Like the storm that ravaged the country the weeks before, London Fashion Week 2014 was tumultuous with drama and passion. This year saw Hunter, Joseph, Mother of Pearl, Toga and Whistles as new editions to the season – joining the ranks of global brands including Burberry Prorsum, Matthew Williamson, Paul Smith and Pringle of Scotland to showcase alongside new establishment designers such as Erdem, Jonathan Saunders, Marios Schwab, Mary Katrantzou, Meadham Kirchhoff and Peter Pilotto – in an industry which is worth £26 billion to the British economy. With royal blue hues, earth tones and matchy layers dominating the style headlines and those Delevinge darlings or One Direction dudes peppering the FROWs and the gossip columns, on an international level undoubtedly it was more than the hemlines that were scrutinised at LFW14 – and designers know that little details really do make a difference.
If you thought it was all about being seen at the party, wild child Henry Holland went one sense further as his ‘Debauched Debutante’ show was given an olfactory luxe the designer compared to ‘smelling like the morning after the night before’. Quirky British company Noble Isle provided the fragrance with their evocative and uber hip scent ‘Whisky and Water’, which is redolent of a fine single malt (and apparently also loved by Brad Pitt). When Central St Martins alumni palmer// harding thought about jewellery for their show they turned to their sponsor Sheaffer. The AW14 palmer// harding collection was themed around paper and as a result we saw their ‘quietly beautiful’ structured white shirts adorned with Sheaffer pens - incorporating the classic writing instruments into the mood and aesthetic of the show’s styling.
From tiny touches on the runway to equal efforts behind the scenes; PPQ were keen to ensure that their models literally had some meat on their bones and thus served up hearty Piemaster Pies with mash and gravy backstage. And for those conscious that the comfort food would go straight to their curves, the designers then laid on figure shaping undies from luxury lingerie label Grace & Wilde. By way of a healthier paradigm, both Christopher Kane and Tom Ford enlisted the services of juicing company Roots and Bulbs to ensure their shows were fuelled with green energy. Roots and Bulbs’ founder Sarah Cadji and her team worked overtime to produce over 350 bottles of cold-pressed green juice – using over 500kg of vegetables! For the Christopher Kane show – which took place at 8pm on the Sunday – they were up at 6am to ensure demands were met. Cadji explained the benefits ‘, Just like the Londoners that we will be serving in our store, models, designers, make-up artists and fashion press are incredibly busy during the Fashion Week season – it’s a fast paced, sophisticated and incredibly driven way of life. Green juice fits into this frantic whirlwind – it’s a quick infusion of nutrients that you couldn’t get in a lunch on the go and it tastes great too!’
Thinking very much inside the box, pop-up-space The Shop marked its return to LFW this year with a collaboration with the RSPB to celebrate National Nest Box Week - which starts the same day as London Fashion Week. British designers including Giles, Jasper Conran, John Rocha, Julien Macdonald, Katherine Hamnett, Wayne Hemingway, Vivienne Westwood and Zandra Rhodes showed their support for their feathered friends by customising nestboxes for birds to be auctioned on eBay. Emma Barrow, Head of Events at Somerset House – where London Fashion Week is celebrating its tenth season this year – says the logistics become more and more challenging each year to accommodate designers’ flamboyant requests and desires to create fantastic shows. She told us ‘, At Somerset House seven substantial spaces are dedicated solely to London Fashion Week and London Fashion Weekend. We work with the British Fashion Council on the logistics and they have worked with the same key suppliers for a number of seasons.
This makes life easier for all, since we all now know the layout and style of the overall event so well. Discussions about new spaces, ideas and projects will start pretty much immediately after the previous event. One of the changes for this season was the layout inside the tent in the courtyard to accommodate larger numbers of both large and small catwalk shows. The nature of fashion and designers means there are always last-minute decisions which can sometimes be a challenge. From the events team’s point of view, we need to see and approve plans for health and safety beforehand, as the event is in the public domain. Because of the sheer size and scale of London Fashion Week and how ambitious the installations are becoming, a lot more time is required in terms of build – it has become a 24-hour operation before the event, but this simply means that the outcome is bigger and better than before.’
For further information on London Fashion Week visit www.londonfashionweek.co.uk