London Fashion Week: Your cut-out-and-keep guide
It's London Fashion Week, and, for those who aren't privileged enough to witness the proceedings first hand, there follows a cut-out-and-keep guide to any media hype, reasons to be cheerful – or, indeed, miserable – and, of course, top tips (sartorial) that may be of interest. And all from the safety of your own home.
1. There is always an unusually big-name event on the agenda – London may be a hotbed of young talent but it will never be as starry as New York, Milan or Paris. Marc Jacobs and Giorgio Armani have both had their turn showing in the British fashion capital in recent seasons. This time, Dame Vivienne Westwood, who shows mainly in Paris, is guest of honour. This is a good thing. She's British. And she's brilliant.
2. There is also always a broader issue springing from the shows that the mainstream media like to get hold of, safe in the knowledge that editors (mostly male) are still not overly interested in a dress, however impressively crafted it may or may not be. The use of real fur has had its day. For now, it's all about size zero. Cue endless articles (mainly unsavoury) drawing attention to models who may or may not be ill.
3. The shows wouldn't be the shows without an army of über-fashionable young Japanese women outside every venue taking the picture of anyone they consider to be interestingly dressed. These people are extremely good at their jobs and never miss a trick, be it a pair of good shoes – a Prada hand-carved heel will no doubt go down a storm this time round – or something more extreme. An oversized bow worn in the hair, or a pair of Mickey Mouse ears courtesy of Comme des Garçons are both guaranteed winners. Dix points.
4. While the holy grail that is "doing a Burberry" remains elusive, it's not for want of trying. Aquascutum now regularly has a London Fashion Week show. As do Asprey and Biba. This time round, Jaeger takes to the catwalk for the first time, and a new Ossie Clark collection will be shown. Do say: "Yes, the time to reinvent the bias-cut frock is ripe." Don't say: "Will Mr Aquascutum be available for interview backstage?"
5. Finally, the true fashion insider wouldn't be worth her (or, indeed, his) credentials if he/she didn't like a good moan. Moan about having to cross London (yes, the path from East to West is a thorny one, if the average fashion editor forced to follow it three times a day is to be believed). Moan about not having had anything to eat (it's not, strictly speaking, true that eating is widely considered over-rated). Moan about early starts (early-bird shows are considered grossly ill-mannered) but not late nights (a 9pm start for a show scheduled for 7pm isn't rude – it's just fashionable).
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