>> From minus thirty temperatures to slushy sleet to cats-and-dogs rain to ten minute snow storms with a peek of sun in between and then back to frigid winds and showers, this month has been a weather obstacle to challenge even the most pro of fashion month packers.  Not to toot my own packing horn but I consider myself a nifty/smart-ish packer, fine tuned by the regularity of hauling suitcases out of the house as well as travelling to a multitude of climates during the year.  There may not be official censuses to go by, but it’s certainly the wettest/windiest/coldest combo of gross weather I can remember for the duration of a fashion month.  My friend Phil Oh can fly attest to this – he along with the most hardcore of street style soldiers do have to actually stand outside the shows and endure the conditions as opposed to the fortunate peeps, who swan in and out of heated venues and warm cars).

All in all, it made for some wayward layers.  Multiple dresses and skirts over multiple trousers.  Faux furs hiding underneath bigger parkas.  Wearing body conscious tops in dubious fabrics just to create some artificial heat on the body.     Doubling/tripling up on Uniqlo Heat Tech as well as a trusty Uniqlo Lemaire polo neck, which I’ve worn so much this month, it’s pilling like mad.  And when it did get mildly warmer, might have wanted of spring summer’s prints – namely Coach’s ditzy florals, Simone Rocha’s sakura, Loewe’s menswear manga and Miu Miu’s clubbing cruise collection to come out and play, having been obscured by outerwear.  Towards the end of the month in Paris my coat-induced hunchback could finally be banished.  Bring on spring I say.

NYFW-New_York_Fashion_Week-Fall_Winter-17-Street_Style-Susie_Bubble-Ph. Collage Vintage – Acne jacket, skirt and scarf, Junya Watanabe top, Waven jeans, TL-180 bag, Acne x Stephen Jones hat

0213-susie-lau.nocrop.w1800.h1330.2xPh. Koo for TheCut – Molly Goddard grey smock, Celine trouers, Robert Clergerie slip-ons, M. Patmos beanie, Raey jacket

ETS_4590Ph. Egor Tsodov for Fashion IQ – Dion Lee jacket, Altuzarra shirt and skirt, vintage Chanel trousers, Altuzarra saddle bag, Céline slip-ons

image (1)Ph. Victoria Adamson for Refinery 29 – Shrimps jacket, Tome shirt, velvet top, shredded Waven jeans, Dorateymur boots, TL-180 bag

koo-street-style-0217-susie-lau.nocrop.w1800.h1330.2xPh. Koo for TheCut – Mr & Mrs Italy jacket, Coach biker jacket, dress and shoes

01-phil-oh-street-style-lfw-fall-rtw-2016Ph. Phil Oh for Vogue.com – Loewe jumper, Loewe Puzzle bag, Fyodor Golan dress J.W. Anderson shoes

image (3)Ph. Victoria Adamson for Refinery 29 – Miu Miu coat, Roksanda slipdress, Prada bag

LFW-STREET-DAY2-2-1080x750Ph. Phil Oh for Vogue.com – Coach jacket and dress underneath Ashish dress

Day-1Ph. IMAXTREE – Vintage Chinoiserie jacket and shirt, Pucci scarf, vintage Chanel trousers, Gucci bumble bee slippers, Gucci ‘Tian’ GG Boston bag, Dior sunglasses

mfw-street-day3-1Ph. Phil Oh for Vogue.com – Raey jacket, vintage Jean Paul Gaultier Jeans top and D&G top from Pelicans and Parrots, Minki Cheng skirt, Gucci ‘Tian’ GG Boston bag

imagePh. Victoria Adamson for Refinery 29 – Miu Miu jacket, Christopher Kane skirt, Loewe Puzzle bag, Meadham Kirchhoff shoes

paris-str-rf16-7644Ph. IMAXTREE – Toga dress, Burberry rucksack

_14A2251_2Ph. Stefano Poletti – X-Girl t-shirt, Simone Rocha skirt, Dior shawl, Louis Vuitton bag, Diadora trainers

koo-street-style-0308-susie-lau.nocrop.w1800.h1330.2xPh. Koo for TheCut – Wearing Poesia dress from Opening Ceremony, Miu Miu coat, Gucci ‘Tian’ GG Boston bag and Vans x & Other Stories shoes

paris-street-day-5-25Ph. Phil Oh for Vogue.com – Acne jumper, Miu miu dress, Acne bag

paris-street-day6-9Ph. Phil Oh for Vogue.com – Céline suit and bag, X-Girl t-shirt, Vans x & Other Stories shoes

