I have few fixed expectations when watching catwalk shows. I haven't seen many, but enough to know in advance that there are two definites – the venue will be hot, and the music very, very loud. Beyond that the experience is unpredictable. One assumes that the formula (as described by Antoni & Alison – a topic for another post) of ‘Models walking up and down in dresses’ will be fulfilled, but the nature of the clothes is unknown. That's the truly exciting part - anything could emerge from the wings.
London Fashion Week shows (and the events in her sister cities) require immediate, snap judgements – many of the people sitting in the front couple of rows will be primed to compose reports or easily quotable phrases in their heads (or on a tablet), so that the gap between the show and resulting coverage can be as small as possible. Some brands go as far as to tweet outfits as they emerge, in a bid for instantaneous exposure. Like many though, I do wonder where the logical end point of this ever-faster race is. The attention paid to fashion month is so extensive that when the clothes become available for sale six months on, they are already old news – you might be able to finally wear them, but those in the public eye will be already sporting pieces from the next collection, thus confusing the six month time lag between the show and the shops. As a blogger I feel that I should report on the shows I saw in the month after LFW, and yet wouldn’t it be more appropriate to do this when the clothes are available for purchase? I’m not sure if there is a definitive ‘right’ answer, and so for now I shall focus on what I appreciate the most – the designs themselves.
I hand write notes during shows. Thus, the routine I find myself in is one whereby when the lights fade, I'm still scrabbling around in my bag for a working pen, with notebook clutched in the other hand. I then scrawl quick observations, ideas, comparisons and favourite looks as the models walk past. A sample of these bullet points for Corrie Nielsen A/W 2012 was as follows:
- · “Gothic, elegant, TARTAN, v. Alexander McQueen
- · Draped, flimsy fabric, like cobwebs
- · What Miss Havisham would have looked like if she moved to Scotland and took up hunting
- · Scottish widow – too obvious to mention?
- · THE CAPE
- · Veils, boxy shapes, wrapped up like tissue paper”
Photo: Christopher Daidey (Huffington post)
Photos: Wonderland magazine
The following short poem was assembled from the images I found were still sweeping through my imagination while I sat on the train, heading home...
Corrie Nielsen A/W 2012
Gothic dreams are spun with this:
Moors and marsh and grey-sky mist.
Peaty tarns and crumbled bridges
Are stitched and seamed in kilted ridges.
A girl steps forward, dressed in threads -
a spider wove, in whites and reds.
A tartan tree with crimson lips,
she moves between the hills and dips.
Feathers cling to lacquered hair,
skirts take flight in cloud-hung air.
A thunderstorm of tulle and capes:
this twilight calls for lavish drapes.
The outfit I am wearing above is a complete homage to Nielsen's wondrous designs. It was assembled using a 70s tartan skirt and a black slip from a jumble sale (for the collective sum of 40p!), with a white scarf draped and tied in place using a vintage black sash. The black hat is also vintage, from a local market stall, and the shoes were from a charity shop. (The whole outfit cost less than £10).