I've been blessed with many experiences in my 31 years on the planet, ranging from running with the Bulls in Pamplona
(Just in case you needed proof.....also...this is probably the only photo where I am even doing anything remotely cool...so may as well trot it out)
to watching Liverpool win the European Cup in Istanbul....and now I've been to a fashion show. I took part in a fashion show when I was 12 years old, arrogant and even smaller than I was cock sure (just ask Gemma Lebray (nee Gritz) for confirmation), but I don't think it counts. The experience ranks as more exciting than the birthing....but a little less then the others! That's not to say that it was without drama or atmosphere....but a little more of that later
The event started out with a large Latte as I waited for my boss to meet me (my second coffee of the day....luckily I had postponed the heart surgery I was intending to perform later that day)and we made our way to the Old Sorting Office on Oxford St. Joining the cue alongside an expected array of ridiculous (or is that ridik?) hair, sharp suits (special kudos to the Grey Fox) and street style photographers. Apparently my dad's old knitted jumper depicting Golfers and Mustard Yellow Desert boots wasn't stylish enough to warrant a snap. I'll get over it...I'm gonna have to!
Brits live to cue. I was meant to write love to cue....but live to cue is more apt I think. We see one (cue) and a strange English compulsion to join it takes over. Its the proper thing to do. To shirk the snake would be 'bad sport'.
Anyway, I digress.
Luckily my boss is not one to hold by convention, and with a quick gesture of the hand, a smile, a nod, some looking at clipboards,a handshake.... we were in.
We took our seats (after yet another coffee...was feeling pretty wired by this point), then somebody shook a bottle of Lilt and sprayed it all over the guests on the other side of the catwalk ( Catwalk - "long, narrow footway," in reference to such narrowness of passage one has to cross carefully, as a cat walks. Originally of ships and theatrical back-stages. Application to fashion show runways is by 1942. Thanks Etymologyonline.com). Well....this is not what happened...but it did look like that for a moment. What actually happened was that a hot water pipe burst. Judging by the faces of some of the crowd somebody must have farted as well, because fashionistas did not look best pleased. Reaction on the Twitt/Insta-sphere was also negative. Get over it people. Its not like they wanted it to happen. It was only hot water....not the slime from Ghostbusters II (although that would have been pretty cool). Everyone was "evacuated" back to the waiting area and this allowed for a lot more up/down checking out what people were wearing/who are you? looking. I did a fair bit of it myself I'm not ashamed to say. Some brown double monk straps really caught my eye...I really want a pair. Please Jewish Santa, I'll be good.
Eventually ushered back into the space and placed back on the bench (how do people decide how many arses can fit on a bench? What is the average arse size?), the show started with Specials drummer John Bradbury punching out a wicked beat over a reduced eery howl reminicent but not an exact replica of Ghost Town (one of my all time favorite tunes by the way). Although perhaps a strange place to start...I would like to discuss the models. I have read that Oliver Spencer is well known for mixing up 'normal' people with models for his shows. I like the concept if its done right. For example, The Kooples - complete nonsense in my opinion. Whats the point of supposedly using real couples to gain a contemporary gritty edge to the campaigns...if you only use really attractive couples. Even if they are "real" couples,they may as well be models as they just happen to perhaps have different jobs. In this show, I think the use of 'normal' people was largely a success. Some of the nodels that were used were celebrities in this instance.Gary Kemp. Excellent.
If Oliver Spencer is about producing well made clothing for a wide range of people and age groups then it's only right that it's displayed on the runway. Mr. Kemp was confident without being arrogant and looked well worn around the edges without appearing on the more homeless side of the scale. Ultimately, he took his task seriously and really pulled off the clothes he was wearing, which at the end of the day is pretty important.
The clothes were'Inspired by Le Corbusier, Spencer was motivated by urban renewal and Le Corbusiers mechanical, modular designs and modern materials;geometric spaces flooded with colour" (lifted striaght from the blurb sheet). Evidently these were just starting points for the collection, with subtle nods towards the Purist ethos littering the collection. The collection was emminantly wearable, with a good mix of texture, textiles, colour blocking and pattern.
Some of the atmosphere and details of the show get lost when you just see the photos, the smaller elements...such as the speckled soles of the shoes just don't have any impact in 2-d ... but at the show stood out in many ways. Thats to be expected...and I suppose thats the beauty of attending the shows in person. The run ended with Oliver coming out for a gracious bow....and an akward fist bumb/high five mix up with John Bradbury, but that is sooo on trend right now (see Bono at the Golden Globes last night). This was a very complete collection, with many of the elements being easily mixed, matched and interchanged inkeeping with the modular nature of the collection. The prints were judged nicely, and no one part or influence over stepped or over ran any of the others. But this article isnt really about the clothes...its about the experiance....and it was all over too quickly at that. In no time at all we had vacated our seats.....took one last glance around...and then into the light, onto the pavement and back to work, job done. I just hope I get invited to the next one!!
A very special thanks must go to www.fashionising.com for providing almost all of the images for this blog. I didn't really want to step on anyones toes and use images without permission....so I emailed and they kindly let me use the most excellent images that they had taken. I highly reccommend not just visiting the site, but signing up for their newsletters too http://www.fashionising.com/newsletter/ Another very special mention must go to one of the models...Chris Chasseaud. Not only is he evidently very good looking...but he's also actually a real talent. He contributes to the most excellent blog http://www.apetogentleman.com and is developing one of the funkiest ranges of clothing likely to his catwalks and red carpets in the very near future. keep your eyes peeled for Dent De Man and whatever else this Jack of all Trades Master of Most will be up to in the future. Here he is looking excessivly dapper