25-phil-oh-paris-street-style-day8Ph. Phil Oh for Vogue.com – Kenzo hoodie, Loewe mens cardigan, Loewe Puzzle bag, Maison Margiela boots, vintage Chanel tights from Resee.com

One of my favourite images that I took on my trip to India back in February is the one below.  It was taken on the outskirts of Jaipur on a very impoverished side street.  But in one snapshot, I see embroidery.  I see ombre dyed fabric (a sunset effect from lilac to orange) and I see an array of colours, both worn by the children themselves and also on the clothes line in the background.  More importantly it’s the way fabric is utilise and integrated with real life in India, that was so striking to me. 

And thus, the title of the V&A exhibition The Fabric of India isn’t just a simple description of the 200 examples of Indian textiles that you will see in the museum.  The point isn’t to look at say a richly embroidered Mughal hunting jacket from the 17th century or a vast Gujarat appliquéd wall hanging in strict isolation but to see that the appreciation of crafts such as vibrantly coloured resist dyeing, ornate embroidery, handloom weaving and the overall importance of raw materials like cotton and silk still have a relevance in the India of today.  And that was evident everywhere we went. 

I don’t think I’ve ever been to a country where the aesthetics of textiles are integrated so thoroughly into everyday life.  From the brilliantly lit-up marquees of banquet weddings to the seat covers of the tuks tuks to the freshly dyed fabrics drying on poles and even the makeshift housing tents on the side of the roads – textiles are everywhere and there’s a pride in their appearance whatever the circumstances.  Even when cheap or of inferior quality, there’s an appreciation of overall aesthetics that is hard to ignore.  Hence why a woman in an inexpensive Made in China silk sari will still look striking to my untrained eye.  A walk around the markets of Jaipur and everywhere people are touching fabric, with of course the rite of wedding being central to these exchanges, where you see women sitting on the floor of a fabric shop, inspecting the embroidery of the cloth and bargaining fiercely with the shop keepers.  If people want a change in colour of their existing fabrics, they’ll go to their local dyers .  You hear the humming of sewing machines everywhere as tailors regularly do alterations or run up suits and saris.  Unlike Western countries where we’re largely divorced from making of of our clothes, in India people – and in particular women – are really connected with the cloth that they swathe their bodies in, no matter what social strata you happen to be in. 

The contemporary Indian fashion designers such as Manish Arora and Abraham and Thakore, that feature in the final portion of the Fabric of India might bear little connection with what the majority of Indians wear but fabric in its finished, dyed and embroidered form plays a huge role in Indian life.  The exhibition will showcase the most elite and superior examples of these fabrics but even the most mundane and ordinary of ensembles on the streets in Jaipur and Delhi were inspiring to the eye.

The Fabric of India, supported by Good Earth India, with thanks to Experion and Nirav Modi, is at the V&A from 3 October 2015 – 10 January 2016

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From seventeen paying punters at Port Eliot’s first ever edition back in 2003, the festival has grown exponentially.  You felt that growth at this year’s festival, which returned after a one year hiatus to give the grounds of Port Eliot in St Germans, Cornwall a rest.  There seemed to be “more” of everything – more tents, more bustle, more words to hear, more drinks a-flowing, more things to eat, more vintage stalls to rummage through.  Or perhaps the “more” was extra exacerbated with the weekend coinciding with an ultra hot heatwave wafting through this part of the world.

Still, that “moreness” didn’t diminish the feeling that you can still find somewhere to escape to in the extensive grounds, depending on your interest.  On top of the big spiky tents like The Bowling Green, Park Stage and Caught by the River where the “big” acts were on, the bustling Wardrobe Department where there were queues aplenty to get your face/hair did, I love that there are smaller pockets that are more tucked away – The Badger’s Sett for kidult crafting, Ways with Weird and Dovegrey Reader for more intimate talks and then if you don’t want to hear anyone speak, feel free to lie on the lush lands/woods, watching the trains go past on the viaduct and take the a restorative nap or two.

