I’ve dreamed about it since being a little girl. Glamor, snapping and popping of cameras, long runways graced by the eloquently laden models, beautiful and ethereal women wearing only the highest end couture. Reporters, fashion designers, and celebrities crowding the aisles, eager for a glimpse into the magical world of the designer’s show.
Of course, I always thought I would be a participant in the show, one of those lucky women confidently strutting down the runway, eyed at by audience aptly watching on. Instead, I sit here today, a fashion journalist intrigued not in walking the runway (being told to “eat donuts or lose thirty pounds” wasn’t worth it), but in observing, analyzing, and reporting.
I attended my very first fashion show this afternoon, one of the many included in the iconic bi-annual London Fashion Week. The abnormal hot weather finally dissipated and the clouds rolled in, leaving us a brief reprieve from the rain. Dressed in a bright silk Kate Spade dress purchased at a used clothing store just a few days before, and accessorized with some Ted Baker, I was dropped off at the entrance. Joining the hundreds of other stylishly dressed patrons, I had time to look at the plethora of styles around me.
I’ve never had the pleasure of standing in the middle of bona fide “street style” section. I grew up in Alaska where style was Carharrt jackets and Extra Tuff rain boots. Here, in London, one of the most eclectic and diversely cultural cities in the world, was a whole other dimension. First, there were your typically stylish women. Dressed in the latest fashion and seamlessly putting together the smoothest of ensembles, I saw that these were the girls I often pinned on my Pinterest board for inspiration. On the other end of the spectrum, however, were the Spectacles. These were the camera hoggers. Dressed in the most ridiculous of outfits, they were the ones often stared at, dressed in costume so ridiculous and out there that the cameras couldn’t help but snap their direction.
Just in front of me, there was a woman dressed in this gawdy outfit, but it wasn’t what she was wearing that caught everyone’s eye, it was her hair. Purple dreads knotted together, she had done up her hair in a two foot pile at the top of her head, something similar to that of Marge Simpson from The Simpsons. And inside, when I finally passed through the marble corridors and many security personnel, a man with a full deck of makeup on his face and a white Chanel blazer slung across his shoulders.
Enter, London Fashion Week.
When I was finally able to sit down inside of the showroom, I was immersed in this fashion world at an even closer angle. Peering about me, it was hard to look at just one thing, as my eyes were constantly enticed by something new. Over there, a blonde pixie cut girl with thigh high knotted white boots, or the row of attractively dressed young men across from me, but then behind me, air kisses and recalls of past shows as old acquaintances reunited. It was like a dream.
Being the new girl on the block, I simply let the show roll out before me, the prequel to the actual fashion show. Cameras snapping at the Spectacles, like the man with his entire face tatted and gold teeth peeking out when he smiled, or the woman with the puffiest blue fur coat I had ever seen, I was immersed in this show before the show, intrigued and quite a bit amused.
When the lights finally dimmed and the first designer’s name popped up on the screen, I pulled out my Kate Spade journal and proceeded to write away. It was then that I noticed that the cameramen were finally taking notice of me, pointing their lens at me when there was a break between designers. Probably assuming that I was some high-end fashion journalist, I acted the part, looking perplexed at the models walking my way, scribbling chicken scratch in my journal about the designer’s aesthetic, what it reminded me of, what was the music like, and of course the poor condition of the models. Of course I thought about pulling out my camera (an actual camera and not some silly iPhone), but I didn’t want to follow the pattern of the entire audience, experiencing the show through that of a screen. This was my first show, and I wanted to take everything in with fresh eyes only.
Sitting in the second row, I had a pretty good look at what was about me, from the very skinny models on the runway, to the audience of camera phones, to the expressions on people’s faces whenever someone new turned the corner onto the runway in some fashionable or exotic item.
I noticed the first collection (by Ana) to be a combination of pastels, soda pop, pinup, sea anemone billowed shaped ensembles. For the second designer, Anissa, I got the vibes of farmer, straw, classic boxy cuts, Chinese influence, chopsticks, half painted face, and hues of denim and white. When Ester’s collection came out, it was all paper shredded, old theatre, piano style tuxes with a seventies influence with long haired vibes and masculine linens. And lastly, for Billie, a sparkle show of pink sequins, fur, exotic jewelry, punk ‘80’s unicorn, and light up sneaks. All new designers, all very dissimilar aesthetics.
And just like that, all that hard work, all that time spent backstage prepping with models, makeup artists, and publicity, it was over. Fifteen minutes to capitalize on hours and hours of hard work and dedication.
Surprised at the abrupt ending, I quietly packed away my journal into my back and carefully walked through the fashionable crowd back to the real world on the street, carefully coming down from the cloud of this show, more wise and knowledgeable with my thoughts on this mysterious industry.
Although there’s beauty and mystique about the fashion industry, also admitting that it’s an illustrious and formidable industry, it doesn’t exactly align with what I had imagined it to be. Secluded, entitled, and all based on looks and fading identities, it’s an industry that thrives on the concept of one day being in, and the next day being out.
As much as I enjoyed being thrust into this world, glimpsing at only a peek of what it feels like to be the queen of the crop in the fashion scene, it wasn’t the right vibe for me. As a woman of modest and empowering traits, I couldn’t help but feel replaceable and insignificant, like last year’s Prada handbag.
I must say, what I’ve read about has all proved to be true. I guess it just took a leap into the pit to discover that for myself.
What I wore: vintage rhinestone choker, olive green Christian Dior draped top (designer resale store), soft floral Ted Baker high-waisted skirt (I loved my job!), and Nordstrom flats (Nordstrom Rack).