Yesterday London Fashion Week came to a close. Over the past six days, Somerset House had transformed into a huge multiple pop-up showroom for over 220 designers exhibiting their take on spring and summer 2012.
The BFC show tent inside the courtyard in Somerset House, the Old Sorting Office on New Oxford Street and the Freemasons’ Hall in Covent Garden hosted most of the over 100 official catwalk shows, but, what became apparent upon walking through the arches at Somerset House was that the real catwalk lay right there in front of you, no hot ticket needed. A bustling herd of fashion conscious people, eyeing and snapping each other up, cameras, blackberries, high heels on cobbled floor, looking fabulous and putting on the greatest show that is fashion week, Brit style. (An American fashion writer who had just flown over from New York Fashion Week commented how people at LFW ‘get really dressed up and even like to be photographed’.) The crowd that spilt out onto the Strand even attracted the typical slow walking tourist to come into the courtyard and take a voyeuristic glimpse.
Inside Somerset House buyers and press were invited to look at carefully curated mini show spaces of ready-to-wear garments, millinery, sunglasses, jewellery and other accessories closely located next to each other. Like in a shop, the visitor is allowed to take a close look and touch the items which works to a great advantage over any fast paced catwalk show where the fashion might come to life but where there is neither enough time to take in an entire collection, nor to get an idea about what the clothes would actually look like in reality. In some cases, the ‘prototype’ garments from the catwalk ended up at the showroom again, complete with lipstick marks on the collar.