Actually, for the most part of the weekend, I wished I could be in more than two places at once as the timetable had quite a few clashes of talks/words/demonstrations that I wanted to see.  The last thing you want to feel though is stress at a festival that is supposed to be something of a restorative experience for the mind and body.  So I didn’t get to see everything I wanted to… I’ve still taken away an extensive to see/read/do list to ensure the Port Eliot spirit carries on beyond the weekend.

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0E5A4648I have no idea what these tea-dress ladies were doing in front of the house but it looks like fun…

IMG_4548The Orangery was “poshed” up with Fortnum and Mason’s coming onboard as a sponsor and Mark Hix doing a feasting menu.  Renowned set designer Michael Howells as always has given it his magic touch…

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0E5A5425Under my favourite tree on the grounds which is split in the middle – wearing Loewe sunglasses, Zandra Rhodes jacket and top, Tsumori Chisato top and Prism espadrilles

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0E5A4984Caught by the river – wearing vintage dragon embroidered top and Chinese robe around waist, Phenomenon shorts, Suno pumps, Ray Ban sunglasses

It was good to once again be ensconced in the Wardrobe Department within the walled gardens as Sarah Mower had once again put together a stellar line-up to entertain, entice and charm even the hardiest of fashion naysayers.

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Louise Gray may have put her own label on hold for the time being but she was certainly welcomed with open arms at Port Eliot as she and her ex-assistant current Central Saint Martins MA student James Theseus Buck lit up the MAC make-up tent with prints, pigment and freehand body painting that made most people clap/smile with glee.  Abstract trickles, dots, Haring-like strokes – Gray and Bovan did it all.  I went from van Gogh-esque strokes on my left arm to Yayoi Kusama-type dots on my left leg in one weekend.  It was a real shame to wet-wipe the lot of it off…

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For the face, MAC and a few of their core make-up artists tentatively felt their way into the festival for the first time this year.  Their work was more meticulous and precise with delicate dots and fine brushstrokes around the eyes.

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The lovely Rachel did a colourful Penelope Tree-inspired bottom lash and dotty thing on my eyes this year…

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0E5A4961 Wearing Luke Brooks tree t-shirt, & Other Stories cardigan worn as skirt, Ray Ban sunglasses

For all matters of the head, Stephen Jones teamed up with Bumble & Bumble to hat/hair the more than-willing ladies of Port Eliot.  No wonder people left chuffed.  Jones literally bought boxes of his hats, veils and headdresses to place on people’s heads, according to their personality/look… and they get to keep them.  Erm… I hope people treasure the millinery magic that they experienced with Stephen.

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I didn’t need an extensive consultation with Stephen.  He just instinctively clipped a sparkly black veil on my head and I was done.  Later he revealed that the veil was in fact a first toile/prototype for Raf Simons’ first ever haute couture show for Dior (they went with coloured veils sans sparkles in the actual show).  I had to run away and do a mini-scream.  That’s how chuffed I was.

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Bumble and Bumble peeps were on hand to plait, style and stencil people’s hair with pastel powders.  Here’s blogger Zoe London and her dip-dyed hair plaited up.

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In a rainbow hair-extension festooned teepee, the girls from Bleach London were back, bigger with their own line of extensive products to demo on festival-goers and an anything-goes hair spirit that resonated with most of the tweens/teens present at the festival.  They’ve just recently launched a line of hair crayons which – HUZZAH – do work on my stubbornly temporary dye-resistant dark dark hair (still not plucked up the courage to errr… bleach my hair).  The lovely Bleach girls were on hand to demonstrate how to apply the semi-permanent crayon colours, which I kind of want to talk-up separately once I’ve done a bit of experimentation on my own.

