Two weeks on the whole LFW experience has finally sunk in, but not in ways you'd expect. Here's some of things I never knew about fashion week that just might surprise you too.
1. Food. Lots of it
"(People in fashion) eat all the time but they do not eat anything remotely normal. I think Pringles count as a protein snack." observed parliamentary sketchwriter Ann Treneman in a recent Vogue article, after a 'job-swap' at LFW. I laughed throughout the piece till my sides hurt (if you haven't read it, beg, borrow or steal the January issue). But is it really true?
The answer is yes. LFW was freebie central for food brands eager to associate themselves with fashion. ProperCorn employed a novel marketing trick - twins serving trays of bagged popcorn (which I can confirm are delicious myself). An endless supply of self-serve Lavazza coffee (crucial for journalists working flat-out day and night) and enough bottles of rainbow-coloured Vitamin Water to turn your hair/nails a fluorescent pink (totally on trend). Surprisingly flat mineral water was the most popular refreshment of choice.
That's not including goody bag treats - sponsors pulled out all the stops, and originality kudos to PR companies as well. Retro too-cutely-packaged-to-eat Jelly Belly packets at Tata-Naka, eyeball 'style' cupcakes at Felder Felder, handmade in Hornsey chocs at Cristina Sabaiduc, Russian Kusmi tea at Emilio de la Morena and Green & Blacks ice cream after the Haizhen Wang, LFW's closing show. Fashion food, like fashion itself, loves extremes.
But what do the models eat? Pod healthy takeaway boxes and fridges of Vita Coco coconut water were copiously consumed at Ji Cheng backstage. So there you go.
2. A good read and an education
I know it sounds presumptuous, but in all honesty I never expected actually learn much, knowledge-wise at fashion week besides being infected by the hype. From beautifully shot, artistic indie fashion mags like Rollercoaster, a chunky Another Magazine (starring Michelle Williams), DASH to SALT (Yes I didn't know Swarovski had a publication either) to more mainstream formats like WSJ Magazine.
Drapers, the fashion business journal I avoided at uni (who really cares about the number of studded wedge trainers Philip Green sold last season anyway? Well people really do!) turned out to be a real eye opener, explaining industry infrastructure in an easy-to-understand way. The LFW Daily was a godsend. A handy bite-sized summary of news, trends, backstage snaps, fashion illustration and social media stats - for example, how many times "Nineties Grunge" was tweeted during House of Holland's show. Fascinating stuff.
3. Dogfights. For real
If you think fashion week is just for humans, think again. I've never taken the hand-held pooches fashion fad too seriously until I witnessed it myself. There was Brix Smith-Start and Gladys, her raven-haired pug (of C4's 'Gok's Fashion Fix' fame). Not to mention the heated squabble between Korean designer Jackie Lee's feisty golden spaniel Sunny and stylist Michael Williamson's Chanel-clad chihuahua Mr. Fashion Paws (who has his own twitter and blog by the way). What next, LPFW?
I wish I hadn't googled that.