Twenty-three kilogrammes is just not enough luggage but I refuse to pay excessive charges for what can only be deemed as a fashion week pre-requisite. I am currently preparing for my fifth trip to London Fashion Week and every time I go, my suitcase appears to get heavier. In fact, the suitcase has seen much better days; it has been a dedicated follower of my fashion for the last 10 or so years. I get a little scared when I approach this week in London and here's why. I plan out my looks months in advance, I buy things I don't need which at the time I could not possibly live without; all to find when I get there I do not feel as glam as I did packing my case, having run for and been squished on the Tube. The style is crippling ( in a positive and negative sense) and self-critical me compares my style to everyone else in a constant conversation of "Oh her shoes are way nicer than mine", or "should have gone for the black blazer instead of the white one". For all that I analyse my own style, this year, there is a change a coming with a new mantra - "I will survive". So to put this into practice I have taken my learnings and documented what I can only describe as a guide for my fellow attendees:
1) Do not wear expensive shoes while travelling
Airport guards at security checkpoints are not sensitive to the fact that you would rather like to accompany your Louboutins through the scanning machine. Wouldn't it be silly if one even suggested that (she says while looking ashamedly at the floor). It's okay, nine point nine times out of 10 they come out looking fine and still in a pair. One time a lady did accidentally take one of my shoes and attempted to put it on while I gave her the look of death. And yes, jewellery does beep. So pack it to avoid having to make apologetic small talk (i.e. "this never happens to me") while being frisked. Be honest, there was no need to wear the 10 gold bangles along your arm for a plane journey.
2) You can never have too many clothes
Whoever said that you should travel light was lying. I am an "over-packer". I plan outfits and I bring lots of spares. You cannot have too much choice, that is a redundant idea in my world. The only limiting factor as I noted above, are the tight and inconsiderate limitations imposed by airlines. I always line my suitcase with my shoes for some reason. I think I am under some illusion that if I bury my shoes down the bottom of the case, I will ignore my raging guilt at bringing ten pairs (I think I have only ever managed to wear four). I must be a long lost relative of Imelda Marcos.
3) The laptop
Every blogger's, journalist's and writer's third arm, the laptop, most recently replaced by, or complemented with the tablet. I also like to take pictures and bring my SLR with me too - so there we have a bulging bag of technology. To reduce the weight of your now bursting at the seams bag, you could always leave some make up at home, but we all know that's not going to happen.
4) The press room
Leading nicely on from the requirement to bring the contents of your desk, the press room is like a battlefield. Squished into a small room which can only be 15 square feet in size, are the fashion interns, bloggers and journalists of the world. Once a show is over, you can test your fitness by running to the press room to grab a spot before the masses of media arrive. It goes something like this: exit show space, run across courtyard, get to press room door and struggle to find your pass to get in from the weighted down, over-filled bag, get in, drop bag and set up laptop, join coffee queue. The preceding activities take all of five minutes. Easy.
Tom's at Somerset House is my favourite coffee hang out. Pick a stool by the window which faces onto the backstage entrance and watch for designers and models popping out for a cheeky cigarette. It's a great spot. I interviewed Paul Costello in there in 2011 after his AW 2011/12 show over a cappuccino. It wasn't scheduled or agreed, I just walked up and asked and he politely said yes. He didn't take his sunglasses off during the interview. Legend. Moral of the story, you never know who you will meet.
Right so now you're ready to go forth and conquer the cobbles. Oh yeah, should have mentioned those.
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