Column One: Mwah! Mwah! Fashion is such fun, Jasper - News - The Independent

Column One: Mwah! Mwah! Fashion is such fun, Jasper

I'M GOING to a fashion show! A proper one with proper frocks and proper models and a proper catwalk and everything! I am quite excited. Although, by this, I don't want you to think I've never been to a show before - zut alors, as they say in Paris! I once, I think, attended a "special evening" at Bhs for its most valued card-holders although, admittedly, this was less haute couture and more bedside lighting plus a unique opportunity to view the next big thing in home furnishings.

This, however, is London Fashion Week. And the show is Jasper Conran's Spring/ Summer 2000 Collection. The invitation is lovely. Sort of white on white such that you have to squint sideways at it under your bedside light (Bhs, pounds 7.99) to work out where you have to go to (West Lawn Tent, Natural History Museum).

I am, of course, very keen not to make a fool of myself, and would have looked incredibly cutting edge had I known what cutting edge is, rather than what it is not - which, I suspect, includes Dr Scholls, pop socks, and Dr Scholls teamed with pop-socks.

Still, I have made something of an effort. I am wearing jeans, but they are, at least, clean jeans rather than yesterday's jeans with the previous day's knickers caught up one leg. This is one of those mishaps you can usually get away with until around lunch-time, when someone kindly points out you have a strange bulge above your left knee, and you then have to pretend it is some kind of nasty tumour.

Nevertheless, I think I manage to cut it. Certainly, the moment I arrive at the venue I am immediately approached by a boy who asks: "Are you the Metro competition winner?" He is most taken aback whenI bark: "I'm from Vogue, actually, you silly boy!' And: "I've been flown in especially to do

a story on what this season has in store for men's pockets! Out my way, nincompoop!"

I stand in the queue. You have to stand in the queue, even with a ticket possibly because, if there wasn't a queue, you wouldn't want the ticket. Anyway, standing here I spot one Nicky Clarke, one Leslie Ash, 47 men whom I might have mistaken for Nicky Clarke had Nicky Clarke not been here himself, 58 women I might have mistaken for Leslie Ash had Leslie Ash not been here herself, 597 pairs of sunglasses, 18 short, red leather jackets, so many black leather jackets I got bored counting them, and nothing whatever from Whatever She Wants on the Holloway Road, where you can always get two shirts for under pounds 10. This, I think, represents excellent value considering the fabrics are all man-made.

I go in. It is very theatrical inside, with the photographers, the Rolling Stones playing on the sound system, the catwalk all lit up. I think this might, actually, be theatre for people who can't be doing with, say, Shakespeare or Pinter or Hare because, as dramatic as their stories may be, they are not really up there with whether the pashmina is still in and, if so, should it be two-tones or fringed or what?

There seems to be some kind of pecking order, such that those on the front row get seats dressed in floaty white and little goodie bags containing essentials like Evian spray. I think there is quite a lot of expensive perfume about. Surprisingly, I am promptly led to a hard plastic chair right at the back.

The show starts; the music gets louder; the catwalk gets brighter; the models come out; everyone goes clappity-clappity-clappity-clap. The models are as beautiful as you knew they would be, gliding spookily, all limbs in search of torsos rather than, as in my case, a torso which gave up searching for limbs some time ago. Still, I am quite pleased to note that, what with being 12ft 9in and up, these girls do have the most massive feet. Huge, they are, like great, big, slapping sea bass. I, on the other hand, am mostly a dainty size five, unless we're talking pop-socks and Dr Scholls, in which case - what with the thinness of the sock combined with the open-toed nature of the shoe - I can often get away with a four.

Anyway, the clothes. The clothes! Well, to sum them up like the fashion editor I should have indubitably become at some point in my career, but somehow didn't, I would offer the following descriptions: some of the clothes were black. Some were white. They seemed jolly nice. There was PVC, mock snakeskin, furry things, beaded bikinis, and a collection of evening dresses made from what looked like a lot of doilies sewn together.

There is a lot of clappity-clappity business at the end, thenit's everybody backstage, for champagne. However, not being the drinky sort, I only stay until there is none left. Jasper, who is quite small and cute but rather sweaty, is kissed a lot. "Adorable collection, mwah, mwah!." "You must be so proud, mwah, mwah."

Everyone lines up to meet him. I line up too. He kisses me happily on both cheeks before realising he doesn't know me and probably doesn't want to. I tell him it's the first fashion show I've ever been to, "if we're not counting Bhs!" He seems quite keen to move on.

Shame, really, because I didn't get to ask about pockets. Are they going to be as useful as ever this season, do you think? Still, next time - I rather think I'm on the circuit now.

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