my gallery. I am not dignified. I don’t embody casual elegance. My aesthetic is more what the result of My Little Pony’s one-night-stand with a Victorian sailor in a box of Crayolas would look like.
I’ve always wanted to go to LFW. Every year I arrive in London just days after the Spring-Summer collections wrap up in September; the super trendy fashion set are packing up their suitcases and moving out to make way for the geekier, technical design crew. Architects and interior designers, industrial and product designers; those of us who spend our days looking at walls and rooms, and things in rooms, descend upon London just as the LFW designers, stylists, MUAs, PR people, journalists, magazine editors and bloggers prepare to ship out.
Thanks to PlusMinus, this year I was given one of the few spots to attend LFW with them. I’d always said that I wouldn’t go down to London just to “soak up” the atmosphere or wait for someone to snap pics of me for StreetStyle. I’m so damned happy I finally got to realise the dream. I was going to LFW – as a writer.
It was a weekend of firsts for me; first LFW, first time in a press lounge, first stay in an Airbnb above a sex shop…I set out on Thursday afternoon, kissed my dog and flatmate goodbye, and braved the big city lights with confusion on my face and a suitcase full of hopefully fashion-forward clothing.
This weekend I will be for the first time ever posting every single day. When I originally started writing this post, I didn’t realise HOW MUCH actually happened. Far too much to fit into one single blog post. So let’s start from the beginning…
Wake up, shower, try on every outfit (I brought 6) I packed & desperately hate them all. I tuck and untuck my shirt a dozen times before I deem my look acceptable to leave the flat; getting dressed for LFW is tiring. Bespoke Totty Rocks pink and green colour-block top, black high waisted skater skirt, black opaques, and a pair of Irregular Choice velvet brogues that are a mismatched pair. Yes, my left and right shoe do not look the same. I am a fashion rebel. Right paw is pink, left paw is blue, and this is all the sartorial statement the world will be getting from me today. My jacket is probably one of the more “fashiony” items I own, a Pinko velvet biker with embroidery across the back. I’m still not sure what it says
Turn up to the wrong fucking hotel to meet the rest of the PlusMinus team. Get taxi across town, frantically texting the group chat the whole way
Arrive at the Felicities press lounge at the ME hotel. We’re given our tickets for the day and before I can remember everyone’s names, we’ve dispersed
Oxo Tower Bargehouse. I don’t know what I’m doing. Can people tell I don’t know what I’m doing? We have tickets for Leon Lloyd London and Boo Pala; they are stylistically on opposite ends of the spectrum but equally gorgeous. I don’t want to leave Leon Lloyd. Everything about that collection was technically and visually beautiful, and I can’t stop staring at the impeccable use of draping on one of the jackets. Boo Pala, on the other hand, was edgy as fuck, and the models were so cool. So. Much. Fashion.
Head to Bermondsey because I forgot to pack shoes for going out and last minute ordered a pair online. This isn’t a shop, it’s a warehouse; this is how desperate I was for these shoes
Nip back to my Airbnb to drop off the shoes. Yes, it took that taxi an hour to get from the Oxo Tower to Soho via Bermondsey; either I have no idea how far things are in London, or that driver was having a laugh at my expense
Eat half of some sort of grilled vegetable flatbread picked up from the deli next door. Contemplate my outfit, decide it looks shit. Leave anyways
Head back to Oxo Tower. Wander around near the entrance, check schedule twice. Nope, I was right the first time – there isn’t another show on that I have tickets for until 4pm. What a chilled day. I wonder if the rest of the weekend will be so relaxed? (Spoiler alert: it was not). Sip green tea for an hour in the Caffe Nero opposite the Oxo Tower Bargehouse
with Char from Memoirs & Musings
Peter Issep. Menswear. Two incredible looking lassies approach me & ask for a photo; I think they want me to take their pic. Apparently not. I stand awkwardly as they take snaps of my outfit. The show starts about 5 minutes later; it’s somewhere between a show and a presentation, and it takes me a minute to adjust to getting my photographs. I give up 2 models in and start videoing instead
Stand around. Is there another show? I mean, we’re in a room that looks like a presentation might occur soon, but these people could just be hanging out, checking their emails and looking way cooler than me
Get a text from PlusMinus; the Mark Fast show starts at 5:30. We get a taxi to Freemasons Hall
Start queuing for Mark Fast. My first queue of LFW! How exciting! (Spoiler alert: queues are not exciting). There’s a man in an incredible coat in front of us, so I take my first ever StreetStyle photo; only I don’t realise that’s what this is called. I am way too shy to do this on the regular
We get let into the Mark Fast show. This is the first time I’ve been inside the Freemasons Hall, and my first fashion show at LFW. I honestly don’t know where to look; the design geek in me is admiring the wrought iron gates, stained glass detailing and the decorative pillars
The show starts. We don’t have seats for this one, so we’re standing as close to those damned iron gates as we can get. Everything is stunning. Bright statement oranges, reds and fuchsias on knits embellished with fringing, feathers and chiffon. I’m so glad this is my first proper show, because it’s just so damned pretty
We all stagger out of the venue a little shellshocked. It’s completely dark outside
Head back to my Airbnb to charge my phone and change into those pesky shoes I trekked all the way around London to pick up. I decide to change my top too, so I’ve now got on a red and black polka dotted blouse with a giant bow. I also simultaneously realise i hate the word “blouse”. All my photos from the day get uploaded to Instagram
Grooming Room Launch Party at Century Club, which is thankfully (for my wee feet in their new shoes) 5 minutes away from the flat. We’re handed a free cocktail on arrival, which I am convinced contains Blue Bols. I eye it with suspicion. Turns out the glass is just blue, and I am an idiot. At some point during the night I go outside for a bit of fresh air, and meet a fellow Canadian. She turns out to be Rebekah Roy, the awesome stylist for David Ferreira’s “Freakball”. I am also introduced to David and Pedro; David is wearing an incredible zebra print coat. I feel like a total Fashion Week newbie and am still a little dazzled by the whole situation. I end up leaving the party at 11pm, which is early for me, but I am exhausted. I crawl home, feet in pain, only slightly drunk.
Join me tomorrow for Part 2 of the Chronicles of a Fashionably Clueless Blogger at LFW! In the meantime, have a read of the pieces I’ve written for PlusMinus so far. It’s been so exciting to see my words in print, in an actual magazine!