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Bleach co-founder and all-round hair maestro-mistress Alex Brownsell was feeling a bit under the weather but still showed up at Port Eliot to trial her new hair tapestry.  Now I don’t want to inaccurately call it “first” without knowing for sure but it’s definitely the first time I’ve ever seen this done.  Alex developed this especially for Port Eliot to fuse the crafting fads of yesteryear’s friendship bracelets and current craze loom bands with hair.  She made a loom out of a picture frame, carving up notches to separate strands of hair to create the “warp” as it were.  Then she would use a special needle to thread cotton through the hair as the “weft”, creating sections of hair tapestry that she could then embroider over to extra embellishment.  It was a fascinating process to watch as Alex trialled it on fellow hair stylist Lou Teasdale.  The end result is pretty ace, especially in the fading summer sunlight, and you could definitely see girls cementing their friendships and sisterhoods with this hair craft.

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The most popular area in the Wardrobe Department was Haughty Culture where Piers Atkinson was once again on hand to collect up flowers and foliage from the grounds of Port Eliot to turn into festival appropriate head wreaths.  I did fear for flower headband making exhaustion on behalf of Piers and his tireless team and was shocked to hear that people were being a bit pushy and rude when queuing up to have their head kitted out.  Not cool and not very Port Eliot.

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I loved the addition of the seed paper logos which Piers added to the wreaths this year.  Apparently you can plant the paper and the embedded seeds will flower eventually.  I’m very sloooooowly turning green-fingered as my patch of garden at home is now fully planted up and so I took extra interest in Port Eliot’s abundance of greenery and flowers this year.

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By the end of Saturday, my head had been triple decorated with Piers Atkinson’s blooms, Stephen Jones’ veil and Alex Brownsell of Bleach’s multi-coloured hair tapestry.  More is always more at Port Eliot.

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Port Eliot is really a lovely place to encourage young ones to get their creative juices pumping and Port Eliot long-timer Barbara Hulanicki was on hand to teach little peeps a spot of fashion illustration, hanging out Tweeny Fashionista Uni badges and awards in the process to the most promising artists.  I learnt that Hulanicki has just started a new illustrated clothing line Icon Club.

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Scarf designer Emma J Shipley, who designed the poster of Port Eliot  was a newcomer to the Wardrobe Department with her bandana print making workshop.

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Jewellery designer Vicki Sarge also returned to create pretty things out of tin foil and once again turn trash into treasure.

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Jenny Dyson aka Mrs Rubbish and her Pencil Agency crew are pretty much a permanent Wardrobe Department fixture with their Pencil Atelier, teaching kids to do neon potato prints and sew up simple dresses for the culminating Pencil Fashion Show.  Cath Kidston also teamed up with Jenny to lend a hand in crafting these ensembles.

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In other crafting areas, you could create head dresses and do beginner’s crochet in Ros Badger and Christine Leach’s Badger’s Sett.

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The ever-popular workshops in Anthropologie’s tent included mask decoration with illustrator Florence Balducci, jewellery making with Catherine Zoraida and fabric taxidermy with Mister Finch.  Once again, as branded activities go at Port Eliot, the approach is always gently does it.  When they lull you with impressive interior styling and Buddy Holly tunes on the record player, it doesn’t feel like they’re trying to ram Anthropologie down your throat.

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The Flower show got a new location inside the basement of the house near the kitchen and there was an added Fodder (food) category too for judges to peruse.  The categories are as ever wildly imaginative – my favourite was “He can take it, but can’t dish it” where flowers, vomit and over-indulgent meals came together and Mrs Peacock in the Library where one entrant created an amazing homage to Great Expectation’s Miss Havisham.

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The Wardrobe Department talks were hefty this year, with Sarah Mower conducting her “If Clothes Could Speak” series.  I’ve already talked up the one with Suzy Menkes, where I learnt a life lesson or two.  The next day, Mower spoke to legendary model Penelope Tree about the Betsey Johnson double-slit dress she wore to Truman Capote’s Black and White ball in 1966.  Tree really entertained the crowd with the minutiae about this incredible night as well as imparting nuggets about her own extraordinary upbringing and life as a model.  There’s an autobiography in the making here.

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I loved that fashion seeped its way out of the walled gardens and on to the larger stages.  At The Bowling Green, fashion historian NJ Stevenson and Mark Butterfield, owner of the infamous C20 Vintage Fashion resource in Devon paired up talk about groovy 1970s knitwear.  Or not so groovy, depending on when you were born.  In lieu of the forthcoming exhibition about fashion knitwear at the Fashion and Textile Museum in London, Stevenson and Butterfield focused on 70s knitwear, modelled by teensy tinsy Port Eliot goers.  It was comprehensive for fashion enthusiasts and at the same time and engaging for non-fashion-y people.  More please!

