London Anti-Fashion Week

Image: Eleanor Doughty
Image: Eleanor Doughty

Every fashion week season, at the end of day one or early day two, I have the urgent and immediate need to go shopping.  Last season, I desperately required a new poloneck.  The season before, a stream of fuchsia pink ribbon from V.V Rouleaux.  (I was feeling like a show pony.)  I’m not sure whether its the sudden influx of shiny new clothes and hundreds of other fashion-weekers, providing inspiration for that special thing I’ve been missing, or some kind of pre-emptive present, a ‘good luck, it’ll be worth it in the end’ type pat on the back.  But either way, it happens and this season is no exception.  My target: the slip-on trainer.  You know, like those checkered Vans people used to wear at skateparks.  I’m not quite sure where the impulse came from, but I found myself racing between Friday afternoon shows to Topshop to ensure that I had a pair.  Immediately.

It was at Felder Felder that the idea came to me.  Sitting behind Vogue’s inimitable Lucinda Chambers and seeing her own (undoubtedly not Topshop) pair peeking from under the seat, it occurred to me that anti-fashion fashion week is the most ‘in’ thing this season.  And what better way to celebrate anti-fashion fashUN week than in boys’ shoes?  It’s just so easy.  They are so easy.  I jammed mine on on Saturday with the COS coat, bottle green and Celine-like, and an ASOS baseball top.  They paired neatly with a sixties mini; the ensemble, plus slightly misshapen, soggy fringe, worked a treat.  And I didn’t even feel felt out.

At Jasper Conran on Saturday I was seated with the Voguettes.  Emma Elwick-Bates in flats was in front with Serena Nikkar in a parka – yes, a parka – next to her.  Across the front row on both sides, only three pairs of heels could be spotted.  That’s right, three.  And the Voguettes have cars to be driven around in – it’s not just a practical measure but precise attention to detail in producing the down-time look that’s really, very much up-time.  Heels are out, y’all.

Because fashion week is really glamourous, isn’t it?  Wrong.  Not glam – it’s work, not a fun day out.  And London doesn’t do sexy, up-dressing anyway; I’m always surprised to see girls in heels on the cobbles at Somerset House because it’s not really our thing.  I am now someone that is irritated by those too dressed up, because I can’t think of anything worse.

So my season highlight isn’t a show – though there are some very impressive contenders.  It’ll be anti-fashion in a fashion world because if cool is what we aim for, then that’s got it bagged.

(In case you haven’t got a pair already, here’s my pick of the best the high street has to offer.  The high end brands have them too, Celine, Jimmy Choo, Tabitha Simmons amongst them but they require more dollar.  There are loads so this is a short edit.  You’re welcome.)




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