It turns out, I learned this week, that there is a limit to being fashionably late. Over the years, I’ve been to quite a few fashion shows. None have started on time. There are myriad reasons: that the models or important front row-ers haven’t yet made it from the last show or because the clothes arrived late from the factory, or because officious clipboard bearers are unable to control crowds.
So I was pretty confident as I battled through the traffic on a rainy night in central London, that although running a few minutes late, I would make the start of the PPQ show in Somerset House. But I didn’t, so I had to watch it from the cinema area just outside (which was a pretty good view), and then hear about it at the big dinner after the show.
You would have thought that I had learned my lesson, but a mere two days after, I was late to the only other show I was going to – Mulberry’s at Claridges. Again I arrived a minute after they closed the doors. With no cinema to watch it on, I had to make do with small talk and strawberry tarts in the foyer area outside until it was time to go.
You see, the usual rules of punctuality don’t apply to the sort of parties where celebrities turn up to be photographed. The ideal is to flit from one to the next, always arriving just as it is just getting going.
But timing this can prove to be a tricky balance. You never want to arrive on time when the room is still empty, so half an hour after it starts is generally about right. This usually allows you enough time to both explore the event and the free bar, but also to leave before the chief executive of whichever firm it is that has paid for the free bar, stands up to bore guests with “a few words”. The other option is arriving just after the speeches, but this is usually hard to time.
Still, my experience at London Fashion Week made me think that maybe I should start to arrive to things on time. Perhaps I would even start a trend for being “fashionably early”. But then, I really don’t think that would catch on...