London Fashion Week: The bluffer’s guide

Get ahead of the international style pack with Alexander Fury’s indispensable crib sheet of what to say, wear and do when braving the catwalk jungle circa spring/summer 2014. Which, in case your calendar claims otherwise, arrives in the capital on Friday…
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London Fashion Week is about to begin – and the action has already kicked off across the pond. The obvious question for the fashion hacks schlepping around the globe isn’t what next, but what now. Namely, what to wear, say, do…  We get easily confused.

The Look

Catwalk cast-offs

The ultimate mark of catwalk kudos is five-finger fashion – the ability to filch samples from designers moments after they appear on the catwalk. Anna Dello Russo is your go-to girl, sporting looks still warm from the models’ backsides. It’s the high-fashion equivalent of big-game hunting. Save the big guns (Mary Katrantzou lampshades, Altuzarra leatherette) for the Chanel show in Paris. And wear shades to shield yourself from the street-style paps.

Sensible shoes

Expect fashion week to bring glamazons gingerly picking their way across the Somerset House cobblestones in higher-than-high heels? Think again. The press cadre don’t have time for geisha-gait platforms: brogues and trainers all the way. Easier to run for shows, cabs, cars, planes…

Old Clothes

After all that kerfuffle, isn’t there something terribly last season about wearing next season this season? Half the time you see someone sporting something amazing, it’s five-season-old Miu Miu, sale-rack Fendi or something they picked up on eBay.

The talk


An abbreviation of “obviously”. Because it’s difficult to finish entire words on such a packed schedule (59 London shows at last count – New York runs in the hundreds). Plus fits better in a tweet #efficient.

The fashions/ trouser

This season, London Fashion Week is brought to you by the letter “S”. It is S/S 2014 after all. But dropping or adding the 19th letter of the alphabet is all-important. Trousers become “trouser” in fashion – much more decisive, sounds better when shouted across a crowded catwalk. And fashion itself becomes “The Fashions”, all-round terminology for the four-city fashion circus taken up en masse by the Brits. Elle Collections even used it as the title for the tug-out newspaper in their latest issue.

Fashion weak

A personal favourite, if only expressed via text: the inevitable flop that happens around the 7pm shows (with two hours of a 13-hour working day still to go). Alas, designers tend to serve champagne instead of turpentine-strength coffee at this point in the day. It does little to help.

The manners

No kids

They may well be coining catchphrases, but children at fashion shows are unacceptable. Net-a -porter’s Natalie Massenet may be trying to cajole the whole of London into frocking-up come fashion week, but even she stated that the shows are, in effect, a big fancy-pants trade show. No kids allowed.

No tears

This excludes the models: shoehorned into too-tight frocks and too-small shoes with pins embedded in every acupuncture no-no spot. A few tears are permitted. One model allegedly vomited at a Dior couture show because her corset was too tight. But for us mere mortals, PR powerhouse Kelly Cutrone’s words stand true: if you have to cry, go outside.

No time

Don’t walk, run. Time waits for no man, nor woman. And I’d rather not be dawdling behind you either. There are fashions to be seen!