Having never been to Fashion Weekend, but also knowing that it is one occasion where you really do need to dress to impress, I hunted through all of my clothes and finally settled on a mid-length graphic-print tube skirt from Topshop (which apparently magnifies my butt so it looks almost Kim Kardashian-esque *so says my mom*), a black peplum top from Topshop, and my sky-scraping wedges from (you've guessed it) Topshop.
As for my make-up on the day, I wanted to try something truly different, so took a leaf out of my friend Cara's book and got creative with my eyeliner extending it into three elaborate swirls on my temples. It worked quite well considering this was the first time I'd ever done it. I kept the rest of my make-up really quite simple and used my Estee Lauder Double Wear foundation because I find it keeps my skin matte throughout the day, which when you're trying to navigate the London Underground on a Sunday morning carting a heavy suitcase around you could really do with safe-guarding.
Now, onto Fashion Weekend itself.
As I was working on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, I wasn't able to attend until Sunday, the last day. So I arrived at Somerset House on Sunday morning having strolled down the Thames in the rain. I was eagerly awaiting being indoors for the day. How wrong I was... Although everything for Fashion Weekend is technically indoors, you needed to go outdoors in order to access the different areas which when it is bucketing it down outside isn't fab. Within minutes my hair was frizzy, my feet were wet and my damp skirt was clinging to my apparently huge butt even more than it previously had. But I wasn't bothered, because LIFE IS NOT A DRESS REHEARSAL and you only live once. So I soldiered on...
After putting my suitcase in the cloakroom (which was free by the way) I headed over to the press desk, to collect a map and find out which areas I had access to. Sadly, there was no-one manning the desk so I grabbed a map and wandered aimlessly for a little while just trying to soak up my bearings. I checked the press desk again another two times during the day and there still wasn't anyone sat there...
Nonetheless, I soon realized what was what and was able to go explore the different exhibitors. I was expecting more of an exhibition hall layout like The Clothes Show in Birmingham, but found myself in a very different type of setting. Imagine a big huge mansion with loads of different corridors with rooms going off on either side, then the exhibitors are based inside those rooms. It was nice in a way because it felt like you were really in the designers own little pop-up shop, but everything was a bit chaotic as most rooms only had one door to come in and go out of so I found myself doing that awkward little you-go-first-no-you-go-first exchange multiple times throughout the day.
I'm sad to say that the exhibitors themselves generally weren't much to my taste... It was nice seeing Elizabeth Arden had such a large stall (being one of the event sponsors) but it wasn't quite big enough for me to get anywhere near it because there were so many people there! This was a huge shame really because I've been wanting to chat with an Elizabeth Arden representative about skincare for ages, so I guess I'll just have to head into Debenhams one weekend. benefit had a stall, but they weren't actually selling their products but just offering their services such as eyebrow threading and lash tinting, neither of which I was interested in. Diet Coke were giving out free cans (but I don't like Diet Coke), Kinder Bueno were giving away their new white chocolate bar (but there were none left when I was there) and Compeed were handing out free blister patches like they were sweeties. Apart from that, I didn't experience any freebie pushing or hard-selling all day which was kind of a nice break from what I experienced at The Clothes Show where if I so much as blinked in the direction of a stall I was pounced on and told about an 'exclusive offer' or five...
Other brands I was interested in browsing through included House of Holland, American Retro and VV Vintage. However, as much as I enjoyed having a look through their bits I didn't spot anything I was desperate to buy although I must admit the discounts available were really quite reasonable. Apart from these three, Elizabeth Arden and benefit I genuinely wasn't really that interested in many of the other exhibitors. Having said that, I was pleased to be introduced to a brand I've never known before named Lotus London which has a collection of Indian-inspired pieces (I'm a bit obsessed with Asia in general at the moment so I was automatically drawn to this brand) and another called Attiqueue which had some of the most reasonably priced vintage fur coats I think I've ever seen.
