by Leah Johnston, Lifestyle Editor
You take your seat… the lights are dimmed, the bass of the quirky house music vibrates throughout the room, and the catwalk begins. London Fashion Week 2016 has been one of the most talked about events in the industry this year. Typically, for most designer catwalk shows and collection viewings it is invite only; however, this year both up and coming designers as well as trend catwalk shows were opened to the public as a ticketed event, where the everyman can be a part of London Fashion Week.
The buzz around London is almost electric over this September weekend, with the last of the summer sunshine treating guests who have travelled from all around Europe and beyond, it would be rude not to get a picture by the entrance sign at the beautiful Saatchi Gallery in Chelsea.
With a designer catwalk show, and a talk from Sarah Shotton (Creative Director of top lingerie brand Agent Provocateur), there was just enough time left for some retail therapy (or at least some window shopping). With labels ranging from up and coming designers, at affordable prices, to the house names and timeless classics such as Burberry, Julien Macdonald and Mulbery, there was plenty to browse or even indulge in. With the discounted designer ranges all around us, it wasn’t surprising to see so many people indulging in the bargains. Spread across four floors, the Saatchi gallery displayed shoe heaven, accessory and jewellery galore, as well as gorgeous winter coats and high fashion pieces. You were surrounded by well-to-do fashionistas, as well as the likes of Rosie Fortescue; Made in Chelsea TV star, selling her own jewellery brand on the 2nd floor.
The catwalk show ‘Preen by Thornton Bregazzi’ was a great experience, showcasing their SS17 collection. Breaking the stereotype of weird and impractical costume-like pieces on the catwalk, the London-based designers took a more ‘ready-to-wear’ approach, with the stand out themes as soft pastel velvets, mesh and lace overlays, as well as sequins and a lot of ‘black goddess’ inspired looks – all very British. It sounds odd, but the models were slim yet healthy looking and filled the clothes perfectly, which was a pleasant surprise, and seemed to be the talk of the front rows.
Sarah Shotton’s talk was incredibly interesting and informative, even if you weren’t interested in lingerie; she spoke about business skills and how to start from the bottom and work your way up. A self-confessed feminist, she stated that ‘I design for myself to make myself feel good’ and that she really did start by ‘putting bras in boxes’; ‘I really was a Girl Friday’. Listening to Sarah speak about how ‘it was hard being a curvy girl and trying to feel sexy’, really emphasised how personal her designs and passion was for what she does. When asked about fatal mistakes along the years, Shotton replied ‘I got a disciplinary once, and I managed to get a promotion! You have to make a lot of mistakes to make sure you don’t do them again’. The creative director was also very vocal about how keen the company are to take on more students from across the UK as interns. Take a look, at http://www.agentprovocateur.com/gb_en/careers-vacancies#internship-listing.
As the day came to an end, you may not have been going home with a designer handbag, but you certainly felt an insight into the world of high fashion, and successful business. You even get a free cute little tote bag on your way out, designed by Sophia Webster. It’s filled with goodies such as lip balm, facial treatment masks, fruit, revitalising drinks and mini-hairsprays – what’s not to love?