The crazy time of London Fashion Week is here – and I couldn’t be happier about it. There’s nothing quite like the buzz of LFW; the atmosphere at the shows, the beauty of the clothes, the shameless celeb spotting and – my favourite thing – checking out the weird and wonderful street style.
And so it begins, my report from frontline London Fashion Week. So far.
Saturday 15th February – 3pm
Well, here I sit, writing this in the afternoon from the comfort of the Debenhams LFW Boutique, a place for press to come and relax, recharge and report on the shows. Housed in our Oxford Street store Press Office, the Boutique has all the fashion set needs in this manic time, offering refreshments, laptops – and Debenhams’ latest collections should they feel in need of a change of clothes. After the earlier downpour while waiting to enter the John Rocha show, I’m expecting quite the turnout.
Next stop for Debenhams is the Julien Macdonald show, which I’ll be heading to later via the House of Holland. The day began at 9am for Jasper Conran (not an easy feat after the late revelling post last night’s Todd Lynn show) followed by the aforementioned John Rocha at 1pm.
So what have the shows been like so far? And who’s been spotted at the FROW? Allow me to take you through it…
My first show of the season, held yesterday on day 1, I was particularly excited for the Todd Lynn show, namely because it was being held in the infamous venue, The Box. So far, so Todd. Known for its outlandish, seductive cabaret shows, I was intrigued to see if the designer would stick to his usual goth-inspired, masculine meets feminine style for AW14.
It would seem so, I’m happy to report. With a collection that mainly encompassed black, with a little dark green and flashes of silver, the goth is clearly alive and well – albeit with a sophisticated edge. Next season, boy meets girl is clearly staying strong; expect bra cups inserted into tailored pieces and dress coats with blazers on top. Pleated skirts were teamed with sleek, chic coats and dyed fur stoles added soft textures to this fierce collection. The look was formal glam, and I – formally – loved it.
For a girl who also prefers to dress with a mix of classy lady and total tomboy, this is one designer I’ll definitely be keeping an eye on. And a collection I’ll be saving up for.
At Jasper Conran, the ladylike side of me was instantly inspired, with a collection aimed at exploring the art of dressing a woman.
From beautiful nudes to statement reds, the colours here showcased the classics. Cashmere, soft leathers and silk tule dresses also ensured the fabrics reflected the utmost quality. Packed full of chic outfits ideal for day-to-night dressing, I couldn’t help earmarking a stunning metallic dress that’s definitely making my wish list next AW14. Fit for the office? Looking that fabulous, I’d definitely be expecting a sparkling promotion.
And why not? Thanks to a collection that manages to project high-end quality with everyday wearability, Jasper has shown why his own distinguished career continues to go from strength to strength.
A true exploration of romanticism, the John Rocha show took us on a journey through dark and light, sophisticated youth and a sense of nonchalance vs passion.
Mixing a range of textures, I loved the handmade raffia lace and the black dresses with full flared skirts and floral appliqué detail. John’s signature silks, chiffons and organzas also made an appearance in the form of oversized headpieces, collars and corsages.
One standout piece for me was a red coat in luxury velvet and a voluminous silhouette. To me, this was classic Rocha. The perfect mix of structure, texture and unique sense of style.
And there we have it, my LFW experience so far. And, with that, it’s time for me to leave the comfort of our Debenhams LFW Boutique and chance another downpour. Given I’m heading to the House of Holland show, followed by Julien Macdonald, I think it might be worth it. If I’m lucky Mr Harry Styles, often spotted front row supporting Henry, will let me share his umbrella.
Check my in the morning for my report on Henry, Julien… and maybe Harry. After all, our show must go on.
Sunday 16th February – 11am
Well here I am, with a sense of deja vu, sipping another latte in the LFW Boutique at Debenhams, happy that the sun is shining and eager to see what’s to come on day 3 of LFW.
The day did, in fact, begin at 9am for Preen (seriously LFW, what’s with all the early starts?) and so, before I take in Matthew Williamson and Jonathan Saunders later (at a respectable hour) I thought I’d take you through the shows from last night, and this morning. Was Preen worth getting up for? Read on to find out…
House of Holland
With a theme inspired by ‘Debauched Debutantes’ and rich, rebellious ‘Tatler-type’ girls, this was one show that was always going to get the crowd talking – a crowd that consisted of Daisy Lowe, Eliza Doolittle and Kelly Osbourne, no less.
And what of the clothes? I have to say, I love it when fashion comes over all fun and quirky, and with an abundance of sequins, 80s style denim and ruffles, not to mention dresses with embellished lipsticks and velvet fabrics – this is one collection I’d definitely go underground for.
A poster boy for fashion that doesn’t play by the rules, I loved eyeing up Henry’s sexy sequin jumpers and fuchsia pink crop tops – the future for House of Holland is most definitely bright.
So much so, I even managed to get over my disappointment at Harry Styles’ no-show.
