Maddeningly coinciding with the half term holidays, Fashion Week hits London like a luminous bomb. It mushrooms over the city as the streets fill with the colourful, fierce and ludicrously heeled. They land like glamourous aliens, supping on espressos and peering over neon shades, mixing jarringly with bemused families on day trips. Narrowly, they miss stumbling into the roads with ill-timed catwalk turns and exuberant selfies (did I just use that word? Puke). The city heaves and sighs through Vogue smoke, the families take cover and sharp-eyed photographers stalk lines of waiting fashionistas to pick out a lucky few to pose in the manner of their idols.
Fashion Scout at Holborn’s Freemason Hall provides cutting edge designers with a platform to showcase their work in front of London’s hip young things (and yours truly). Shows range from the demure to the bizarre and music is used as a powerful, juddering force to accentuate and underline. It’s loud, really loud, causing slight changes in tone to be transformed into whooshing crescendos of noise, forcing you to pay attention.
Being pretty much half the height of the glossy giants and fashion bloggers that surrounded me (don’t wear Vans to catwalk shows, kids!) I could only pay a limited amount of attention, vision obscured by elaborate headpieces and slender shoulders vying to see and be seen. My iPhone was held constantly aloft over my head in the manner of a Biblical weapon that would at some point come crashing down on the head of my only son. Naturally, the pictures from every show were a streaky mess but praise be to Instagram for transforming them into something passable.
Timur Kim’s collection stood out for me as something uncanny and intriguing, giving a sleek twist on Americana from a Dallas-esque past, with luxurious fabrics in patchwork and lose Little House on the Prarie gingham-ish dresses. “American Pie” blared through the speakers elevating the loose trouser suits and tousled hair of the models from a stylish look to a sad statement evoking a lost past. (Or did it? I don’t know.) Despite my compromised view I found the collection inspired and thought provoking, and Kim himself a cheerful fellow as he ran exuberantly down the catwalk to thank the crowd.
The other show I found particularly impressive was Belle Sauvage, which was what I envisioned fashion shows being as a child. Brash, crazy and loud with silly hats. This is what I want from fashion. There was a true drama about it, making it an event, a true spectacle with electro-doom music, fringe-visors and beautiful rave baroque prints. The models were transformed into doom fashion warriors from the future, oozing stern camp and genuine menace, as a performance, I absolutely loved it.
Highlights included the rich reds and purples of the fur collars, the sharp angles in the tunics and the kaleidoscope acid prints that adorned most of the collection. It was fun an of the moment, not too serious, an 80′s vision of the future maybe, in which sun-god headdresses and flowing robes become the norm. I kind of wish it was.
There is something heartening about fashion week. While there may be themes occurring on the catwalks, the people waiting to see them are an extravagant and innovative bunch, throwing together the sublime and ridiculous to amazing effect. Last fashion week I felt a cloying seriousness over everything, this time around it was drenched in good humour and fun. For that I am eternally grateful.
If you’d like to see more of my attempts at fashion photography my Pinterest board is at http://pinterest.com/nadiaramoul/lfw/