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Back at Five Dials on Sunday, Sarah Mower interviewed Simone Rocha about her rise as a designer in London Fashion Week.  Rocha was endearing and candid when talking about growing up with fashion in her family, her Chirish roots (she’s half Irish, half Chinese) and going from art school in Ireland to studying fashion at Central Saint Martins with the late Louise Wilson.  I loved that Mower got across the special way in which Rocha has created a highly personal “universe” in her brand – in the attitude of her girls and in the types of references which Rocha looks at.  The Warren Sisters – the unofficial go-tomodels of Port Eliot – looked incredible in their various seasons and shades of Rocha.

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What does a fashion show need?  Lots of gin, 6pm summer sunshine and Damian Lewis as a guest host.  The Pencil Atelier fashion show had all those things as all those aforementioned neon-printed frocks were paraded along a haybale catwalk in the Wardrobe Department.  Christopher Kane has nothing to worry about yet but those neon gradiated gingham dresses did look mighty fetching.

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The fashion show was followed by the inaugural Port Eliot Prom, organised by Sarah Mower.  No left out nerds and jock n’ cheerleader couples here.  Just whoever turned up in their glad rags and wanted to be entered in the prom parade to be in with a chance of being crowned with three beautiful resin crowns, made by Fashion East’s latest addition to their line-up Ed Marler.

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My favourite outfit was number 26.  Just saying.

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There are no winners or losers of course in the spirit of Port Eliot but three lucky girls got to wear and keep these elaborate crowns.  Not that I’m errr… jealous of a six year old or anything…

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I’ve got to say a big thumbs up to my first “glamping” experience thanks to the kind folks at Yurtel.  Electrical plugs inside the yurt, a lockable wooden door (still had the laptop with me…) and a heart-embedded skylight were the touches I loved.

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It was great to discover a new vintage source in Dolly Blue, owned by Lily Walford, who happens to be the wife of catwalk show production expert John Walford.  Lily has a love of Victorian/Edwardian cotton undies and petticoats and she also turns French linen into dresses and jackets.  I bought a sweet Hungarian-embroidered blouse from Lily and hope to see her soon for all my Victorian whites needs.

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On the picture front, I had to end with a trio of rainbow goodness.  Port Eliot really is bursting with colour and it seems to create an environment where people feel it’s safe to express themselves with colour, whether it’s dressing up in silly wigs and hippy dippy clothes or going all out in the Wardrobe Department.  You wonder why that sense of inhibited freedom can’t be felt outside of the grounds of Port Eliot in day to day life.  Apparently real life, normal jobs and judgemental peers all get in the way.

0E5A4483Loved how kids were selling their self-made loom bands as an enterprising business at the festival… this kid was charging 50p a band.  I did say he should charge £1.  

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IMG_4558Easy to picture stalk this girl in her LED lit-up dress…

So we come back to reality.  And back in real land, I’ll be ploughing through a list inspired by Port Eliot’s non-fashion events, which I’ve rounded up here.

To eat…

– I was tempted by Cloud Nine’s marshmallows because I kept hearing people raving about them every time I passed their stall at Port Eliot.  One bite into their strawberry/champagne marshies and I was smitten.  Even veggies who didn’t realise they were eating gelatine were swooning.  Must buy more.

– Port Eliot definitely upped its food game this year with even more choices to indulge in.  My personal faves were The Cornish Fishmonger‘s samphire and seabass, Rum and Crab Shack‘s soft shelled crab burger and everything from The Bowler’s Meatball.  Food trucks/entities that are worth waiting for.

– I missed quite a few of the food talks but now have a foodie book list to get into including the Hemsley sisters’ first tome on The Art of Eating Well and Seb Emina’s Breakfast Bible.

To see/read…

– As I mentioned, Andy Miller’s The Year of Reading Dangerously sounds like a riot as he recounts his experience of reading fifty great books.  Sounds odd to read a book about reading but since I have gradually lost the time to read to “real life stuff”, I think I need this to kickstart my habits.

