So me and my friend Emma managed to get some last minute tickets to London Fashion Weekend at Somerset House for just £16 which entitled us entry to both the catwalk show and shopping experience. We had entry between 9.30am and midday so we rocked up at abut 11.30 and headed to the main showcase area for the 12pm catwalk show. Before we queued up to enter the arena we decided to get our obligatory glass of prosecco to sip while we watched the show. Much to our surprise when we got in there we were only three rows back and right near the front so had some great seats considering it is a free for all and we were herded in like cattle and swished onto the wooded benches lining the catwalk. The room was decidedly hot too but gave us all a little impression of what it may have been like for celebrities, stylists, and journalists the previous week and despite the heat and overcrowding, im pretty sure I would have preferred to be in their seats watching the trend predictions for SS12 take to the catwalk, than at home all week.
Anyway, we sat sipping our champagne (Prosecco) waiting for the show to start and anticipating what exciting ensembles we might see before us. Before we knew it, Britain's Next Top Model judge and celebrity stylist, Grace Woodward, appeared before us and the show began. Rather than showing the fashionista filled audience the styles due to hit the shops in SS12, like in the shows the previous week, we enjoyed a selection of garments from Jaeger Osman, Bryce Aime and Le Rive Gauche for AW11.
Osman's latest collection took inspiration from the artist Catherine Yass's recent series of lightboxes, titled Decommissioned. The deep blue slick of colour used in this series was the starting point fir AW 11. An uplifting collection, Osman's precision, cut and approach reflect a feeling of minimal, modern yet whimsical luxury.
Bryce Aime 11
His collection focused on a strong, modern look, with distinctive yet unusual, graphic prints. The underlying inspiration revolves around the stereotypical militaristic features of an army barracks with an array of structure, classic tailoring and androgynous silhouettes.
Le Rive Gauche
Stealing reference from one of fashions most iconic images - Le Smoking by Helmut Lang; their first trend section highlighted the luxe and glamour in old school monochrome. The trick is to mix textures to create shadows and illusions; leather, suede, knit, satin, furs and silks. Think YSL tuxedos with oversized silk bow blouses, Lacroix tulles and grosgain bows, the classic tweeds, patents and pearls of Chanel, cigarette trousers in black satin with oversized cashmere sweaters slipping off shoulders, oversized glttering paste brooches and vertiginous heels.
The Shopping Experience
After the show finished we took to the rabbit warren shopping experience that is London Fashion Weekend. If i'm honest the layout isn't great for such an event compared to the likes of the clothes show where all the stalls are laid out in one big hall area, instead at Somerset House, there is an ecelctic mix of stalls, from vintage to designer, squashed into a series of small rooms screwn around the beautifully ornate building. The actual shopping experience is familiar to that of a car boot or jumble sale, meaning you really need to have a good rummage to seek out any little gems lurking among the aisles. If you are willing, and used to this kind of shopping then I am sure that you can find some really good items but I am not a massive fan of shops like TK Maxx or Primark so the experience was a bit tiresome for me.
Initially we took to the vintage area where there were some stunning bags and fur coats, but not as many accessories, jewellery or hats as I wanted, which was a bit disappointing. We decided to be quite restrained because you could easily max out your credit card without thinking. After leaving the vintage area we headed to the designer section, which although a lot of the items were 40% reduced, they were still relatively pricey. I did manage to pick up a belt from Twenty8Twelve though for just £20 from £50, which I was pretty pleased with.
However after trapsing around the arena for a good few hours, our feet got the better of us and we decided to leave and get ourselves a well-deserved drink. I would certainly recommend taking your mum with you, an empty credit card, the willingness to rummage and an idea of what you might like to buy before you head there!
We had a fab day out and it was a fun experience but I think i'll leave it for next year!