London’s premier fashion event is all about exclusive parties and glamorous catwalk shows, and this Saturday, the next installment from the fashion industry kicks off. But if you’re not an insider, you probably won’t be able to get in. Fashion hounds needn’t throw their Mulberry handbags down in a huff yet, though – there are tons of fashion events for civilians, too.
The biggest is London Fashion Weekend, which takes place just after Fashion Week, on February 23. The four-day event will host more than 100 designers – Antipodium, French Sole and Twenty8Twelve included – selling pieces with up to 70 per cent discount. It’s a chance for stylistas to get their hands on designer trends for this season and next, at high-street prices.
Events manager at the British Fashion Council, Caroline Reader, advises getting in quick. “Stock is mostly limited and some pieces are one-offs,” Reader says. “So, if you see something you love, grab it immediately.”
There’s an area dedicated to vintage clothing, plus the Weekend Boutique will be satiating any British-brand needs. Stylish boys will find a menswear area with heavily discounted names, including DKNY, Vivienne Westwood, Marc Jacobs and plenty of new labels.
The catwalk shows throughout the weekend will be for both menswear and womenswear, and they’ll take place in exactly the same spot as the industry runway shows did during Fashion Week, showcasing the trends for spring/ summer 2012.
London Fashion Weekend isn’t just about the shopping, either. There’ll be DJs, pop-up bars and eateries from the likes of Chambord and Frae. You’ll find fashion and beauty booths all over the place – book hairstyling at the Toni & Guy stand (londonfashionweekend.co.uk), and hit The Cowshed Spa for mini-treatments and up to 50 per cent off products. Keep an eye out for competitions and free samples, too.
Fashion site shopstyle.co.uk, and celebrity stylists Rebekah Roy and Fiona Doran (aka Mrs Jones), will be on hand to share their fashion know-how. They’ll be picking outfits for people to try from their pop-up styling booth’s hand-picked wardrobe – filled with pieces from designers at the event. They’ll also give tips on how to wear what you’ve already bought, and be taking glam pictures.
The ladies will also be sharing the big trends from Fashion Week, and giving tips on how to spend your cash wisely on the designer pieces.
“London Fashion Week is great for seeing what’s coming out,” Roy says. “But if you want to shop, it’s all about London Fashion Weekend.”
When she clocks off work to shop, Roy will be checking out Kirsty Ward’s jewellery and the super-high shoes from Finnish brand Finsk.
While there’s enough to do this Fashion Week to make up for not getting into the exclusive parties, if you’re still after a spot on the list, Doran suggests social networking.
“My party-girl assistant Naddy’s tip is to look the events up on Facebook,” she says. “Then just get in touch, say you’re a fashion bod and ask to get put on the list. It works, apparently.”
The Vodafone London Fashion Weekend, February 23-26
Tickets from £12.50
Somerset House, Strand, WC2R 1LA