London Fashion Week 19-23 February 2016
Welcome to London Fashion Week February 2016, Autumn-Winter season 2016 one of the most important Fashion events of the year!
According to Wikipedia, ‘London Fashion Week is ‘currently sponsored by Mercedes-Benz, and Toni & Guy. It states that it is attended by over 5,000 press and buyers, and has estimated orders of £40 million or £100 million. A retail-focused event, London Fashion Weekend, takes place immediately afterwards at the same venue and is open to the general public.’
According to me, the most mindblowing experience I ever had!
Let me just try to sum up what I consider a fashion phenomenon and write about how how much London had to offer to fashion and art lovers who were blessed enough to be a part of this amazing time.
As I was getting ready to face this overwhelming event I just couldn’t imagine the intensity and speed I had to keep up with in order to report to you guys straight from the fashion front line.
You see, this February at the London Fashion Week, there were so many events happening at the same time:
You have the street show with stylish and posh, eccentric people buzzing around on the whereabouts of Brewer Street in Soho the heart of bohemian London. This new central London location, host to designer catwalk shows in the British Fashion Council Show Space and Designers Showrooms around 100 emerging designers exhibit their collections to an audience of UK and international press, buyers and stylists.
The 1st.floor of the 1929 build iconic art deco building was for reserved for the LFW guest registration, a photographers’ area and press, where I managed to get my international press badge, along with Alex Coman, the official Teen Art Out photographer.
As soon as we got the official access and registration papers we could pass the security checks and visit 2nd. floor, the Fashion Bounty of the Designer Showrooms, where we could indulge in the latest designer creations, be it clothing, accessories and jewellery. An exhibition meant as a networking place where young designers could talk about their work and connect with buyers and stylists from all over the world.
London Fashion Week is after all, the best place to network, discover and connect with like-minded people in this field!
Next in line: 3rd Floor
Well, this a totally different story – It’s the Mount Olympus of the Greek gods and goddesses, Fashion Heaven, Valhalla or Nirvana – it’s up to you to choose the perfect term for the place when all the magic happens: most of the catwalk shows and the VIP party area.
Looking down the window, observing the huss and fuss outside the building, there were people roaming about the street, tourists, bloggers, fashion students, stylists and armies of eager photographers willing to do whatever they need to do for that perfect snapshot it finally hit me: I was attending London Fashion week, and at least for a week London was the centre of the world!!!
Groups of friends taking selfies, broadcasters and presenters reporting from the fashion front line and security people securing the traffic around the area were all a mesmerizing and colourful sight to see! Oh, and don’t forget about the people who just genuinely wanted to visit Soho and they just happened to pass by.
The ‘circus’ in the street became even more interesting when three models crashed the LFW official opening day protesting for PETA, urging the fashion industry to stop using fur in clothing, to support cruelty free clothing.
LFW is going strong this year, get yourself ready for the mindblowing fashion shows with star designers like Alexander McQueen, returning this season to London, Belstaff, Erdem, Christopher Kane, Vivienne Westwood, Burberry, Mother of Pearl , Sadie Williams, Top Shop, Toga and a special show by the Alumni from the MA Fashion Course from Central Saint Martins, a leading college of the University of the Arts London – to name just a few.
I wish there were enough time to browse all the new street style obsessions and see all the shows, each of them was spectacular and different, from Topshop Unique show, Christopher Kane showed at Tate Modern held at Tate Museum, showing off arful florals, knitwear and lovely cocktail dresses.
The Mary Katrantzou show introduced the public to Russian dolls looking models and spectacular, clean tailored dresseswhile Burberry designs stole the spotlight with the new womenswear collection with visible influence from the lively ‘70’s.
The accessories designer Anya Hindmarch show was another highlight with the original design of the catwalk, a huge spectacular performance of a giant Rubik’s cube, seducing her audience with the unique visuals and one of a kind handbags, adorned with floral and candy decorations, as well as Pac Man patterns.
Make-up wise, the general focal point was healthy, light, glowing skin with different approaches when it came to the other facial features: a nude lip for Sass and Bide, sculpted neutrals on eyelids and cheekbones by Jaeger, super-highlighted skin and red lip for House of Holland, beautiful explosion of gold and blue and extra layers of face paint for Vivienne Westwood to ‘Just Bitten’ lip stains for Temperley. Another highlight was using original statement accessories on the eye area like Xiao Li or lace masks at Emilio de la Morena show.
Along with famous model beauties (Suki Waterhouse, Jourdan Dunn, Karlie Kloss) and power stylists (Kate Fowley, Caroline Sieber, Hanneli Mustaparta) the front seat audience for all the shows was made of a bunch of the most influencing tribe in fashion there is, call them tech queens if you want, these ladies do hold the social media power with hundreds of thousands of followers and counting!
From blogging pioneer Susannah Lau (AKA Susie Bubble), Chiara Ferragni (www.theblondesalad.com), Eva Chen (Instagram’s head of Fashion Partnerships), beauty guru Tanya Burr to our own Romanian stylish bloggers, Anda Sbarcea (www. hatsonclouds.com) and Larisa Costea (www.themysteriousgirl.ro) have some really interesting input about the BIG event! Do check them out!