– Christopher Simon Sykes was incredibly entertaining when reading excerpts from his definitive biography of David Hockney, focusing on his early career at the RCA.  Sykes’ accurate accents and expressive way of reading brought the book to life but this biography looks like a good kindle on-the-tube read.

– I finally got to see my hero Martin Parr, who is a Port Eliot regular, who along with his authoress wife Susie, talked about their book The Non-Conformists.  In the 1970s they had photographed and observed the close-knit methodist community in Hebden Bridge and it’s a chance to see Parr’s lesser known and altogether “quieter” black and white work published in this book.  I will also have to try and catch Parr’s first ever documentary Tinsel and Turkey, which follows a group of coach holidaymakers in the Black Country, as I missed BOTH screenings of it at Port Eliot.  Boo.

– Louise Gray and James Buck emerged from Viv Albertine’s talk at Caught by the River with tears in their eyes.  A sure sign that Albertine’s memoir Clothes…Music… Boys…  must be read.

– I watched Paul Kelly and Saint Etienne’s wonderful film collaged out of BFI archive footage of London, How We Used to Live in rapture.  I hope it gets released online somewhere as it’s really a trip and a half, traversing through the 50s through to the 70s in London and yet feeling like nothing really has changed in modern city life.

– Give me a book about the Russian Romanovs and I’ll devour it rapidly.  Helena Rappaport has written a new one – Four Sisters: The Lost Lives of the Grand Duchess Romanov – one to add to my extensive historical biography collection.

– I’ll take any excuse to re-read Elizabeth Jane Howard but Port Eliot celebrated the celebrated novelist’s life and work with an appreciative talk this year at The Bowling Green and now I’ll be out buying up old EJH paperbacks where possible.

As I entered Koko, three hours or so before the Hermès Silk Ball was about to kick off, I was trying to sift through my foggy brain to remember the last time I was there.  It may have been seven or eight years ago.  It may have been a Foals gig.  I may have licked the gilded and red statues that adorns the interior.  It’s all a bit of a haze.  On this occasion though, Koko was no longer a drunken blue of red and gold but brought up to high definition thanks to Hermès lifting the venue up with illuminated prints of their silk scarves dotted around and a central tunnel of silk leading to the middle level of this cavernous space.  To put this all into context though, a party hosted by Hermès at Koko, with guests that included not just fashion industry peeps and a select group of Hermès clients but also a diverse crowd of competition winners (hosted on this blog and through my Instagram) and bloggers, is an unlikely combination.  With Hermès’ silk offering – their “fun” product – they wanted to stray beyond the polite boundaries of a luxury house like Hermès.  Fun was certainly the operative word.  

It was a memorable night filled with good old fashioned, unpretentious and non-wanky fun.  A fashion PR, who I had invited walked in and said “This doesn’t feel like a fashion party.”  An hour later and she was slurring enthusiastic words in my ear about how much fun she was having.  Not resembling a fashion party is a good thing, if we take typical “fashion party” to mean fashion industry folk dropping in for five minutes to an event, having one begrudged drink, saying “Hi/Bye!” to a PR to ensure that they’ve registered on their radar and looking around to see if there are any opportunistic conversations to be had with somebody better/cooler/higher up on the rungs.  The crowd was hugely diverse and thanks to everyone coming up to me every two minutes to say  “Thank you!  I’m one of the competition winners!” (yay for saying “Hi!” in real life – take that, virtual world), I learned that a mix of fashion/textiles/journalism students, designers, illustrators as well as accountants and lawyers were present with their plus 1’s.  By and large they were people who probably hadn’t experienced aforementioned sad-face fashion party.  They were up for it, enthusiastic and tellingly many of the competition winners who entered the venue bang on at 8pm stayed until the glitter and confetti-strewn end at midnight.

