After London Fashion Week comes London Fashion Weekend. A chance for mere mortals to live out their Anna Wintour dreams and dip their toes into the world of fashion and glamour.
The event returned to The Saatchi Gallery, just off London’s historic King’s Road in Chelsea from the 25th – 28 February (don’t worry it’s a biannual event). London’s biggest fashion pop-up is packed full of catwalk shows, cutting-edge designers, presentations and talks from industry experts.
There are five levels of tickets you can purchase from Bronze (£20) through to Luxe Premium (£200). Thanks to Maria’s quick tapping fingers we bagged a couple of silver tickets for the grand total of £37.80 each. This covered entrance, a choice of catwalk shows – Trend 0r Designer (we opted for trend on the basis that we might actually be able to afford something) and the limited edition designer tote bag! Tickets are staggered, so you have to arrive at a selected time on the day in order to help crowd control. Once you’re at fashionista central you’re allowed to stay for as long as your heels will carry you or whenever your credit card says ‘Go home now please’.
Be prepared to queue: we ended up standing in line for a while for the cloakroom and the loo. Incredibly, there is only one set of toilets in the whole building on the lower ground floor – Foolish mistake with a gallery mostly full of women! It meant our plan of shopping before the catwalk show failed.
With minutes to go before our catwalk slot we hot-footed to the runway and still ended up with great seats by sheer fluke.
Hosted by Very Exclusive, it showcased four specially curated trends for Spring/Summer 2016. My favourite by far was ‘Pop Art Brights’. Head-to-toe colour with clashing heels and cross body bags. Paint box colours saturating must-have styles – Oh yes!
It was the most adaptable look for my wardrobe style. In my conscious effort to veer away from the head-to-toe black ensemble and embrace colour in my life!
Then there was ‘Beautiful Botanicals’, florals are apparently back in big way for Spring. The designs featured prints that wouldn’t look out of place in an English country garden. The ‘Americana’ trend was definitely not down my street. Bold star and stripe motifs. Red, white and blue – eat your heart out. I can’t say I’m one to sport the American flag. Lastly with ‘New Romance’ delicate and feminine looks graced the catwalk. Think ruffles, lace, tulle and silk in all shades of the palest of pale pastels. And just like that your spring wardrobe sorted!
The show lasted 30 minutes. We obviously enjoyed ourselves as it was over before we knew it. And thankfully minus any sore butt-cheeks from the pencil thin benches we were perched on. One thing I did learn from the short-lived 30 minutes, is my inability to capture photographs of fast moving models (booking myself on a photography course as I type). The lighting on the catwalk makes it tricky to capture the perfect shot. Unless you’re a professional Vogue photographer of course. Or in the words of Mr S, maybe I need to just ‘read the bloody manual.’
I adored waltzing around the contemporary white art space, in and out of the designer pop-ups in my flat brogues. I did spot many a slavish stylista tottering around in their high rise heels. Inefficient and torturous for a shopping frenzy. The boutiques ranged from From Antipodium, French Sole, Muubaa, Blake LDN and Estella Bartlett.
Our master plan for the rest of the evening was to start at the top and work our down, so as not to miss a thing. First port of call was Accessories. Who doesn’t a love a ring or two or three (Maria?).
Tada & Toy made an impresssion on us both with their easy to wear relaxed wares. Their fashion brand makes delicate, high quality jewellery. The stack up pieces make a real statement or they can be worn individually for an elegant look. I was left lusting after the star earrings, whilst Maria smartly bought a stack of gold/rose gold/silver beaded rings.
We had a lot of fun trying on a whole host of attire. It was a bit like a playing dress up, but with a huge price tag at the end. I was completely sold on this lovely faux foxy fur coatigan from Ducie. I hearted it and relunctantly slipped it off when I spied the price tag of £270 (and that was with the discount).
A large propotion of our time was spent in the Shoe Gallery. Standard for someone who needs a whole new house just to store her shoes.
A sparkly number by Seven Boot Lane caught my eye. Their shoes are made in Elche, Spain one of Europe’s longest established shoe-making towns. Huge mistake not purchasing the boots at the special discounted price – Just look at them a perfect accent to my working wardrobe.
These puppies are by Finnish shoe designer Julia Lundsten of Finsk. Her collection was full of unique and modern designs – avant-garde and very wearable (really? I hear you say). Contrasting leathers and sculptural wooden heels are cleverly used to create truly unique design masterpieces.
Alongside the shopping, pampering is offered too. Beauty treatments from Maybelline New York and Toni & Guy. If you can be bothered to queue.
And finally the goodie bag, which was designed by Preen by Thornton Bregazzi – What was in the goodie bag? See for yourself – A copy of Elle, Urban Fruit and Proper corn treats, Dry Shampoo always handy for those greasy spoon hair days, Garnier moisturier – Moisture Bomb, coffee and tea samples and Maybelline Baby Lips lip balm
We covered the two floors of the gallery quite quickly and surprised ourselves when we reached the ground floor. Still trying to hunt down more pop-ups but being faced with the exit. For the ticket price I would have preferred to have seen a few more retailers at the event.
We had a fun few hours submerged in the fashion world and it’s definitely worth a visit. The next one will be in September, so save your monies, get your instagram filters at the ready and start planning your outfits. Would I go back again? Nah – been there and got the tote bag!
Have you been to London Fashion Weekend? What did you think?
London Fashion Weekend | The Saatchi Gallery | Duke of York Square | King’s Road | London | SW3 4RY