Time to fess up: before this weekend, I had never actually been to fashion week. That's not to say I haven't been within touching distance of it - between my internships and general style stalking, i've collated more show reviews and organised enough PR gifts to sink a small ship. But, oft left without any physical invitations, the thought of hanging around Somerset House surrounded by ornately (read: questionably) yarned please-pap-me street stylers in my humble Zara coat, never really appealed. In truth, I have always been quite happy snuggled up with a mug of tea watching a live stream, or covertly trying to watch the Burberry show in the University library. Legitimate attendance was not, I felt, on my immediate horizon.
Famous last words. Though I had planned a cosy weekend nursing jet lag whilst hovering over said live streams, a last minute call up had other plans for me. Emerging Talent Correspondent? Don't mind if I do. And so, a touch apprehensive and severely sleep deprived, I marched myself off my flight and into the nearest salon that would have me. At least, if I was going to wear the effects of a long-haul slog in economy, I would have good hair...
Fashion Week, unlike the fashion industry in many respects, is absolutely as mad as you think - especially for those of us not sitting front row, or being shuffled around by a driver. Egos are vast, photographers rife and the sartorial sights scaling between painfully cool and shamefully peacock-esque. Even to the trained eye (which I have. I think.) it can all be a bit much. So, from the numerous blunders I made, I thought I'd treat you to some valuable lessons learned from my first time at the rodeo.
1. Know Your Ticket Stickers
For the fashion pack, it's not just enough to get invited to a show - once you're there, it's all about where you sit, and how long you wait to get there. Of course, muggins here didn't realise this and - ignoring the gold star on my invitation - joined the back of a lengthy queue. Only after being plucked from the line by a PR, did I realise I was priority - and, evidently, a tad clueless.
2. Don't Rush
Every show runs late from the get go which, for a keen time keeper like me, was seriously panic inducing. However, it's part of the process - accept it. It didn't take me long to realise that arriving at top speed to delayed shows with a sweat on, was both unnecessary, and unattractive.
3. Don't Sit Behind A (semi) Celebrity
It wasn't intentional. In fact, if anything, you could say that ex MIC's Kimberley and her beau chose to sit in front of me - but it was too late by then. The cameras were well upon me. To avoid getting caught at the wrong angle by the Daily Mail, heed my advice - move while you can.
4. Find The Freebies
It took me until day three to realise that hotel ME was hosting a media lounge in their rooftop bar, Radio. Free drinks, phone charging and a view between shows - I wept into my complimentary cup of tea for the precious pennies spent lurking in Starbucks.
5. Comfort Over Style
An oldie but a goodie. Though I did make attempts to keep up with the style Joneses, by Monday - mostly because I was cold - I had cast my ripped jeans and pool slides aside, in favour of my trusty skinnies and breton stripe sweater. A sartorial safe zone it may be, but comfort won the day. Wardrobe envy was mine though and, having done the research, I think I've come up with the sweetest fashion week garb going. Maybe next year.
£32 - zara.com
£210 - otteny.com
£520 - matchesfashion.com
£360 - stylebop.com
£4,200 - 1stdibs.com
£1.94 - neimanmarcus.com