The Fashion Zone

Posted in Monthly, Best-Loved, Fashion at 1:00 pm by Pasha

After a decade of ogling fashion week from a far, I finally popped my cherry in London.

London Fashion Week was the talk of the town. Size zero models, young home-grown designers and which celebs would be spotted at the Marc Jacobs Catwalk Show, was written about over and over again in publications from Grazia to The Times. So, when I was bestowed with a press pass to cover LFW for pashacarroll.com, I was all too thrilled and honored.

I worked out an outfit that would be suitable for the exhibit, which is part of Fashion Week, but no where near as grandiose as being at one of the designer’s catwalk shows. Those are by invite only. I wasn’t invited (not that I begged or anything,) but there us always next year.

Still, one must be suitably dressed on such an occasion. Not wearing at least one current trend to Fashion Week is like wearing heels on the beach … it defeats the whole purpose.

Kitted in my roommates Calvin Klein overcoat, high-wasted trousers and this seasons Kenneth Cole platform pumps, I emerged from the underground into a different world. London Fashion Week Exhibition was held in tents outside of the National History Museum. The towering brick and concrete façade made for a brilliant backdrop to a fantastical world of fashion.

A LFW guard checked my “Boarding Pass,” a print out of a barcode the organizers had sent me upon approval. I was waved through and sashayed down the concrete carpet. With my head held high, it took all my effort not to trip on my too-tall shoes and too-long trousers, while trying to maintain a confidence. Meanwhile, I was truly nervous as a Chihuahua in a snow storm.

When the polite receptionist scanned my code, printed my name on the pass that hung from a LFW lanyard, and handed me a LFW tote bag with maps and a welcome book, by heart skipped a beat. I was here. I was actually part of the press covering this chic event.

Still trying to maintain my professional aura, while sweating under the heavy coat and aching in my platforms, I wandered into the unknown. Kiosk cubicles lined the walls, each exhibitor sectioned off by category: Ready to Wear, Accessories, NewGen, D&A, Estethica, Services and Sponsors

Since this was my first time, I had no idea what to expect. So, I put on my rectangular eye glasses, pulled out my gold notebook and red pen, and fell into the pursuit of looking experienced and important.

Directly to the left of the ground floor entrance was the Accessories. The air was filled with the smell of cowhide, distressed to make astonishing handbags. I coveted each of those bags and quietly hoped to myself that one would be misplaced and end up on my arm.

As I passed each booth, scribbling notes and pretending not to eavesdrop, it clicked what the actual LFW Exhibit is for. Buyers were sitting with designers, choosing the Fall/Winter 07 merchandise they would stock for eager shoppers next year. Other designers were talking to press representatives - some from the likes of Vogue, others presumably simply bloggers like me - itching for publicity to help sell next year’s range.

I made my way to the back of the level: past the Toni and Guy hair salon, the MAC Cosmetics area, the Superdrug pharmacy and a little bar, to the Press Lounge. Later I looked back on the experience and wished I had spent more time in there relaxing and drinking it all in, as well as a few bottles of Evian. Or in there doing what the other members of the press was doing, writing their stories.

Instead I breezed through the hum of laptops, banter of last night’s catwalk shows, and only stopped briefly to take a few more notes to help me remember what it felt like to be there. I should have taken advantage of the free newspapers splayed everywhere, settled on one of the overstuffed cream leather couches and basked in my status.

But alas, I was eager to see what was on the next level.

There I found an even greater level of fashion intimidation. As all the designers and assistants chattered in their booths, I could feel their eyes burning me up as I passed. Maybe they hoped I was someone who would discover their designs or put them in a consumer magazine so they would be on their way to fame and fortune. But I didn’t want to stop to talk to anyone, in fear of be ousted as an intruder.

You see, while I was given the press badge, it still doesn’t put me in the ranks of someone who really matters in this world. The week before, during New York Fashion Week, I read in the New York Times how a press pass to Bryant Park was no longer hard to obtain. Thus, the columnist said, bloggers and independent amateur writers were clogging up the once elite crowd. She even noted that an online journalist made out with Anna Wintours’ interview, an honor that not very many fashion journalists have had.

The root of my intimidation though, was business cards. As I stopped to look at feather tiaras, an eager designer approached me. I asked for a brochure, she asked for my card. I couldn’t produce. After that, I wasn’t stopping anywhere.

I did not walk the entire exhibit. Looking back, there are several things I would have done differently and hopefully as a seasoned pro, will do in the future.

I would sit for a bit in the press room and read through the exhibit book. It gives the understanding of the layout and the designers showing. It also tells you that the press room is meant to be used. I would print cards. I would wear my Saks flats with a good old pair of Seven jeans.

If there was ever a Fashion Week exhibit to cut my teeth on, I am thrilled that it was London’s. Now hopefully next year I can worm my way into an actual Catwalk Show!


  1. MOM said,

    February 20, 2007 at 6:17 pm

    Oh the whole thing sounds grand.. Well honey say good bye to London…Im a leaving on a jet plane…..Happy trails….Keep in touch.. LOL Mommie

  2. Gleamer said,

    February 23, 2007 at 6:32 pm

    What an awesome last big memory of London and what an fantastic blog. Only 3 days left. I bet your head is spinning. Love you lots and lots!

  3. Lewdawg said,

    February 25, 2007 at 12:04 pm

    I wish I could “worm” my way into a catwalk! HEEHAW! You two have safe travels. And hopefully I will see you real soon. Take care. Talk to ya later, Lew

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