The Designer Showrooms
London Fashion Week’s central hub in Brewer Street Carpark, is the place where over 140 designers display their AW16 collections, along with the catwalk and presentation schedule.
Thanks to the exclusive Teen ArtOut photos, you can have a glimpse at the 1,600 square meteres of Art Wear presented in the David Collins Studio on the 2nd floor.
Both established and emerging brands will feature in the showrooms, showcasing ready-to-wear, accessories and footwear. The Designer Showrooms attract an audience of international and UK press and buyers throughout the Fashion Week.
Most of them graduates of St Martins or London Royal College of Art, I was mesmerized by the designs of: Georgia Hardinge, Moon Lee Design, Laura Theiss, Kim Kwang, Florian London, Alexandra Moura, Cecilie Bahnsen with their refined approach to multiple textures and innovative approach to fashion. Hi-tech garments were presented alongside with nature inspired, organic materials, everything displayed with impeccable taste and aesthetic vision.
My personal favourite was Moon LeeDesign (www.moonleeartwear.com) – one of the most impressive designs, I fell in love at first sight with her distinctive touch of artistry in her intricate creations. Talking to the creative director, Injoo Lee Idiscovered her love of details in her artful hand painted designs as well as a passion for the diversity of human emotions expressed through her geometrical, colourful and inspiring creations.
Too busy and afraid of missing anything out? No worries, LFW has it all, including live streaming of all fashion shows – for all you fashionistas, www.londonfashionweeklive.com.
International Fashion Showcase 2016
Another important event during LFW I was thrilled to check on my ‘to see list’ was the International Fashion Showcase 2016, (IFS) created by British Council and British Fashion Council, a public programme meant to celebrate House’s central theme Utopia 2016: A Year of Imagination and Possibility, inspired by Thomas Moore’s inspirational text.
This February, the BFC used the amazing Sommerset House a key cultural destination in the heart of Londonto exhibitthe vision of the new generation of international designers and curators from 24 countries that share their own versions of the Fashion Utopia.
As I walked in, I could admire the works of art and the visuals of each and every county, meeting friendly , smiling people ready to share their vision with the curious public.
I was really impressed with our own Romanian exhibition, set up by by the Romanian Cultural Institute in London together with Assamblage – The Romanian Association for Contemporary Jewellery, powered by UniCredit Bank.
‘Found.Lost.Found’: Romanian Jewellery Design at the London Fashion Week 2016
Photo by Romanian Cultural Institute in London (source: Facebook)
It is the 6th consecutive participation for Romania, with the central theme of Found. Lost. Found handled with great care by the curator David Sandu and the ubertalented contemporary jewllery designers: IoanaArdelean, Maria OtiliaMihalcea, AdelinaPetcanand Andreia Gabriela Popescu with stunning visuals by Black Horse Mansion.
The young designers paid a creative tribute to the great craftmanship of our ancestors in Dacia, one of the richest areas in gold resources of the Roman Empire, bringing to international attention the forgotten treasures of a lost and fascinating world.
The exhibition that brought Romania the jury’s special Prize for AccessoryDesign, awarded to designer OtiliaMihalcea, for her stunning collection – ‘Neotectonics’. She graduated the Assamblage School of Contemporary Jewellery and you can check out her works of art online, by visitng her website www.ovaloval.com.
The prize was awarded for the first time in the IFS history due to Romania’s highly appreciated showcase. Let’s see what designer and curator David Sandu has to say about the significance of divinity and simbolism of jewellery in our times: ‘Most of the ancient Dacian jewellery was not meant to have a functional purpose. The jewellery pieces were part of their religious cult, offerings made to the gods to wear. Because of this, they’re not made at a human scale, seeming to belong to over-sized giant beings. They are the passage to transcendence and utopia. They are offerings that, beyond their ritualistic purpose, represent the direct contact between humans and divinity. Thus, the art of jewellery becomes a legitimation of the people: humans now stand face to face with gods.
Universally, the value of the offerings was established not only through the gold it contained, but also by the ritual of offering itself. Nowadays, contemporary jewellery becomes important through its signification, pursuing the eternal dialogue between valuable and precious. In the context of the reappraisal of values, one constant remains: the cultural value of a jewellery object will always overcome its material assessment.’
As I left the showcase, I never felt more proud and connected to my Romanian heritage and peers. (you can also easily see that in my outfit, I just love the Romanian blouse! )
The biggest (and best dressed) party award went to Elle, who closed London Fashion Week with their annual Style Awards ceremony last night.
Since I almost used up all my space meant for this article, I am bound to sum everything up and draw the conclusion and having to admit that my most favourite thing about LFW was the unique and fresh street catwalk I was delighted to watch for 5 internationally fashionable days…
After all, I have to agree with Carine Roitfeld, the former editor in chief Vogue Paris and global fashion director Harpers Bazaar who states: ‘For me, the English are the kings and queens of fashion’.
So here’s to the next spectacular London Fashion week in September! Cheers from sunny London from a devoted fashion lover 😉
Words by Viorela Coman
Photographer: Alex Coman – Alex Coman Photography