Today was an unexpectedly crazy day. I had expected it to be busy - I had an early start at Orla Kiely at 9.30am, and most of the events I had scheduled were in different spots that would require a lot of travelling between, but I never expected it to be as, well, unexpected as it all turned out. I mean unexpected in a good way - I made unexpected show friends, bumped into old (and new!) faces, made it to the shows I needed to and somehow, somehow still unknown to me, ended up backstage and then second row for Holly Fulton (even though I didn't even have a ticket!) I will explain in detail, but first here are some pictures of what I wore for day two.
Beyond Retro ensemble. I loved the colours and clashing patterns, and chose to wear earrings from Hirst Antiques that matched the pearl detail on my top. The pear brooch was a last minute addition (it matched too well to leave it behind) and along with the bracelet is also from Hirst Antiques. The tights are vintage Mary Quant and the shoes are from Office, while the shirt, vest top, skirt and bag are all from Beyond Retro.
So, I got up stupidly early (earlier than I do for college!) and got down to the venue for the Orla Kiely show, which was in a space in Marshall Street (in between Carnaby Street and Berwick Street) so of course I was happy from the start as I just adore that part of London. We didn't have any queue or long wait at all (something that is almost obligatory at most shows) and were initially led into a gorgeous room with exposed brickwork and a smell of floral perfume, where we were served a sort of amazing champagne and elderflower cordial mix, and offered the sweetest mini flower cupcakes. I met two lovely people who worked for online magazines, which made the show even better as it's nice to have someone to talk to and sit with. We went through quite quickly and got a side row seat, so we had no one in front of us.
Orla Kiely is notorious for their beautiful presentations, and I knew from the invitation that this one was going to be just as amazing. The invitation had come with a packet of seeds, which if planted now will blossom into pretty wildflowers in spring/summer 2015. I loved this symbolism as the show we saw was effectively planting the seeds of what trends we will be seeing next year in our minds, that will blossom into stores and onto the street in the spring.
The floral theme was carried through the whole show, which began by Alia Penner starting to turn a few painted black and white circles into colourful flowers, that got bolder as the show went on. Each model came on with a huge wooden flower, which they planted into a plant pot as they walked. It was such a lovely idea to have the set being built during the show, and really gave you that growing, innocent, lolita-in-the-summer kind of vibe. Everything was bright, 60s and gorgeous, and the soundtrack was the icing on the cake (they played my favourite Rolling Stones song, She's Like a Rainbow).
Although it might be a little hard to see from my slightly blurry photos (I haven't mastered sports mode yet!) the collection was absolutely perfect. Light, smart materials were combined with practical, summery prints, in fun and girly colours. Shapes were classic and simple, but with a real 60s/70s twist that I just could not get over. The shoes were absolutely incredible, and although I have resisted for so long, I think after seeing them in the flesh I am going to have to save up and buy myself a pair. There was something for everyone; shorts and crop tops for the adventurous, day dresses for work, fancy numbers for going out and a whole host of just perfect pieces that would work in any wardrobe. I loved the show and the concept, and was very excited to even get a little freebie bag with a makeup bag and hand cream.
My next mission was to get over to Covent Garden for the Design by Shanghai event. Chinese fashion designers working in Shanghai had brought their collections over to a studio in Grape Street to showcase their work as part of the China Overseas Development Program, and it was a really lovely thing to be a part of.
All of the collections were really beautiful - the embellishment and embroidery was incredible, and there was a real range of techniques and fabric combinations on display that I just hadn't seen anywhere before. One of the designers had even worked with Alexander McQueen, which of course was amazing and really showed in his work.
I had originally gone on my own, but luckily met the really lovely Toni from Fashion Your Seatbelts. I've been reading her blog for a while and so it was so nice to be able to meet her in real life. It definitely made the event even nicer, as I was a little unsure where to go and what to do (at one point we ended up walking in to where the models were all getting ready!) so it was lovely to not be all alone!
After that, I stopped for a bite to eat (and one of my absolute favourite hazelnut iced coffees) before quickly heading down to Somerset House to meet the gorgeous Maddy from Fashion Obscura. We met properly way back at numerous Beyond Retro events, and it was so lovely to meet up and have a wander around together. All was fairly normal, then we were asked to have our photo taken together by two ladies who then asked who we were, and when they found out we were bloggers asked us whether we'd like to come backstage at Holly Fulton, which of course we couldn't refuse! We were all of a sudden led up the stairs and straight into the backstage area, which is in fact just a room with loads of people, makeup artists, clothes rails and photographers manically running around in preparation for the show. Maddy and I were a little bewildered to be there, as it had all happened so suddenly, but we soon got into it and had a bit of an explore around the hair and makeup and a look at all of the clothes that were going to be worn.
We had an amazing time just hanging around and taking pictures, including the mirror selfie we just couldn't resist taking. One of the models even posed for us while she was getting her makeup done.
As we were just standing there, one of the ladies that had originally let us in told us they could get us into the actual show if we wanted to, which of course we did - so we walked through and ended up sitting second row and with a fantastic view, even though neither of us had a ticket! It was such a surprise, made even better by the fact that the clothes were absolutely incredible. Each piece was so detailed and beautiful, but you could really imagine actually wearing it. I think that is so much more what fashion should be about, instead of these crazy creations that are more designed to be bizarre than to actually be worn. The colours used, three-dimensional florals and embellishments were incredibly modern and of-the-moment, while the shapes and pairing with cute square-heeled sandals and thick rimmed sunglasses really showed the link to and inspiration from the 60s.
After spending the whole time wailing about how wonderful it all was, Maddy and I came straight out (after picking up some complimentary coconut water and popcorn, of course) and almost walked right into Holly Fulton herself. We couldn't resist having a little chat and telling her how good the show was - she was so lovely and even had the time for some photos with us.
After that amazing but crazy surprise we hung about for a while before I had to dash off to my last event of the day, the Wolf and Badger presentation in Covent Garden. It was basically a showcase of lots of different brands, two of my favourites being Mandkhai Mongolian cashmere (knitwear is always in, and if the 60s and 70s are coming back then the knitted flares and crop top combinations I saw would be a perfect choice), and Sargossa, a range of beautiful shows that are actually designed to be comfortable?!
I may or may not have then had a very lovely but probably not the most fashion-week-esque dinner at Bill's in Covent Garden...who needs salad when they do halloumi burgers?! Anyway, I will be back tomorrow with another update, although you can follow my twitter or instagram if you would like for regular LFW updates during the day!