Friday, 18 September 2009

Fashion Week Begins!

The countdown to London Fashion Week has begun with the proceedings kicked off this morning with a fun extravaganza called Headonism, presented by Erin O'Connor and Stephen Jones before an excited audience of assorted BFC officials, the usual rag, tag and bobtail crowd that any London fashion event draws like a magnet – and very few journalists.

Most of them, poor darlings, had flown back overnight from New York and were still beauty-sleeping. Necessary since with the current restrictions, and with newspapers and magazines running scared over losing readers and the lucrative advertising revenue they engender, even quite grand ladies of fashion have been demoted and now have to travel in the back of the plane. No more free champagne – can you imagine?

But they weren't missed because we had Joan Collins, rather surprisingly, dressed up to the nines and buffed up so superbly (like an old Bentley in perfect showroom condition) that she managed to make every other woman in the room look, if not quite dirty, then certainly rather scruffy. Like us, our Joanie was highly entertained by the Mayor of London, who deliverd a splendidly jingoistic speech that went down a treat. Witty and easily understood, it was a riff on the old 'The British are the best' refrain normally wheeled out when we are not quite as sure of ourselves as we would like to be. All great fun and an object lesson in how to win votes even though neither the audience nor the cause interests you in the slightest.

The new venue for LFW – a tent in the cortyard of Somerset House, a noble neoclassical building overlooking the Thames conceived by the 18th-century architect Sir William Chambers – seems as if it will work very well. Tonight we are at a house not quite as dignified and certainly not as noble for the official opening party for British Fashion Week: a reception at  No 10, Downing Street, hosted by the Prime Minister's wife, Sarah Brown. It is the hot ticket and you can guarantee that all those press ladies notable by their absence at the shows today will be out in force, regardless of thier political colouring. That's the fashion biz. So dedicated.

(Photograph © Alan Davidson)