“I’m not leaving this place until I’ve bought something!”
It was a comment that summed up the event – made by a well dressed woman – funky, young and full of enthusiasm. As she burst out of the ladies’ toilets she obviously had one thing on her mind; to find a bargain and to do it quickly. The gleam in her eye said it all… it was the same possessed glaze echoed in the eyes of every fashion guru who crossed her path. She was merely one of many… yes, the London
Fashion Weekend has struck again… did you make it out unscathed?
Battersea Park played host to over 100 of London Fashion Week’s designers in February 2005 and they’ll be bombarding the Natural History Museum again in September. Once again selling clothes and accessories at wildly reduced prices. It goes without saying, a sale attracts hoards of bustling, manic, reduced price-junkie women. And, as the last show proved – those with an eye for fashion and expensive taste tend to be the most ruthless of the lot. The manicured talons were out, fangs bared and painted faces set in concentration. There were designer clothes on offer – and everyone wanted a piece of the action. It was a matter of dodging the crowds and snapping up that must have treasure – at whatever the cost.
A Lulu Guinness bag stole my heart in the first stall… and set the standard for the rest of the day. Too look or not to look, now THAT is the question. An inner argument between lust and common sense is fought with ferocious vigour. If I fall in love with something can I fight the urge to buy it?
“Oooh… look at that skirt! I don’t need it… or do I? I want it… I can’t afford it.”
But I want it…
“No!” moving right along…
“Oh my gosh… look at that HAT!”
The sea-saw of emotions plagued my conscience at each and every stall. Tashia London, Juicy Couture, Heidi Klein, Precious Lingerie, Kulture, Ben De Lisi… the selection reaches one hundred and is too long to list in full. One thing’s for sure, the Designer Stall pushed me to the point of no return – the kings and queens of fashion on display; fabric to die for and flattering cuts to woe even the most stubborn of shoppers. Unfortunately, it was window shopping without the windows. Falling in love with an item of clothing is avoidable… until one runs their fingers down the fabric. Luckily, price tags are often as good as divorce papers and the love affair is brief, beautiful but oh-so frustrating.
Designer fashion can not be carried off without the look to accompany it. In an attempt to educate the masses, personal makeovers were on offer in Elizabeth
Arden beauty master classes – a guaranteed place to put one’s feet up and have your face caressed like a canvas – instant beauty! If only it were that easy at home. For the hair-savvy, or disasters in need of a advice and product recommendations, Toni and Guy previewed the latest hair trends. Again, gorgeous results that were surely ‘prepared earlier’ – the hair equivalent of a cookery show. But, the message was clear – be bold with colour, embrace the blonde and red tones of the season and ‘it’s the products that make the style’. I’d volunteer my services as a model/guinea pig but the appalling outfits they made the poor darlings wear just wouldn’t be worth the torment. Funky cuts though – I’ll be giving the academy a call.
Bargain hunting-induced bruises were massaged away In the Evening Standard ‘This is London’ Lounge whilst manicures came at a price in the Crabtree and Evelyn
Hand Recovery Nail Bar. For relief of a different persuasion, complimentary Campari cocktails were in offer in the bar. Complimentary was the key here – a more bitter, unpleasant concoction you could not imagine. I’m not one to pass up a free cocktail (and I didn’t) but the number of discarded beverages said it all. It seems that London divas prefer it sweet and subtle. Luckily a mouthful of Carte D’Or ice cream eradicated any unpleasant aftertaste.
After an afternoon delving through designer dreams, I left full of complimentary cocktails, a flush in my cheeks and inspiration for my next shopping expedition. Relatively unscathed and unflustered, I wondered I’d made a mistake by exercising self restraint and fought the urge to join the lady from the toilets in a last minute rush around the stalls. Surely I couldn’t leave without finding something to purchase.. ANYTHING! One thing is for sure, I’ve be saving my pennies for September when the London Fashion Weekend returns. The designers will be back, the clothes are sure to be entrancing and the competition fierce. Best of all, I’ll have my bank balance topped up, my running shoes on (okay, sufficiently run-in heels) and my talons sharpened and ready. Watch your back – I will take NO prisoners!