It’s just before 5am and my IPhone alarm barely lifts my eyelids. It’s still dark outside and definitely not a suitable time to be tearing my wardrobe apart. But alas! It is day 4 of London Fashion Week and the city is calling.
Chic and stylish Patisserie Valerie plays host to a very chilled breakfast of poached eggs, porridge, pastries and yoghurt while PR extraordinaires for The Body Shop UK, Zoe and Sheena, chat to me about makeup, biology field trips and being backstage at LFW. The restaurant is small but chic with fat, mouth-watering pastries decorating the window display and a distinctly European vibe hanging in the air. I am advised to eat a good breakfast in preparation for the day but in an attempt to dodge the calories I opt for yoghurt and honey, which I start to regret around 3pm when I’m hanging on to sanity by a thread. Zoe swiftly and generously pays the bill and we head down the road to Freemason’s Hall – this season’s home to Fashion Scout.
My first adventure is a trip backstage to get a first look at the hair and makeup that will be striding down the Tabernacle Twins’ runway at 10am. Going backstage is like entering the fashion underworld; it’s hot, busy, and alive with energetic souls – eagerly awaiting the moment when they’ll unleash a never-before-seen collection onto our mere mortal world. I have a brief moment with head makeup artist, Yan Nguyen who explains that the look for the show is inspired by innocence. This makes sense as the show is entitled, “Cobra Casablanca” and involves the brand’s fictive twin muses on a journey of self-discovery.
The skin is very soft and flawless, the eyebrows are groomed and the look is young and fresh. In stark contrast to the dewy complexion, the lips are highlighted in neon orange. I’m told that this is done by using a white pencil on the lips first, before applying the orange lip paint. All the makeup used in this look is courtesy of The Body Shop UK. Hair is tightly braided on one side.
Not only do I see the models transformed into the fictive characters from the brand’s inspiration, I also get a sneak peek of the collection on the rails. It’s a total print party, with pops of circus-esque colours and bright white Dr Martens to match white nail paint.
Among quilted fabrics and lace I spot structured silhouettes, mullet hemlines and bold shift dresses. I pick up a sporty vibe that corresponds to the twin’s adventurous side, as well as an elegant vibe in the silky fabrics and injections of blue lace. Everything is really wearable and I want to take it all home.
On the runway the orange lips pop and look absolutely mesmerizing against the colours in the collection. I sit front row thanks to The Body Shop UK and even get a few samples of their Colour Crush eye shadow in my goodie bag.
Next up it’s on to the Glam Media Lounge at One Aldwych Hotel for a spot of pampering. I arrive at the hotel and i’m directed to the 6th floor, where I find a fashion week haven for press and bloggers. Not only do I get my nails re-designed, but I have my hair styled ready for an afternoon of shows. There is also a photo-booth, the opportunity for a shoulder massage and an array of nibbles for a boost of energy.
It’s great to have a girly natter, charge my phone, relax and get some fabulous treatments while I wait for my schedule to catch up with me. Upon leaving I’m handed a goodie bag sent from goodie bag heaven. It includes the L’Oréal hairspray that’s responsible for holding my curls in place. Yippee!
Little Shilpa is next, with a completely mad SS14 presentation entitled “Grey Matter”. Known for her intricate designs and one-off pieces, Shilpa Chavan’s collection is just as complex and detailed as I expect. The spotlights come on and off slowly and the music is creepy. Inspired by travel and culture, the collection revisits the iconic Indian sari – cutting it into new shapes and exploring movement and restriction.
Shilpa uses tulle, silk, lace and brocade to strip the sari norm into shirts, tee-shirts and bow-ties, unwrapping the traditional sari as we know it and putting it back together in a contemporary way. She uses the same fabrics for the coordinating headpieces.
The makeup is just as striking as the clothes, with metallic blacked out eyebrows and a smokey eye. The sheer complexity of this collection blows my mind and just as I think I’ve taken it all in, I spot another fabric or embellishment that I want to photograph.
I spot Sheena in the same presentation and head over for a chat. Turns out that there’s room for me backstage at the 4pm Ji Cheng catwalk show, which they are already preparing for. There’s just enough time for me to grab a few photographs before I have to dash off to another presentation at 3:30. I’m very kindly led backstage for the second time. I have a chat with the head makeup artist about the looks for the show and snap up a few great photographs before I have to dash off to Natasha Zinko’s SS14 presentation upstairs.