The only offer which I was drawn to all day *and then decided against* was that of Elle magazine who were offering 12 issues of the magazine for just £15 plus a free gift from benefit cosmetics worth £25. However, when I noticed that the Elle representatives were solely giving each customer two travel sized BADgal mascaras each and remembered that I only rarely pick up Elle I decided against investing. That said, I did invest in a £1 copy of their most recent issue. I kind of wish I'd spent the £15 now because I'm really enjoying the pieces especially the beauty pages... Nevermind.
I found bloggable fashion on the guests a bit thin on the ground to be honest... There was only one girl who I had a true style crush on but she breezed past me too quickly to grab a photo. She was wearing a shorts-suit which was in the most cutesy red and black focused plaid print you've ever seen with a white blousse secured with a black ribbon at the neck. Very adorable.
As for the catwalk fashion I found the best look on the Trend Catwalk Fashion Show to be the Lady Brocade look which is something I've been obsessed with for the past couple of years in fact. Its all about the vampy black and deep red colour mix, except its more grown-up than Twilight. Think structured silhouettes, stiff fabrics and a generally more professional approach. Obviously this is perfect for me because since gettinga job I NEED formal work-style clothes and I found this look really quite adaptable. The other two looks which where presented were Kitchen Chic and Sergeant Indigo but I didn't find either of them to be particularly ground-breaking.
I did manage to attend two of the talks which I wanted to see including the ELLE Beauty Panel and also the Sunday Fashion Panel, but I plan to blog about them in more detail in the upcoming week, so you'll just have to bear with me!
*£5.50 worth of cous-cous salad I didn't even want...*
When it was time for something to eat I was really quite disappointed with the lack of options and the price of food. I just wanted a simple ham sandwich and some crisps, but Tom's Deli only had posh salads and beef and horseradish sandwiches. I ended up with a cous-cous salad with melon and parma ham which was alright but wasn't worth £5.50 at all. Stinger.
Also, I know a lot of people will be wanting to know if I got a show bag but I have to admit I did not. In order to get one I was expected to part with twelve of my hard-earned Great British Pounds and after listening to a rather disgruntled 'goodie' bag buyer grumble about the fact that the only thing worth having inside it was a self-tanning mitt I very rapidly decided to keep my walled closed.
To conclude, London Fashion Weekend was a good day out for me without a doubt. Although the exhibitors weren't to my taste, the food options were terrible, the day seemed rather disorganized, there was no-one around to assist press and the goodie-bag was labelled a 'farce' by the aforementioned disgruntled girl, I felt that the two talks I attended were more than worth my heading down to London for the day. Plus the atmosphere *although chaotic to say the least* was amazing and it was fantastic to be able to soak it all up. Plus, I even spotted a couple of celebs...
*Fashion Royalty Hilary Alexander and TOWIE's Lydia Bright*
Did you go to London Fashion Weekend? What sort of exhibitors would you be interested in seeing at an event like this? Would you have taken advantage of the various discounts on offer?
Love and snuggles
ps. I must add that I did select a blogger as the winner of my Press Pass giveaway, sadly she was unable to make it at the last minute due to family commitments so I was unable to invite my other entrant at such short notice. Only two bloggers entered and I was really shocked with the community that no-one bar a friend of mine re-tweeted the giveaway or showed any interest whatsoever really. Its like, when the prize is free beauty bits everyone enters, but when it is a prize which offers the opportunity for bloggers to actually have a bit of a networking opportunity where they have the chance to interact with the industry they can't be bothered. I understand that many girls won't have entered because they couldn't get to London, but I also know that a great deal more could have done if they'd been passionate enough to generate worth-while content for their readers, Really quite disappointed. On the flip-side I wanted to say a great big thank you to the two committed bloggers who actually did enter. I have a really deep respect for both of you since seeing that your passion for your page apparently puts you in the minority group that place good quality blog content above free products. Thanks.