The official event may be long over, the stalls littering Birmingham’s NEC arena packed away and the towering teens hoping for their moment in the scouting spotlight returned to their respective homes; but I want to take this opportunity to recap on Britain’s annual style event, Clothes Show Live. Fronted by style ambassador Daisy Lowe, it has become a staple of any discerning fashion-lover’s calendar and has grown to attract crowds in their hundreds every year as the ideal venue and occasion for retail therapy and sartorial indulgence.
Discounted beauty and fashion products were thrust in our faces as we navigated the immense space, noting winter furs and leather gloves as a definite trend across most brands. Kitsch bath bombs from Miss Patisserie caught our eye with their cupcake exteriors coating delicious-smelling soap and classic sartorial treats awaited discovery among the few vintage treasure caves dotted between the high street labels.
Toting more bags than we could carry, the next and most important stop was the Fashion Theatre for the event highlight, the catwalk show. Though the arena itself is privy to an array of runway spectacles throughout the day unveiling hot hair styling sessions, the latest model talent and emerging music stars, it is the main fashion show that attracts the biggest crowd and is the reason why so many fashionistas make the pilgrimage up north every winter.
Photos: Ann Kuznetsov
The show’s presenters, Grace Woodward and designer Henry Holland, were several steps up from the reality TV hosts of years gone by, and the styling and choreography as ever was electric. Doses of neon pinks, yellows and oranges punched their way through noir echoes of Fifty Shades’ still dominating presence via spiked, studded and dominatrix-esque lingerie. Themed in line with the operation of a glossy fashion title, perhaps one in particular thanks to the Anna Wintour-alike who presided over proceedings complete with iPad in hand; the show’s segments ticked off an editorial to-do list one by one.
Relaxed and funky went the junior fashion editor from one designer preview to another, only returning to the office once she was sufficiently laden down with bags. Talent was assessed at a variety of model castings for the purpose of feature shoots to come. Then on to the front row for the latest in designer wares at fashion week, before the male and female models of the year blended in to the parade of couture-adorned men and women, with the announcement coming at the climax of the Fashion Awards.
Photo-shoots in Sicily and Rio bore comparative Mediterranean elegance and vibrantly festive charm, while a music video was all about colour and prints. PSY’s pop hit Gangnam Style was suitably dressed up for an explosive routine at the Awards After Party led by a blue-suited and bespectacled front-man. Reflecting the high-octane energy and impact of the entire presentation, complete with barely-dressed male models and a sparkling performance from new-to-the-scene boyband Times Red, the show culminated in typically exciting style. Sporting the Vogue editor-in-chief’s iconic bob and dark glasses, “Anna Wintour” returned to the catwalk to close the issue and the show with a simple click of her iPad as she sent every feature to press. It was indeed, a job well done.