Live from London Fashion Week 2010

LFW

Somerset House by The Thames River (just down the road from Covent Garden) hosted this year’s prestigious London Fashion Week (LFW), September 17 to 22, and we were there to witness the showcase of what we’ll all be wearing in the near future.

The entire precinct was buzzing with excited energy as fashionistas, models, journalists, photographers, make-up artists, stylists and celebrities like Naomi Campbell, Kristen Stewart, Kate Hudson and Sarah Jessica Parker shimmied through the fashion-flavoured menu. Street style surrounding the venue was just as important as the looks presented on the runway, and fortunately rain stayed away making it easier for guests not to slip on their stilettos across the old London cobblestoned streets around the main exhibition. A marquee on the Somerset House Terrace provided delicious cuisine, all-important champagne and DJs – a place of respite to weary guests with sore feet waiting eagerly for the next show. If in need of a swift pamper session during show breaks, staff at the Toni & Guy Blow-Out Bar and M.A.C Lounge were on-hand to assist, while dispersing insider tips on what’s new and hot in hair and beauty in the coming seasons.

In between bubbly, styling and catwalk action in the electric BFC Show Space, the hoards of special guests could browse the four floors of Designer Exhibitions showcasing almost 200 ready-to-wear, couture, millinery, and accessory artists, including 60 up-and-coming designers. Some names to watch from this year’s LFW Exhibition that are also making waves in Australia include Evil Twin, Staple, Bolongaro Trevor, Myla luxury lingerie and Wolford.

Several high-tech lounge areas offered laptops and fast internet facilities because this year the online component of LFW was strong, with not only many a fashion editor blogging their thoughts as the shows went live, but Twitter buzz was completely crazy with opinions, event options, details from inside exclusive parties, and crucial ‘instant trend’ updates. Catwalk shows streamed live from the London Fashion Week website, and images were added immediately. Now, even if you aren’t front row, the action can still be enjoyed in real-time.

Of course, everyone was really at LFW for the fashion. The most popular trends emerging for next season include lots of short flouncy dresses, ‘relaxed city chic’ styles (eg. cropped box shirts, three-quarter length Capri pants/ trousers with wedges and large ‘messenger’ handbags), more feminine designs, and bright colour splashed against neutral palettes. Animal prints and sparkles are still alive and well, although not necessarily paired together! Designer highlights of the season included shows from Burberry, Paul Costelloe, Maria Grachvogel, Caroline Charles, Hannah Marshall, PPQ, John Rocha, Brasso & Brooke, Vivienne Westwood Red Label, Kinder Aggugini, Jaeger London, Paul Smith, Pringle of Scotland, the exciting ‘NewGen’ series of hot new fashion talent, and of course Australia’s own Sass & Bide.

Sarah-Jane Clarke and Heidi Middleton of the popular Australian label say that “perfectly shaped chaos” is what is inspiring them for the upcoming season, and they enjoy time spent in London (when away from their Sydney home base) because “the faded grandeur of times past” influences their creative thinking.

Betty Jackson’s show was another hit this year. She says on what’s new for her this season: “We have softened the utilitarian feel of our autumn/winter collection to create a fresher, more feminine silhouette. There are more elements of fun too – bold colours, feathers and unexpected fabric combinations.”

The best part about all this is that no matter where you are in the world, if you’re into fashion and want to see for yourself what everyone will be wearing soon, all the catwalk galleries and fashion videos are online now at www.londonfashionweek.co.uk

 

 

 

Tales from Starbucks

It’s another day at the office for me as I sit in Starbucks somewhere in the middle of Bayswater. Ever since Cooper started work my ‘full time’ job has been to find a job. Evidently a small room in a dense block of flats is a little uninspiring, so I’ve found myself reveling among other London-based job seekers/students/travellers, all with the same idea – free WiFi, coffee, atmosphere and company at our local Starbucks. The only issue is the daily race to secure one the few power points in the restaurant. Note to the two business people speaking French during yesterday’s endeavour – share! Also, note to the couple who snuck the gorgeous white Labrador in and who sat next to me for half an hour – I don’t think that’s allowed but I’m not going to complain!

