ondon's fashionable females (and males) to get through, it would have been impossible to see it all. A little like Disneyland for grown-ups (unless you're one of those busy beings who only shops online), it's easy to understand why this night proved such a success. For the second year running. The brains and formidable fashion presence behind the evening, Vogue was seemingly everywhere. From the branded totes and tees sold in participating stores...
...to the contagious celebration of clothes and shopping, sweeping across London's West End.
Meeting on Regent Street, my enviably trendy Mum and I set forth, arm-in-arm, determined to source the many items on our ever-increasing shopping lists. Whilst we would have loved to witness the big crowd-drawers such as Manolo unveiling his 'World of Manolo', or the kick-off celebrations held by Alexandra Shulmann and Giorgio Armani, we decided to escape the unfortunate rain, dip into shops which took our fancy and enjoy this special, girly time together. When and where else can you shop until 11pm, devour delicious drinks and nibbles, dance to the live band in your changing room (or the queue) and rest your weary feet on the sofas and chairs strategically brought in to keep you that little bit longer. The perfect evening; whether or not you succumb to the alluring array of A/W attire before you (we did) and whether or not you were more likely to succumb to those purchases following a few encouraging glasses of champagne (we were). The beloved brand at the centre of it all and bold supporter of British retail? Very clever Vogue.
Certainly, brand exposure and increased foot-fall would be highly attractive to stores too (desperately needing to move on from the retail-destructive recession). But to us, this night seemed part of a much bigger celebration: one of fashion, beauty, music and city life. Of course, New York had just held their own successful version in the previous week. But for our own 'FNO', any shop in London would have been crazy not to participate, given the opportunity. Whether or not we are emerging from the fearsome financial crisis might depend on who you speak to, but for the duration of Vogue's fashion night out, there was optimism in the air. Shops, shoppers and previously reluctant boyfriends were projecting a collective and knowing 'hooray' for British business. For the fashion industry and our talented designers, for new start-ups (like the Allen sisters' 'Lucy in Disguise'), for up-and-coming bands and for us, the consumers. Besides, in all our fun, it's us who are rallying around the 'shops-in-need', right? If you are reading this on my blog, see below for a video of Selfridges' FNO:
Back to Regent Street... if I told you that our search for a wedding outfit was soon replaced by our search for the best bubbles, it's clear that we had fun on our
bar shop crawl. To answer the champagne question, Cos was the clear winner. No surprise then, that groups of friends lingered there for some time, perching almost in the window-displays for lack of space in the increasingly popular store. Whilst I admit the refreshments (Ladurée macaroons also) might have captured our attention and taste-buds more than most, we soon couldn't help but notice the super-stylish designs and understated glamour hanging all around us. Effortlessly-chic, pared-down pieces which continue to excite fashion editors and should inspire us.
Design, quality, a simple élégance (and the macaroons) could liken Cos to a French label such as APC; these garments would beautifully adorn the Parisian woman that I'm so in awe of. Like Seberg, 'Lady Cos' looks like she was born with a sense of style. And, being the 'big sister label' to H&M, Cos aims to rework catwalk trends, without the painful price tag. Personally, I love the whole Cos 'look' and while it's latest range is somewhat muted in colour, it's a statement in sophistication. But, for us London girls who do like to mix it up, I'd suggest one of this season's must-haves such as a gorgeously soft, warm coat, good ole' fashioned trousers or some trusty leather boots, with other, more eclectic items (perhaps some colour? a sheer blouse? fur, if you're into that?)
Clothes aside, Cos boasts an excellent website promoting artwork, interiors and linking to its magazine (did you know they had one?). Sophistication all-round. This is a lifestyle-brand in the making; certainly one to watch. I'd love to hear your thoughts!