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