Look who I bump into on the way! Fashion Week’s very own beauty queen, Pandemonia.
The first thing I see at Natasha Zinko is a beautiful shabby-chic bird cage decorated with over-sized blooms and entangled with blossoms, ribbons and green foliage. It reminds me of a mythical garden party; the enchanting models acting as exquisite bouncing fairies with their soft, flowing tresses and playful expressions .
Their flawless complexions only add to the innocence of the display while a slick of bright red lipstick indicates that not everything is as it seems. In an attempt to portray an otherworldly set, Natasha Zinko takes inspiration from the Bell flower, which I can see adorns the top of the gazebo, as well as her passion for 18th century fashion.
The collection is refreshing, feminine and beautiful – celebrating the female form with nipped-in waists and structured boning. Lengths range from mini to midi to maxi with sheer fabrics reoccurring on the maxis. Necklines are mostly high or covered with lace and silhouettes are elegant, even when the back, neck or legs are revealed. Pastel colours take centre stage and even hemlines are finished with romantic cream lace.
It’s one of my favourite collections of the day simply because it invites me into a story. I love the romance, the silky fabrics and the innocent feel throughout.
After the magic of Natasha Zinko, I run downstairs to catch to the 4pm Ji Cheng catwalk show and see the collection brought to life. After a quick chat with the head makeup artist, I learn that once again the hair is being braided, lips are a feminine pink, skin is flawless with soft contouring and perhaps most interestingly, eyebrows are blacked out.
I am sat in the front row again, giddy as a schoolgirl, opposite Pandemonia with yet another goodie bag by my side. The show itself begins with a short film, which tells a visual story of passion and romance. It highlights the colour red as a key element to the collection, indicating that the pieces will tell a story similar to the one on screen. The show starts and the heavy oriental influence is obvious, with red and black taking the limelight.
The passionate pairing of red and black is eventually broken up with minty greens, yellows, gold and hot pinks while elements of traditional Chinese dress are featured on more contemporary shapes.
Embellishments are particularly striking and ropes and tassles feature on open-back dresses to stay true to the brand’s roots.
The show ends just as well as it started, with a particularly enchanting singing performance that mesmerises the entire room. The models appear once more to give us a final glance of the collection and the bewitching song hangs in the air long after she’s finished singing.
I am well and truly immersed in the world of Fashion Scout now, but unfortunately I have to say a quick goodbye before heading back over to Somerset House for the final presentation of the day. I catch Sheena for a photograph before I leave and thank the team for having me for such a fabulous day.
Over to the heart and soul of Fashion Week now for Edeline Lee’s SS14 presentation. Somerset House is buzzing and it’s a great feeling to be part of the madness! I spot Made in Chelsea’s Victoria coming out of a presentation and have to do a double-take. I have to say it’s a bit of a disappointment not to see her conversing dramatically with Marc Francis. The elevator doors close before I have to time to snap a photograph.
Edeline Lee’s SS14 collection is eerie and haunting. As I enter the abandoned classroom’s of King’s College beneath Somerset House, the atmosphere turns seriously creepy. Inspired by the designer’s memory of childhood, two girls stand playing an endless game of boules while in the next room a girl is braiding another’s hair with a blank expression. A girl sings “rock-a-bye baby” over and over again in the hallway. It’s like a haunted version of High School Musical.
The collection itself is bright, with graphic prints and interesting panelling. I love the mismatch of textures and fabrics and it’s nice to see a bright emerald green for spring/summer 2014. Shapes are simple but feminine with intricate details. Techniques include “piano panelled pleats and three-dimensional bullet pleats to add volume.”
I leave the abandoned rooms of King’s College hoping to catch another glimpse of Victoria, camera at the ready. No such luck. It’s raining now and the weather is an unnerving reminder of the creepy schoolgirl show I’ve just seen. I can’t get rock-a-bye-baby out of my head! I walk back to Charing Cross station and hop on a train, rummaging through my goodie bags all the way home.
There is nothing like LFW. The diversity, the street style, the creativity – everything about it is just so addictive. Every designer, from well-known to new talent, has something unique to offer and being a part of it again is a dream. I am deliriously happy to have met the girls from The Body Shop UK too, thank you for everything!