It is officially fashion month. Now, for those in the industry (or a few lucky bloggers) this means weeks of flights, flutes of champagne and hours spent praying you don’t get stuck in traffic. All while surviving on a limited diet of regular food made very-very-small or the occasional Percy Pig! For everyone else the next month means the endless streaming of shows, flicking through blogs and a near constant checking of Instagram.
Those in the know will have been scouring the highlights from Berlin and Stockholm fashion week already, building look books and pre-ordering pieces. However, we here at Very know how easy it is to get lost in the crazy crazy world of fashion and before you know it you feel confused and overwhelmed and you end up stuck in last seasons tartans – that’s why I’ve written a very simple guide to the approaching fashion weeks. While the catwalks may feel like a million miles away and the outlandish trends totally unachievable, it’s well worth watching a few shows online and getting a feel for what the industry is up to. It will after all influence what you’ll be buying from Very in a few short months!
The difference between fashion weeks is as stark as the different languages spoken, and before you say it – Americans speak a very different kind of English to us! At a glance fashion month is a series of shows held in different cities for the designers to release their latest designs, on closer inspection fashion month is a series of weeks condensing that countries fashion culture into a jam packed week of exhibitions, parties and designs. From bold and brash NYFW to edgy and uncouth LFW – dig beneath the timetable and discover a celebration of each cities unique identity.
In case you’re not sure where to start, who to watch and what to look out for I have narrowed down and condensed the “big four” weeks for you. New York Fashion Week kicks off today so settle back, flick on your tablet and get involved in the wonderful theatre of fashion.
New York Fashion Week :February 6th – February 13th
Leader of the pack Anna Wintour traded her British roots long ago and now, without a single strand of hair out of place she raises the standard of both the designers and the FROW (front-row) at NYFW.
Though well established New York Fashion Week has developed a love/hate reputation amongst the fashion pack. It’s neither the most influential of weeks nor the edgiest – what it seems to have capitalised on it being the most commercial. The focus is on sales in a big way. Kicking off the official fashion month every year also puts a lot of pressure on NYFW to throw the very best parties, have the most celebs on the FROW and set a fast-paced, fashion-fabulous momentum. Critics argue that because of the commercial aspect the week has lost sight of true fashion week.
Regardless of the sceptics NYFW shows off the best of all American design (Ralph Lauren, Calvin Klein) and has moments of true fashion innovation with new blood designers (Marchesca, Peter Som).
Dress to impress and go for bare legs – you absolutely cannot wear tights anywhere in NYC without receiving scornful looks. Pair your bare look with mannish tailoring and understated yet quality accessories to impress the masses. Prepare to pose for the camera, NYFW is as much about the Licoln Center steps as it is the runway.
London Fashion Week :February 14th – February 18th
New kid on the block London Fashion Week is not to be underestimated, like a younger sister what it lacks it years in more than makes up for in attitude. Showcasing the edgiest, youngest, freshest and most controversial of the fashion world this week is quite the experience. There are stand-out names at LFW like Burberry Prorsum, John Rocha, Jasper Conran and Stella McCartney who all do shows exceptionally well – bringing fashion week finesse to the schedule. But what London is really about is showing off the best of British fashion at its very rawest. Names like Erdem, J.W. Anderson and Eudon Choi are bandied about for a reason – these fresh, new influential designers are shaking the industry up and gaining a stylish reputation round the globe.
Short but sweet LFW is over in a well designed flash so clear your diary for these shows – the most luxe they are definitely not, but the most credible? They may well be.
Prepare to be lost in a swarm of vintage wearing hipsters and designer/High St collaborations. Your best bet is to wear all your clothes at once a la Susie Bubble and hope for the best.
Milan Fashion Week :February 19th – February 24rd 2014
Milan and Paris are arguably the two most similar fashion weeks. For fashion lovers like me watching the shows at Milan and Paris is like visiting old friends, or a big warm family reunion (albeit a very chic family).
Milan and Paris are the home of the fashion crème de la crème – the big, iconic, influential names like Prada, Dolce and Gabbana and Lanvin (that’s “lon-vaun” darrrling). Every season we all wait with baited breath to see what talented designer has reinvented what iconic brand. Seeing how Karl Lagerfeld takes the Chanel legacy and crafts it to create fresh, future facing ideas every season is nothing short of breathtaking. Of the two Milan can definitely be described as most opulent – the sets are hands down magical, and not in a spinning globe/raining runway sort of way, in a oh-my-goodness-look-at-that-stained-glass-made-from-rubies kind of way.
The Milanese are also old school, don’t expect to stream many shows – these guys are all about the history, the panache, the moment of the shows.
Understated opulence is the way to impress the Italians – slip into your finest denims, find your shoes with the red soles and embrace mannish tailoring on top. Keep your make-up natural and barely there – try hard is frowned upon by these flawlessly beautiful Europeans.
Paris Fashion Week :February 25th – March 5th
Ahh PFW – the name itself sends shivers down my spine. Rich, dramatic and beautiful the city of romance hosts perhaps the most famous fashion week of all – a pilgrimage for fashion lovers worldwide.
Supposedly the fashion capital of the world (though there is decreasing evidence of this on the streets) Paris has a rich, colourful and very fabulous history of producing the most beautiful, desirable and expensive clothing along with training the very best of the designers. The capital itself is a glorious setting and the shows, while not as ground breaking in locale as say London are still progressive and cutting edge.
The most defining aspect of PFW is the combination of well established fashion brands (Chanel, Dior, Yves Saint Laurent) with new, edgy French labels (Isabel Marant, Maxine Simoens, Bouchra Jarrar).
Dress immaculately in heritage brands with understated accessories. You will be papped by enthusiastic bloggers – so adopt the signature French nonchalance, sip your coffee, and pretend it’s not happening.
I hope you’ve enjoyed the Very guide to fashion week, if you want to find out more simply follow the links and start planning what shows to stream – I highly reccomend the Burberry show, last years had me in floods of fashion tears.
Love, Roanna X
p.s. For style snaps, beauty, ethical fashion and more check out my blog: becomingraje.