They say never work with children or animals. I can confidently add a third: never work with your mother. Or, at least, never bring her to fashion week.
It's not because I don't value her opinion. I do. But it's often acerbic. The most common comment made was: “I can see where you get it from”, as my mother laid into any designer unfortunate enough to use matelassé in their spring 2014 collection. I say matelassé; she says Sixties crimplene from C&A. At certain inopportune moments, she would dig me in the ribs and hiss: “Why do they all look so grumpy?” She meant the models, rather than the fashion hacks, but it could have been both.
I suppose fashion is really all about perception. And often, cosseted in the fashion world atop our ivory towers, it's easy to overlook the fundamental questions of fashion. Those have nothing to do with new dimensions of transparency, self-aware sensuality or deconstructed lines. Women – and men for that matter – aren't asking themselves deep and meaningful questions about the intellectual origins of their clothing. They're asking: does it look good? Will it make me look good? Is it worth it?
Those simple questions are ones I rarely ask, honestly. I get caught up in the conceptual excitement of the whole thing; of clothes that look stunning on models who are genetically predetermined to look stunning in everything. Fashion is a mirage. A fashion show isn't really about real clothes. It's about projecting the image of the designer. It's great if you can wear the stuff, but never be fooled into thinking that's the actual point.
I relayed some of that to my mother. She grimaced. She wasn't buying it. And she won't be buying much of the spring 2014 collections, it seems. Her comment on the whole experience? “When you invited me to London Fashion Week for the day, I didn't realise it was a form of retribution!
Who would do this for a living?“ Wise words.