After spending a few days in Dublin styling the new Oasis store on Stephens Green and working alongside the creative team with concepts for Christmas projects, it was back to the hustle and bustle of London only this time I knew it was going to be different. Different how you might ask. Different in that it was my frist taste of London Fashion Week (LFW), one of the biggest weeks on the calender year for any fashionista (do I count - I asked myself - of course I do). Fashion week was well and truely under way when I arrived, with some of the major designers having already showcased their new collections early in the week. The word around town was that it was gonna be hard for anyone to top Giles. A versatile collection of prints that flowed with effortless ease down the runway on well known faces such as Kelly Brook and Abbey Clancy along with the usual faces whose legs would be ready to fall off at the end of the week. Marios Schwab, a favourite of mine had featured in a magazine the previous day and so there was a lot of hype created about his show. It would have been easy for him to dissappoint but he doesn't have it in him. Going back to his Austrian routes, where he had studied hand-sewing techniques, he produced a show that would make other designers envious of his knowledge for body shape and texture, he thinks in sillouettes and lines (just like me lol). Classical, yet contemporary and most of all, wearable! It was FABOOSH.. Anyway i'm getting away. Back down on earth it was time for my Fashion Week.
Monday, 20th September
With fashion week in full flow (not heavy flow), it was time for my first task. The Oasis creative team had been working in collaboration with Westfield Shopping Centre (WoW) on a scheme called Westfield Car Boot Fair. An idea orchestrated by non other than Mary Portas - a mind of knowlegde and ideas like no other, Mary understands the importance of retail in a hign fashion capital, she just GETS it. I arrived to set up the Oasis car space to see twenty cars all lined up, decorated in completly different ways, ready to be filled to the brim. We spent a few hours dressing the space and didn't stop until the boot was bursting at the seems with boots, bags and scarves. Two mannquins sat on the roof as if looking out over the shopping centre.It was fab. I got another taste of what it would be like to be an events organiser with a massive budget. So much fun. Other retailers participating included Reiss, Topshop, Wolford, Swarovski and Whistles. Right next to our space was that of Storm Model Management, what exactly they were selling I guess I'll never know. "Get your stick thin models, three for a pound". Hardly!
Tuesday, 22nd September
Jealousy kicks in. Why? Because I was sat beside a guy on the tube to work that morning with a Burberry show tag hanging around his neck alongside one of the biggest Canon camera lenses I'd ever seen. I on the other hand was on my way to photograph some the LFW windows, which now seemed like a poxy shift. It was something I had originally thought might be cool. All of a sudden I was depressed for the day.. Ragin Spice.
At selfridges one thing was for sure - it was all about the show, a fabulously creative display to launch their new shoe galleries. The feature of the windows for me was "There was an old woman who lived in a shoe" - a massive installation of a super stylish elderly woman looking out of her ten foot house, made entirely of new shoe collections, including the Chanel "yeti" boots. It was classy but in a fun colourful way.
Next stop - Bond Street. Designer Heaven for those who have the moolah!! Rows of the biggest designers in the business, ridiculously expensive but fabulous none the less. I found myself looking at the architecture for the first time. The street just knows how to draw you in. Its incredible, but I was in a hurry and had already seen the window displays of Gucci, Armani, Chanel, Dolce & Gabbana, Hermes and many others. I was floating past until a statuesque mannequin sporting a gold feathered bandage style headpiece stopped me in my tracks. She was wearing what looked like a medievel masterpiece. A deep rouge full sleeve bodice delicately hand embroided in ornate gold sequins and treading with a pleated silk skirt attachment - she actually stopped me in my tracks. I had seen the dress before. It was one of my favourite dresses from the Alexander McQueen final collection. I stood still for a good half hour and looked at it from every angle possible. Massive! Would have loved to camp outside but it wasn't an option.
Then on to Harvey Nichols in Knightsbridge, which I eventually found after walking for about 40 minutes to Sloan St and back. I was still a novice at finding my way around, something I was having major difficulty with accepting. When I got there however, it made it all worthwhile. It was the most creative display I had seen in years. A black and orange 3D abstract structures theme (bikes, cars and hammers) - a really high impact row of windows - the feature of which was a ten foot sculpture made entirely from wooden clothes pegs. The window was a focus on some of the hottest talent to come out of London Colleges including Schwab, Ilincic, McCartney and McQueen.
The best of the high street for me was Oasis (obviously) and Zara. This year at Oasis the creative team worked hard on trying to perfect the LFW windows. We were delighted when Drapers Magazine placed us second in a wide review of LFW windows. We beat off a range of high street competitors and designers including Aquascutum, Burberry, Banana Republic, Gucci, Jaeger, Joseph, Reiss, Topshop and Warehouse. Delighted.com!
Wednesday, 22nd September
After an hour and a half of travel getting to the other side (west) of London, I arrived at the gallery for a Hussein Chamalyan exhibition. It had recieved rave reviews from the fashion press and myself and Emma from the creative team couldn't resist a trip to see it for ourselves. OMG were we let down. The exhibition was one of musical influence from Hussein's middle eastern routes, a true reflection of his past. But to me, it lacked originality and was more like a projected concert with a woman made from plaster standing in the middle of the room, a moving mouth projected onto her face. Not my cup of tea. No wonder it was free!
Thursday, 23rd September
Mana! I was working in Manchester and Chester over the next few days so it was VM time. This meant gettin up at the ungodly time of 4:45 (never again). Thank god the Virgin Trains are better than the Iarnrod Eireann ones, that sound like they're changing tracks for the entire journey. I was there in no time. Styling tips and advice in Trafford centre was the aim of the day.
Friday, 24th September
After a somewhat slow day in Chester, I was delighted to be going back to London. I was in the train station in plenty of time. Platform 4 - London, but the train said Crewe, so I asked a rail worker if that was my train on the platform, to which he replied, no, London train is next one on platform. I said ok. Long story short, my train was due to depart any minute so I asked the woman on the train, she said "yeah this is the london train, but ya can't get on, the doors are closing". I said "are you for real" to which she pointed at the clock. I was so frustrated, I could have pulled her off the train by her ugly red locks and booted her up and down the platform! She annoyed me that much. What was worse I had to get the slow train to Crewe and then get a connecting train to London. Then I discovered I had a First Class ticket so I just piged out! Back in London town all was good again. LFW was over.
Pictures to follow............... DG x