I’m going to have to say something about this soundtrack though… it hasn’t changed in over a week.

As I sift through the endless daily job-mail emails I’ve subscribed to and applying for everything and anything that may be vaguely relevant, I am resigned to the fact that of the hundreds of jobs I’ll apply for over the coming week, like the thousands of unemployed here at the moment I won’t hear back from 99% I’ve applied for.

I’m not depressed, but a little bewildered as to what to try next (although I’m not out of ideas, so all good for now). I’ve YouTubed for advice, only to discover many other young hopefuls have posted rants about their plight for work too, and rather than be inspiring, their stories were depressing. Many of them have nothing. Similarly my LinkedIn colleagues aren’t being overly helpful, and I’ve contacted every editor, PR company and network I can think of with not much response at all. Even despite a very sweet Twitter campaign begun by my @UniSex Magazine friends in Sydney who were trying to catch the attention of a certain London-based celebrity asking if he’d hire me (and no Darren, I’m not stalking you), there’s been no further leads on work.

Last week seemed promising, as several recruitment companies took my details, tested my expertise and are now on the lookout for work; but this week, very very quiet. Except for the sound of Frappacinos being mixed in the background, that is.

I’m learning quite a lot through this experience though. Recruitment companies here have been really helpful with tips on how to refine the resume, sell yourself in interviews, create little narratives around past work experience etc. My interview technique and resume will be absolutely perfect following this little adventure, and I’m thinking that it’s a bit like that old phrase – if you can make it in New York or London, you can make it anywhere. The landscape here is vast, competitive and specialised.

The only way forward is to keep at it though, and I’m already working on some pitches and unique angles to get myself noticed. At the moment it really feels like your resume just shoots into cyberspace and floats somewhere out there between Far Away Land and a Long Time Ago in a Galaxy Far Away. I know I’m not alone though (which is a good and bad thing) and I suppose it means I’ve got to get more creative in my applications.

Still, I have a coffee meeting with an editor of a fab mag on Friday (fingers crossed) and a plan for some further industry related study (while in London might as well brush up with the best of the best). I’ve also managed to score media accred into London Fashion Week (one of my ‘to do’s’ ticked off the UK list!) which begins at the end of this week, so that’s very exciting!

Experience and challenge, that is why I came here – and you never know what tomorrow will bring in the big city.

SB x

 

Settling into London

Week 2 Finding a flat and preparing for school.

Once the pressure of finding a place to live (a stressful experience where you compete with other foreigners for days, while you wander all over London viewing properties, I had to open a bank account (hint: you need to have a place of residence before you can achieve this), organise a sim card etc only then did I feel less stressed. This anxiety was made all the more easier thanks to the professionalism of Smart Teachers the recruitment agency I consulted to find employment in the UK.

After cleaning (I mean sterilising) my studio flat, I finally had a place to call home, at least for the next six months anyway. I could at last call my principal and organise a meet and greet. So far, all correspondence had been through emails and a 90 minute phone interview several months prior. Now I can meet my principal and check out my new school instead viewing via Google.

I’ll be honest, I’m a little anxious as to what I can expect from my new class of 30 year five students. Almost everyone I’ve spoken to who have worked in the UK all echo the same horror stories of the behaviour they encountered in the classroom. Now I’ve had my fair share of challenging (some naughty) children in the classroom, but some of the stories are quite horrifying.

Much to my relief, my headmaster set my mind at ease, as I was given the guided tour around my school in Dollis Hill overlooking London in the distance. To get to my school, Transport I have to catch the tube from Queensway on the Central line, swap to the Jubilee line (24 minutes) and then jump on a bus from Willesden Green (stop B) to my school (14 minutes), followed by a 150 metre walk. I enjoy catching the red double decker bus as I pass through the suburbs of north west London. My £25 Oyster Card covers all travel expenses.

The following Wednesday, I thought It would be wise to practice heading to work, to allow for any problems. Smart move, I ended up on the wrong bus at a shopping centre in Crickelwood. I arrived at work an hour later to set up my classroom. Note to self don’t catch the 302. After several attempts I had mastered the trip.

One more week before school starts, and that excited feeling of anxiety returns.

Cooper.

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