Therefore first and foremost, Hermès have to be commended for even allowing such an event to happen and eschewing luxury fashion etiquette norm.  Then there were the many bonuses because Hermès had thought of every single detail to make the night full of fun nuggets to take away.  The dessert buffet laid out with edible flower-strewn profiteroles, fruit platters and all kinds of fondants/mousses/creams.  In abundance were pulled pork sandwiches, burgers and lobster rolls too.  Route to fun?  Food.  Eating is certainly not cheating.  Upstairs on the upper level, was a Room of Transformation, with a gang of make-up artists ready to adorn your face and hair with flowers, butterflies or both in your chosen colour scheme.  There was a Room of Emotion where the mystical Stefan read your fortune with both silk and tarot cards.  Mine was Phoenix Cheval – some kind of embodiment of fashion’s past and future.  Intense!  There were the creatures – a Princess, a Cheval, a Faune and a Phoenix – parading around in incredible costumes constructed out of Hermès silk.  There were the chameleon photobooths set up by the dancefloor for guests to be draped in silk and pose against matching walls to echo their S/S 14 Soie Folle campaign.  Photos would be sent to guests as a souvenir of the night.  People were astonished by the level of detail and care that had gone into it.  It wouldn’t have surprised the more cynical crowd and in truth there was a deliberate intention to create Insta-friendly fodder, inviting everyone to squeal, snap and  share.  But that generosity was appreciated and happily reciprocated, havine done a quick search on Instagram/Twitter.  Satisfaction from both parties.  

On the subject of dress code, Hermès may have asked us to metamorphose into Beauty or Beast with masks and fantastical make-up.  However it was all open to interpretation.  Nobody was going to be barred if they didn’t arrive in full ball regalia.  Some people dipped their toes into dressing up.  Some people were full on (thumbs up to the two guys who turned up looking like extras from the Amadeus masquerade ball scene).  If you wanted to gussy up your look, Hermès’ handsome hosts and hostesses were handing out paper cut-out masks and wetting temporary tattoos on the skin.  As much as I fantasised about an 18th century mantua dress covered in Hermès silk, that wasn’t going to happen and so even I, lover of all things new-and-shiny, dug out a trusty Rachel Comey print dress and let the Hermès scarves do their knotted and draped thing.  Paired with a some jingle jangle by jewellery designer Lucy Folk, I *think* I was going for a sort of, ish, kind of, not-really, tropicana theme.  Rule of thumb when it comes to good old-fashioned fun – not being overly precious about what you’re wearing.  

It’s no ball without dance.  And this was the part that Hermès really aced, considering that so many fashion parties consist of people standing cooly on the dance floor, drink in one hand, business card in the other.  They called upon an amazing group of Vogue-ing dancers, who performed at regular intervals during the night and then urged the audience to “Silk It Up” with easy-to-learn routines.  And yes, loads of people participated.  At one point, I looked down from the top tier balcony to the dance floor and stage and thought, “OMgeeeeeeee, it’s like a She’s All That co-ordinated prom scene!” with people dancing routines in sync and in line.  My hands were clicking on a camera as opposed to Vogue-ing but it was awesome to watch.  I chose to break out with cheesy moves in the last hour instead.

The results of the evening? A barefooted walk home, a cracking headache the next morning and a tasty bacon sarnie as a hangover cure.  That’s the sort of fun I remember having the first time round when I used to frequent Koko.  Some things don’t change.

P.S. I forgot to take a picture of the lovely MC Orla who led the proceedings of the night.  I have to apologise for subjecting her to half an hour of the most haphazard, improvised styling session as I tried to fashion an outfit out of scarves for her.  There is a reason why I’m not a proper, legit stylist.

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0E5A1503Rachel Comey dress, Comme des Garcons sequinned sleeve, Minju Kim x Acrobat shoes, Lucy Folk jewellery, Peaches and Cream earrings and a ton of Hermès scarves…

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The Room of Emotion with Stefan…

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The Room of Transformation…

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Creatures of the night…

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0E5A1680Lou and Joe all wrapped up

0E5A1596One of my favourite outfits of the night to the right.

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0E5A1825Princess Julia in Meadham Kirchhoff and her friend in vintage Mugler

0E5A1975Grrrrr…. Ryan Lo

0E5A1686Gary Card in Mexican mask

0E5A1812Bethan Laura Wood looking awesome as usual

0E5A1651Strike a pose…

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0E5A1780Lisa King twirling around in her silk prints…

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0E5A1836Sister Lau’s unite!

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0E5A1996Love that illustrator Clara Gomez came and decided to draw some of the guests and creatures

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