Hitting the Runway at London Fashion Week
Emily Palmer, a junior global studies and creative writing student from Durham, is an intern for the Carolina Alumni Review. She blogs for the Review about many aspects of the Carolina student experience and is spending her spring 2013 semester with UNC’s Honors Semester in London Program.
The catwalk was chock-full of neon stilettos, graphic prints and feathery up-dos. And I was there at Somerset House, soaking in all the new trends of London Fashion Weekend.
The wings of the historic mansion were converted into designer stores — Helene Berman, Kat Maconie, Michael van Der Ham, Alejandro Ingelmo. The West Wing became a shopaholic’s heaven with The Shoe Room entirely dedicated to heels of every style and color. Feather overcoats, white leather dresses, beaded headbands — they were all there, and for the drop-in-the-bucket £100, they could all be yours.
As soon as I was accepted into the Honors Semester in London program, I started researching exciting spring events, and when I heard that London Fashion Week would be right around the corner — just a 10-minute bus ride — from our flats, I knew what one of my first purchases would be. What I had not expected was the shopping component. I didn’t actually try anything on, afraid that if I did I’d somehow convince myself that it couldn’t come off without going into a shopping bag. But I did touch, admire and meet some of the designers. It was almost more than I could do to leave one particular ostrich feather belt and a gold-beaded evening clutch. And, of course, with sponsors like Canon, Diet Coke, Elizabeth Arden, Kinder Bueno, Elle magazine and Müller Light, there were plenty of fun samples to be had as we made our rounds.
Diet Coke offered not only free cans of the soft drink but also the chance to pose in a photo booth. Most of the people lined up were in large groups, but as my friend Ariana and I had separate catwalk times, I queued by myself. I must not have been paying attention to the people ahead of me taking photos because when it was my turn I was shocked to realize that a young man was beside me. “Who are you?” I asked before I could stop myself.
“The hot hunk you’re posing with,” the photographer said as she clicked.
I must have looked surprised because the guy actually asked if I were OK — as he draped his arm over me for the photograph.
My confusion must have been complete because the photographer took another picture. And before I knew it they were posting it to my Facebook page under the caption: #dietcokehunk. The comments from my friends on the picture were endless and merciless.
Luckily, I was unaware of the extent of the situation (i.e., I didn’t know the caption) until I returned to my flat, so I was free to enjoy the fashion show in ignorant bliss. I secured tickets for the finale trend fashion show of London Fashion Weekend. The show lasted about 45 minutes but seemed to last 10, as I feasted my eyes on block prints, clunky jewelry and fantastic headbands resembling feather headdresses. At one point during the Urban Lifestyle showcase, a model strutted down the catwalk alongside a Boris Bike — clunky blue bikes commissioned by the mayor and now available free of charge for the first 30 minutes all over London. If the model had perched on the seat, it might have made for a more incredible show, but considering her sky-high platform shoes, it might have resulted in a trip to the hospital.
After the models cleared the runway, all the young ladies who’d been dying in the audience made a quick recovery and an even quicker dash to the catwalk. Every girl has to have her moment on the catwalk with cameras flashing. And as we made our way slowly off the runway and back onto the London streets, clutching our show programs and envisioning sequined trench coats and bright blazers, I couldn’t help wishing — just for a moment — that neon platforms and jeweled turbans were worn in everyday life.
Emily Palmer, a junior global studies and creative writing student from Durham, is an intern for the Carolina Alumni Review. She is blogging for the Review and wants to hear about your can’t-miss experiences while at Carolina.