Featuring fresh takes and real-time analysis from HuffPost's signature lineup of contributors
GET UPDATES FROM Grace Elena Banks
 

Tales from the London Fashion Week frontline

Posted: 21/09/2011 23:10

In the ring: Front row tribes

Much effort goes into planning a fashion week front row. It may seem like a charming co-incidence to find the fragrant Anna Wintour placed next to a, lets face it, frankly ridiculous looking fluro-outfitted Nicky Minaj - but believe me, months of planning and millions of emails pounced between various PR blackberry's to organise that delightful co-incidence. It works out at around 4 days of brow sweating per seat - I can't work out the exact amount in litres, but it's a lot.

Now all that is very good and well, but what exactly is the point of the front row? Is the lure of the coveted front row seat really to ensure one sees the designs being sent down the catwalk in the best detail possible? Or is the pull slightly more cynical? Was the world renowned fashion editor I spotted sighing, frowning, then throwing her head in her hands and eventually putting on super sized sunglasses genuinely reacting to the designs she was seeing - or was she aware of all the eyes on her that day? With dozens of new categories of celebrity emerging every week, the front row has become an important tool for both the powerful and the clingers-on of the fashion world. A crucial seating plan that secures their place in the industry. The front row is the Elizabethan court of the 21st century - enthralled with pomp and circumstance. And within this world the power struggle is immense.

Inside the court are four key categories of fashion player. Firstly we have the Editor At Large. An incredibly important courtier in the celebrity and fashion world, used to having an entire editorial team dedicated to making them happy and listening to their genius. Think Anna Del Russo, who was seen literally parading up the catwalk pre-show creating picturesque moments for bloggers to pap her in. Up till a couple of years ago, the fashion editor was a key player In the F-row, but now she is being trumped by the singing fashionista. A new breed of celebrity who graduated from Silivia Young into a record deal and now gets sent so many expensive gorgeous clothes that she wears them on a morning trip to the shop. Fashion editors read this as: 'inimitable star style of (insert fashionista of the week here)'. Sitting comfortably on the other side of the Sylvia Young accepter of designer gifts, is the highbrow celebrity. Take as an example Salman Rushdie who blogged live backstage from fashion week - tweeting PRs and answering questions on the music played at the shows. Does Mr Rushdie melt at a beautifully hemmed dress, or is he playing agent provocateur in a world he wouldn't usually mingle in? And then there's the last F-row tribe member - the completely overdressed and random fashion week attendee. I spotted a balding overweight man in a pink sari with matching colour-coded high-tops and another tall waifish man in black high-heeled boots and a monocle.

All the tribes having something in common, something they share among all the other motley members of the F-row. The fashion troupers understand how important it is to be spotted on what has been the most important seat in the fashion industry for over 60 years - be it Eliza Dolittle in her stand-out-while-I'm-sitting Minnie Mouse style hair, singer Yasmin's head to toe floral pink kimono to Anna Wintour's trademark chic printed frock and Nicky Minaj's multicoloured platforms. Every bottom on the front row has their own brand - and each realises that you've got to be in it to win it.

 
FOLLOW UK STYLE