Beyond the catwalk and behind the scenes
Last season was my first experience of London Fashion Week and I discovered that there was so much more to this event than just the catwalk shows and the after parties. Nestled within the wings of Somerset House are a host of showrooms where up and coming designers are exhibiting their wares for the press, bloggers and buyers are invited along with the hope that these young brands will get publicity, stockists and sales. It’s rather like a rabbit warren offering an abundance treats and treasures. You’ll be wowed by the sublime and ridiculous and amazed by the quality of fabrics and materials used to create everything from 3D printed jewellery to hand-crafted hats.
I began my tour of the showrooms in the NewGen cafe, a stunning room in which the finest fashion literature was on display. While I would necessarily call myself I bookworm, I definitely want to get my hands on Manolo Blanik’s version of ‘The elves and the shoemaker’ if only to capitalise on some childhood nostalgia.
So you call that a hat?
The millinery skills of the designers at Fashion Week are worthy of exhibiting at any credible art gallery. I’ve rarely come across something that I would categorise as ‘Ready-to-wear’ but perhaps this time around the Lada Gaga-esque fascinators might be the most likely headwear to make it into my wardrobe. I think I’ll leave the more avant-garde styles for the rich and famous who will have the money to find the perfect outfit to match these extraodinary creations.
Futuristic headwear, ideal for the Lady Gagas of the world
Nest heads – Headwear for the catwalk
Plastic fantastic – An incredible work of art by Maiko Takeda – One to watch
Shoes, shoes and more shoes
If the showrooms are anything to go by, my take on next seasons shoe trends is that nudes and brights will be key when it comes to colour; Intricately sculpted skinny stilettos will be the jewel in the crown of heels but platforms and wedges will the principal staple in every girls wardrobe in SS14.
Satin shoes with gold flamingo heels
Nude patent platform heels with stunning leaf like heel
Coral red leather platform peep toes
Platform wedges in gold and bright floral print
Razzle dazzle ’em
While I was drifting around the jewellery showrooms I was told politely by one designer, who will not be named, that she was more than happy for me to photograph her collection but absolutely not allowed to tweet or instagram anything on show. It seems that it’s not just the stones being used were precious here. That aside, the colours were dazzling and the designs, captivating. To give any of these beautifully crafted pieces a simple outfit is a must. Unless of course bling, bling bling is your thing.
More is more with this bright, pearl and precious stone laden jewellery collection
Lola Rose knows – Gorgeous pastel bangles with rose-tinted metal trimmings
Layers of varying shapes and colour finished beautifully with beaded tassels
An eclectic collection of pieces crafted with pink on gold
A colourful collection of bejewelled pieces by Deepa Gurnani
Handbags for your glad rags
Whatever your style, classic, quirky or future cool there were definitely designs to suit every woman and every outfit. I’d spotted the American Express lizard handbags worn by the concierge team around Somerset House but I was delighted by this little crab handbag which almost looked a little embarrassed or shy. I can’t say I’d buy or wear it myself but the touch of the textured leather was just, well, lovely.
The white leather crab bag
The classic collection in hot pink and nude and chocolate brown with gold straps and clasps
The future’s bright. The future’s orange with a white cubed bottom for extra stability
Technology: The ultimate accessory for Fashion Week
In spite of all gorgeous treats on offer, the one accessory that seemed be within the clutches of every fashionista was either an iPhone, iPad, a Samsung Galaxy watch or tablet. Is technology the final frontier when it comes to fashion? We’re all using it to share photos and news online from the event – that’s another blog post in the making – but I’ve yet to see a designer exhibiting accessories for your tech accessories. Perhaps we’ll see that in February at A/W14?
Hairnet, sweater and nails to match her iPhone
Coordinating her iPad cover to match her top and go with her bag