September 19, 2012
live runway sketching – London Fashion Week 18-09-12
It did seem like my London Fashion Week would be over after overlap day. With no further tickets, I was watching events unfold on my laptop, especially enjoying the SHOWstudio live commentary. I do love a good panel format. Then I caught a lucky break – a friend was leaving London and passed along her front row (!) tickets for Tuesday afternoon. For the first time ever in London, I had an unobstructed view of the fashions from head to toe. I did my best to maximize the opportunity.
The first show was Ashish in the early afternoon (top and above) and I experienced that rare joy when you discover a new-to-you designer and totally fall in love. This was totally up my street – boyish, geeky girls in baggy denims, half-tucks and mis-buttoning everywhere. This is probably the first time I’ve ever seen sequins done in a way I’d want to wear them. When I love the show I’m watching the sketching comes so easily, even though my first show of the day is generally a bit stiffer I loosened up quite quickly.
Networking at fashion week is not something I’m good at. I dress scruffy in jeans and chucks, I spend most of my time on my own, watching everything and shamelessly overhearing conversations – in full observation mode. In between shows I spend a lot of time day-dreaming and no time at all air-kissing.
I’m lucky though that every fashion week I have a couple of fashion week friends – wonderful people I feel comfortable enough with to lay all my deep thoughts and dumb jokes on. This time, it was Stefania, of Textstyles, who helped me brainstorm my first ever promotion idea. I’m so clueless at business, how did I even get five years into this thing without ever doing an active promotion? Don’t be like me, kids.
Then there was Tara, who I serendipitously met at a party over the weekend and gave me my first ever opportunity to be interviewed in an official capacity as a trend theorist for television. I made up that title, and I’m still figuring out what it means, and yet I feel as if it is becoming a legitimate thing.
The next show was Aminaka Wilmont (above and below). It was satisfying to return to the scene of last season’s emotional breakdown and be able to bring it back to the drawing board. These designers do a lot of prints which are challenging to render in real time, but the hairstyle had a brilliant profile and I loved the dramatic eye makeup.
I stood in line for ages to attend the final show of the London season, Fashion Fringe. By this time I was yawning, paying the price for a late Monday night, and I think the sketches, though loose, suffered somewhat from my exhaustion. This is the second time I’ve been lucky enough to attend Fashion Fringe. It is exciting to watch, as the designers tend to be very diverse and are encouraged to be brave with their identities and polished in their presentation.
The winner, Haizhen Wang, showed a satisfying, aggressive collection that referenced armour in a very modern, abstract way.
Teija showed dramatic silhouettes that somehow still seemed very wearable and real… many items would suit a wealthy, stylish woman who walks the streets of West London in reality, but is actually walking through forests in her imagination.
The third designer, Vita Gottlieb, has a collaged, piled-on aesthetic with unusual shapes and lots of pattern and texture.
Afterwards, I realized I was much happier than I usually am after London fashion week. I feel so blessed to have seen so many interesting shows. I am quite pleased with several of my sketches, and I feel more confident at live-sketching than ever. I managed to come up with some exciting ideas that I’m looking forward to working on, I absorbed a lot of the London zeitgeist in just two days, and I spent some time with some truly lovely people.
This might be my last London fashion week for a while. So finally, I’m feeling the London love.