Arriving at London Fashion Week yesterday and entering under the arches of Somerset House, I was excited and overwhelmed - not only by the occasion, fashion weeks are wonderfully exciting - but by the loud chatter, even louder outfits and the multitude of camera shutters and flashes trying to capture all who entered. Your guaranteed 5 minutes of fame at a Fashion Week? Wear something utterly outrageous. Now, I love most of the outfits caught by Scott Schuman's roving lens, but it's no wonder that many have tried to emulate his photo-blogging success, with copious crazy get-ups on display (and of course, some stunningly stylish ones too). I suppose those behind and in-front of the increasing number of non-official FW cameras are feeding off each other. Either way, it's London Fashion Week and our city's spirit of innovation and enviable edginess must be celebrated.
I'm afraid I didn't succumb to snapping others or wearing something totally outlandish myself. Instead, I wore some Acne trousers (trousers are back!), a lace-backed Topshop t-shirt (see the pic on my blog homepage), my trusty Chanel-inspired pumps, headband, boyfriend blazer and a very special, extravagant-but-I-love-it handbag. Not entirely fashion-forward (considering my company), nor particularly fashion-backward. As I have learned, you need to be comfortable at these occasions (ballet pumps and jeans), cool (laced t-shirt-back) and able to carry a fair amount (ok, so I accumulated some extra luggage along the way). You also need to see, not be the show. Glamour without excess à la Carine Roitfeld will be my chosen FW attire from now on.
Having received no offers by the blogging paparazzi, I made my way to Mark Fast's S/S 2011 show. It was great to see Carine on the front row; she had undoubtedly the most amazing spot on the left-hand side of the stage and was first to see models enter from the right. There is a family connection; her daughter Julia has taken the post of Creative Consultant to Mark's diffusion line, Faster.
Back to the show. Knitwear and 'bodycon' were again at the forefront of Mark's S/S 2011 collection. However, there is nothing usual about Mark Fast knitwear. These clingy dresses were skin-baring through cobweb-like holes, body-contour stitching and fairly transparent material elsewhere. This time around, fringing and feathers (which he has used before) with bright colours, evoked springtime and bird-like imagery. The colourful dresses, presumably intended for the evening, were showy and reminded me of 1920's flapper costumes...with a modern twist. The black dresses were gothic-meets-caped-crusader and created a startling vision against the often-pale skin of the models and the eery beat of the music. Wear a Mark Fast dress and you will certainly be noticed; perhaps I'll wear one next year and get papped on my way in.
Personally, I enjoyed the show and marvelled at each piece as though it were a work of art. I find Mark's experimentation to be lots of fun and look forward to discovering his diffusion lines (including one for Topshop). Nevertheless, I'm pretty sure the everyday person would struggle to find an occasion for dresses like these, or have the body*. But for attention-eliciting celebrities, I anticipate some attraction. Whilst I believe Mark's previous collection was more wearable, I think we'll be seeing much more of his creations in magazine shoots, on the red carpet/parties and, hopefully his creative flair will filter down to some more modest pieces for you or I.
*One last point: while Mark has featured many 'plus-size' models before, I was disappointed to see only one this time (who, by non-model standards is really not 'plus-size'; second photo above). In using extremely thin girls to advertise this collection, Mark is perhaps intentionally not marketing it for the mainstream. I'm interested to see what comes next.
What are your thoughts?
Images: 1+2) my own, 3) Carine Roitfeld, via I Want To Be A Roitfeld, 4) Faster by Mark Fast, 5) Daily Mail (see Amber Le Bon, far left).