Your first kiss, your first love, the day you passed your driving test, your first car, your wedding night…they are all moments you’ll remember for the rest of your life. For me, attending London Fashion Week was one of those unforgettable moments. Only it was better.
As a Fashion Week virgin, you can imagine my delight when I was given the chance to attend Matthew Williamson’s AW13 catwalk show last night. Not only is he one of my all-time favourite designers but his shows are notorious for attracting some of the world’s fashion elite. After a predictable rummage through my wardrobe I decided I had nothing worthy of such a glamorous event so I did what all girls with a wardrobe full of clothes do – I went shopping to buy more. With a special thanks to Zara for dressing me head-to-toe, I headed out to Covent Garden where the show was being held. The area was packed full of style-addicts desperately searching for their next fix – and at last I was one of them!
The show itself was held inside the Royal Opera House and due to begin at six. However, if I’ve learnt anything from watching the shows streamed live on my laptop, it’s that ‘fashionably late’ is more of a requirement that an excuse! While I queued outside the very grand Opera House with a handful of other bloggers, writers and editors, some familiar faces started to pour out of blacked-out cars. The first, Olivia Palermo who graciously stood for press photographs before we all flooded into the venue.
American model, Arizona Muse and model and actress Olivia Palermo sat together in the FROW, both looking absolutely breath-taking in Matthew Williamson pre-fall 2013 pieces. Among the A-List audience I also spotted a very glamorous-looking Twiggy, a sophisticated Anna Wintour and a pregnant Peaches Geldof (although you would never know it from looking at her tiny frame) with her husband, Thomas Cohen. I won’t subject you to the horror that is my attempt at photographing said celebrities, but if you’d like to see a tiny Anna Wintour, a blurry Twiggy or the back of Olivia Palermo, let me know! I blame my equipment. (I’m not a photographer so I’m allowed to say that).
As the lights went out and put an end to my star-spotting, the show opened with a pop of sulphur yellow in the form of a completely unstructured, over-sized coat layered over a brown polo neck and paired with brown boots. Immediately the collection had taken a turn that I hadn’t predicted. Relaxed silhouettes, below-the-knee hemlines, geometric prints and sequinned gowns replaced the designer’s usual floor-skimming chiffon evening gowns and figure-hugging favourites. He describes his collection as “a spirited English rose seeking adventures new” and “new” is certainly what he presented. Inspired by the opulence of the Northern Lights, Williamson’s evening-wear included icy dresses in pewter and sky blue lace as well as full-length fringing dipped in neon and then layered over a floor-length sequin dress – a technique referred to as “surprise illumination”.
I’m not entirely sure how I felt about the use of real fur (I should probably take away a few points for that) but fox and raccoon fur stoles were dotted through the collection to add a splash of interest to otherwise very simple silhouettes. Knitwear was inspired by “the traditional dress of Nordic natives” and featured multi-coloured zig zag patterns, necklines adorned with jewels and waffle sweaters knitted with (minus another 10 points) rabbit fur.
The winter wonderland was evident in his use of colour, especially the jaw-dropping midnight blues and shimmering green accents. To close the show, fluffy white snow started to fall from above and sprinkle the already-icy models in a glittering frost.
Layering is one of my favourite things about the Autumn/Winter shows and Williamson did it perfectly with an array of turtlenecks, white blouses beneath floor-skimming evening gowns and fur gilets atop red rose tapestry dresses. The collection was pretty and ethereal with a mesmerising use of colour and a splash of tribal influence. If there is anything I can imagine being totally wearable for next season it’s the panelled coats pictured below. As for the high-street, look out for polo necks, multi-coloured zig-zags, coats with graphic panels and midnight blue sequin dresses.
It was a dream come true to attend LFW this season and I hope it will be the first of many.