Fit for the front row at London Fashion Week
London Fashion Week may be less polished than Paris or New York, but its audience is an altogether cooler crowd.
Monday 21 September 2009
It's no myth that everyone in fashion wears black, but it's especially true at London Fashion Week. Whether an LBD or a vinyl bodysuit by Gareth Pugh replete with gimp mask, the fashion pack like to look sombre while they celebrate.
It's just the cool way. Less groomed than New York, without Milan's glitz or Parisian polish, the capital has a tougher style that is influenced by street trends. When foreign buyers descend, it's a prime opportunity to play fashion I-spy: Italians favour high-voltage glamour; the French have left bouclé behind for a monied "with the band" look; and the Japanese don Balenciaga riding hats or Ferragamo pumps. But the Brits hold their own in dressed-down separates and retro apparel: less is more.
Broadly speaking, editors team their skinny jeans with mannish blazers, ballet pumps and expensive handbags; stylists wear floaty dresses with battered leathers and rock chick ankle boots; assistants scuttle from show to show in leather leggings, shoulder pads and grungy denims and plaid. And the students – those who manage to get in, that is – parade their undercuts and bondage trousers with alacrity.
We have one national treasure on our side, of course: the British high street. With such a selection on offer, who could to fail to achieve a front-row façade? Gossip Girl's Taylor Momsen, who jetted in for the Unique show yesterday, told The Independent fashion desk over Twitter that "LFW rocks!" She added a smiley, but she's only 16 and she'll soon learn that everyone frowns. Apart from at the shows, when they pout.
Rachael Proud, Buyer, Topshop Boutique
I go for practicality really, with great accessories to pick up the outfit a bit, such as an Hermès cuff, or an old Margiela cuff that I love. A typical outfit would be a white Topman T-shirt with some indigo Dior Homme jeans or a pair of Topshop's new ultra-skinny Jamie jeans. I'll always carry a great handbag, usually Pauric Sweeney or Fendi, which has to go across the body because I cycle between shows. I always go for flat shoes (because of the cycling), like sandals or a nice pair of Converse.
Emma Elwick, Market Editor, Vogue
As the weather has taken an autumnal turn I'll be in my Richard Nicoll blush wool shift. Also, the cobbles at Somerset House could prove treacherous, so I have some new charcoal and black plaid French Sole ballet pumps (a Christopher Kane homage!)
Kay Barron, Fashion News Editor, Grazia
I've bought a Natascha Stolle jacket, which will look great over American Apparel T-shirt dresses and paired with Burberry boots – thank God for the return of opaque tights! Other than that, I am planning a wardrobe of T-shirts from Christopher Shannon (I love wearing oversized menswear tees) and Marios Schwab, with faithful Acne jeans – both skinny and boyfriend, and an amazing Acne coat that's perfect for the trans-seasonal weather and can be flung over anything.
Erin Mullaney, Buying Director, Browns
I've ordered a Mark Fast fringed skirt to wear to his trunk show at Browns, as well as the leather biker trousers and oversized knit coat from Preen's winter show. I'm very excited about my white and blue cashmere striped sweater and double layer mini skirt in black from Meadham Kirchhoff, and for evening I'll be wearing a William Tempest strapless printed mini dress or long yellow printed gown by Erdem.
Calgary Avansino, Executive Fashion Editor, Vogue
I am working around a six-month baby bump this season so I am slightly impeded, but the key to a successful week is striking a balance between fashion and comfort. For shoes, it will be either thigh-high boots from Russell and Bromley or studded ankle black boots from Giuseppe Zanotti. On top, chunky knits by Stella McCartney, jumper dresses from Topshop, and Isabel Marant smocks. On the bottom, leggings and jeans from Donna Ida and Trilogy. Top that all off with either a classic trench (Burberry or Banana Republic are my favorites), a leather jacket (either a short one from Alexander Wang or a longer one from Joseph), or a regal military coat (D&G's are fabulous) if it gets really cold. Of course, sunglasses go without saying.
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