Fyodor Golan’s pre-walk fronted by cool-oozer Chloe Nørgaard
Another season of London Fashion Week (LFW) has passed again, with this particular autumn/winter ‘14 showcase providing not only just clothing spectacles, but also a torrent of rain and gale-force winds, terrorising the accessories of the fashion concious spectator. I picked the stupid idea of wearing a hat on the one day I attended, and spent my day anchoring my hat and fiddling with my camera simultaneously, gathering content for TRACE Publicity’s shows Jean-Pierre Braganza and Fyodor Golan. Last season I covered the ins-and-outs of LFW behind the scenes, and while I won’t be providing any actual show coverage (as there’s many other places you can find that), I will be describing to the best of my capabilities the build up to the final catwalk, and what it’s like being in the shoes of a humble observer.
front row celebrity guests spotting the fashionable crossed-leg manoeuvre
The vibe this season was no different than my first experience of LFW. If anything, it was a bit rainier, which dampened the efforts of the camera hungry, meaning there was less of the wacky to snigger at. My role at LFW, other than the occasional snap for Mr. Boy, is to provide social media content for TRACE Publicity’s shows, which in turn provides me with a pretty enthralling experience, seeing the final hour of production that goes into making seven solid, glorious minutes. Where the show is actually setting up, the press team will be laying their front row treats, the photographers will be setting up their keen kit in the ‘pit’ (where the photographers bunch together uncomfortably to produce the photos you see in the papers) and the technical team will be tinkering the sound and the lighting for final checks. Backstage however, is where the designer and his team are judging the final fittings on the models, who are being pulled frantically around by hair & make-up, backstage photographers and the designers themselves. Then there’s myself and a few others, uncomfortably butting in to get a smartphone snap so we can banally tell the world of our antics to show off our spirited excitement.
It’s definitely a good forty minutes well spent being backstage. For anyone who wants to learn anything about the efforts that go into a show (when really it’s just the tip of the iceberg) and to feel the nerves trickle through the atmosphere, it’s truly a memorable experience. You can sense the vision of the team when the models take their pre-walk - the designers crossing their arms or rubbing their chins profusely, judging every step and moment paused by the walking mannequin. It’s high tension, but somewhat glamorous for the up-and-coming spectator, who in my case, realises all of the six months spent hibernating in a studio essentially amounts to seven intense minutes of pacing down the catwalk. There’s so much work that goes into making the show look so grand - an amalgamation of efforts from people from all fields, and not just the creative, fashion side of the industry. Without sounding too fantastical, it’s the result of a large group of imaginative individuals who clearly share a similar vision.
top; Jean-Pierre Braganza judging his pre-walk with anticipation | bottom; Fyodor Golan’s final walk
Once the pre-walk finishes, the models go back to their chairs, accompanied by 5-6 hair & make-up artists and most importantly, their mobile phones. It’s no surprise that sitting there for an hour, staring at yourself in the mirror, can be pretty dull (at least for some) and to pass the time, most of the models flick through their social media channels, taking selfies to show off to their followers. It’s particularly odd to see how social media has created this generation of ‘having something to do but not really doing anything’. People say it’s the actual phone that has caused us to lose contact with reality, but I’d say it’s the pressure of social feeds and online popularity that has really influenced how we interact today (something which I’m victim of myself), something which is clearly emulated not within only the realms of backstage, but also in the spectating rows where individuals seem more wrapped up on taking photos of what they are seeing, rather than actually seeing it with their own two eyes. Saying that, there’s definitely something satisfying about taking photos of the phenomenon that is people getting lost into their phones.
an old friend showing off her final hair & make-up before the show begins
Drifting back on the main topic, I’ll set the scene. There’s ten minutes to go before the show begins, the seating tickets begin flooding in (as tickets are allocated as either seating [seat specific] or standing) and the press team gets to work, making sure no one particularly important is left waiting at the doors, and that those with the seated tickets can confirm their comfortable place among the ranks. Meanwhile backstage, the pressure is on as the final fitting begins, and elaborate pieces are pinned and taped, loose hairs are brushed aside and the final applications of pristine lipstick have been firmly cemented. It’s chaos usually behind and in front of the model entrance, ensuring the show starts on time (when really it rarely does, which is to be expected). Then, in the final five minutes, the standing tickets are rushed in, and the perfect-shot hungry individuals, who are sharp enough to avoid the significant group of security and production members, will slide across every nook and cranny of empty space to produce the photos, which flood the internet during this month of fashion shows. The lights dim, the crowd hushes and a beat echoes throughout the hall and voila, the results of all the hard work begins, as does the hopes and prayers that no one falls over in their six inch stilettos.
I’m not sure why I opted to write such a descriptive post of what goes on before the show starts, but I remember attending my first ever LFW show with Fyodor Golan and thinking “well Jesus this is just damn beautiful”. I think it was that day when I realised how I was part of a pretty great industry (which of course has its ups-and-downs), and how there’s many individuals who want to know what it’s like, and no one really ever tells you what it’s like besides the actual glamour. I recall talking to a friend called Seb, who when asked about the Fyodor Golan show this season gleefully replied “that’s what LFW is about”, and that’s a similar feeling I get watching all the hands at work backstage, turning a vision into reality. Hope you enjoyed the read.
- Mr. Boy