Always a dazzling affair, the front row for Julien boasted Coco Rocha, Abbey Clancy and Millie Macintosh. But what of the fashion? Well, the only thing that shone more than the flash of paparazzi bulbs, was the metallic display on the catwalk itself. Talk about heavy metal.
While some dresses were only for the fashion/body-brave thanks to their leaving next-to-nothing to the imagination but for a few strategically placed oriental or peacock-inspired details, I couldn’t fault the beauty and skill associated with the garments.
Inspired by architecture and stained-glass windows, the AW14 collection for Julien Macdonald was a vision of gold, bronze and silver, with a few vibrant shades of blue and green added into the mix – I also loved the incorporation of feathers and crochet. The sheer skill involved in this collection made it clear that, while Julien may be slightly out of time on the dance floor, when it comes to the catwalk he never steps out of place.
Even though I’m not one for early starts on the weekend, I do like the element of surprise – and waking to find Star Wars merging with high fashion certainly provided an element of that. Was I still dreaming? Apparently not. But, given I arrived at the show to be confronted with life-size Stormtroopers, I think it was a fair enough question.
I do love a good motif, I just never expected to be coveting one with Darth Vader but… it worked surprisingly well in a collection that mixed classic black with chic creams and the brightest of red. Always the go-to brand for easy-to-wear, grown-up clothes, Preen today injected a sense of fun into their fashion – and the crowd lapped it up.
There was still plenty for the die-hard Preen fan though, don’t worry. The label is renowned for its sense of femininity and today this was more than evident in the round-up of pretty flowing dresses, drop waist silhouettes, cocoon coats and romantic lace, plus the label’s trademark spliced hem skirts and digital prints.
Me? I’ve still got my eye on a Darth Vader motif and the garments that gave a nod to a seventies disco feel. I’m just wondering if I should be accessorising with a lightsaber and a Stormtrooper?
And that’s it for our round-up so far. For now, I’m off to see what Star Wars inspired toys we stock at Debenhams.com. Check back later for more reports on those still-to-come shows.
Sunday 16th February – 10pm
The end of day 3 – and the end of my LFW. So, how’s it been? Who’s been my favourite designer, which was my favourite show and which celeb was the best spot?
Well, before I round-up the last few days, first I need to tell you all about the Matthew Williamson show – and the abundance of celebs spotted in the FROW.
In line with other trends we’ve seen on the LFW AW14 radar, the 1970s were brought to life at Matthew Williamson with a show reminiscent of the era’s high glamour. Given how glamorous the front row turnout was (Coco Rocha, Poppy Delevigne, Olivia Palmero to name a few) I’d say the collection definitely fit the guests.
From sequins galore in many forms of stripes and swirls, to embellished jumpers and polka dots aplenty, the garments were indeed the epitome of glamour. Among my personal favourites were the sexy silver mini dress and the printed, bejewelled-trim jumpsuits. I’m snapping up the red version and heading straight down the disco.
The designer claims he was inspired by a woman who is ‘strong, empowered and composed’ – yet I’m afraid I can’t promise ‘composed’ will be anything close to my behaviour when this AW14 collection hits the MW store.
So that’s it for me. My LFW is done. Yes, it may technically still be ongoing, but tomorrow I’m due in the office with a million projects and imminent deadlines awaiting my attention. So what’s been my highlight?
Well, on a fashion front, it’s hard to tell. I may have had my favourites before (that will stay my little secret), but I can honestly say I fell in love with one or two items at every show. And I mean a real ‘I-have-to-have-that-or-life-won’t-be-worth-living’ kinda love, not just a so-so appreciation.
On a not-so-fashion-related front, the moment where I ducked down behind Made in Chelsea’s Victoria (she was being snapped by the paparazzi) is probably the closest I came to making it into the tabloids, but at least I made it onto one or two ‘Street Style’ sites, snapped myself entering the John Rocha show – wearing my favourite pale pink cocoon coat from Red Herring, of course. And to think that was the day I opted for ‘dressed-down chic’. Thank you Red Herring.
And this is what I love about LFW; the way it can lend a certain touch of sparkle to everything around it – and all involved in it. I always feel, if only for a few days, that all that exists is a world of vibrant colours, innate designs and luxurious fabrics. Why isn’t life always so beautiful?
Maybe it can be. Check out Debenhams.com, and this blog, over the coming week for a detailed round up of the new SS14 trends, ready to shop. From brights to florals, tribal to retro, we’ve got the collections for a life made beautiful.
The majority of this report could not have been written were it not for the fabulous security team at Debenhams HO. This morning I realised that, having been in a rush last night to make it to Todd Lynn’s 7pm show, I’d left all the weekend’s invitations locked up in my desk. Cue a mad dash to the office to throw myself on the mercy of the on-duty security guard.
Thank you, thank you, thank you to the friendly chap who escorted me upstairs and waited while I collected all I needed – I hope the fashion advice I gave you was a suitable indication of my gratitude.