London has always been synonymous with fashion and style, and has been voted as the most fashionable city in the world for the second year running. So there is a lot of anticipation ahead of London Fashion Week, which showcases the very best of British fashion talent and sets the tone for the fashion year.
Read on for this year’s highlights and to find out where to shop, eat and pamper yourself during this year’s show.
London Fashion Week highlights
- Whistles (a favourite with the Duchess of Cambridge) is set to debut its new flagship store on the upmarket Dover Street and there is a lot of excitement around their debut autumn/winter 2013 collection.
- Scandinavia’s largest ever fashion exhibition arrives at Somerset House. Britain, along with the rest of the world, has had something of a love affair with all things Scandinavian lately, and this is the perfect way to take an exclusive look at the country’s top fashion labels — both new and established. The exhibition will be accompanied by a glossy book titled Fashion Scandinavia: Contemporary Cool and should firmly cement Scandinavia as a fashion leader.
- All the London Fashion Week collateral has been designed by legendary shoe designer Manolo Blahnik, who has taken inspiration from his main influences to design the imagery.
- There’s a lot of buzz about Rihanna’s collaboration with River Island, who are using London Fashion Week to launch their new collection.
- Julian Macdonald was sorely missed during London Fashion Week for the past two year’s but he’s set to make a triumphant return this year as he unveils his full ready-to-wear Autumn Winter 2013 collection on Saturday 16th February at Goldsmith’s Hall.
- The Exhibition will bring together some 100 designers, the media and serious buyers across two floors and will include features like the Minnie Mouse Style Icon exhibition, where you can see designs inspired by this cartoon trendsetter.
- If you can’t make it to the show itself, designers Anya Hindmarch and Osman will be live pinning her collection onto the British Fashion Council’s Pinterest board, just one of the many digital innovations at this year’s show.
- Eudon Choi is quickly making a name for himself as one of fashion’s most promising new stars. His latest collection is expected to be his best yet.
- One of the most anticipated shows this year is Tom Ford’s first ever large-scale catwalk show (he has traditionally favoured more private viewings with no photographers there).
Where to eat, drink and get pampered
- London’s most stylish afternoon tea
Darting around London catching shows can be exhausting work, so treat yourself to one of the city’s most stylish and decadent afternoon teas at The Royal Horseguards Hotel.
Afternoon tea is the ultimate afternoon pick-me-up, and we take it very seriously here – so much so that we’ve been awarded the illustrious Award of Excellence by The Tea Guild in recognition of our standards.
An extensive tea menu (or a glass of champagne if you should so desire), savoury pastries as light as air and homemade scones, cakes and tarts all make this a perfect getaway from the madness of London Fashion Week.
- Get your hands ready for your close-up with a luxury manicure
Who says caviar is just for pre-dinner aperitifs? Textured nails are very popular at the moment, and iconic London department store Selfridges has taken the trend a step further with its luxurious Caviar Manicure. Don’t worry, you won’t smell faintly of fish: the caviar manicure involves placing thousands of micro pearls to the nails, to stunning effect.
- Where to shop
London is the fashion capital of the world, so it would be a crime to leave without taking in department stores like Liberty, Selfridges, Harrods and Fortnum and Mason. You can’t go wrong if you make your way to Bond Street, Regent Street or Oxford Street. You’ll find independent boutiques, local craftsmen and high-end shops selling all the best designer labels around every corner.
For designer clothes from a bygone era, browse the rails at One of a Kind on Portobello Road where you might find a one-off Vivienne Westwood or Yves Saint Laurent piece.
- Somerset House
Somerset House is the epicentre of almost all the official London Fashion Week events, and is the place you’ll be spending most of your time. Take the time to wander around this stunning neo-classical building and you’ll probably spot anyone from Alexa Chung to Olivia Palermo dashing between shows, as well as countless fashion bloggers and street style pioneers milling about in the hope of being photographed, so it’s the perfect people watching spot.
A must-see while you’re here is the Valentino: Master of Couture exhibition which parades 130 of his most admired haute couture designs which have been worn by movie stars like Sophia Lauren and Grace Kelly as well as fashion icons like Jackie Kennedy. You’ll also get an exclusive glimpse into his personal life and archive to help you understand the man who created such stunning, timeless designs.
- Best eats
Tom’s Kitchen at Somerset House is a real treat: the talented chef uses the freshest of ingredients and has been tantalising the tastebuds of London’s most discerning diners with dishes like Chocolate Hot Pot with Pistachio Ice-cream or Daylesford 7 hour Confit Lamb with Balsamic Onions.
Alternatively, Babbo has been known to design menus specifically for London Fashion Week in the past and can be counted on for light and healthy Italian dishes like grilled seabass while Bistrotheque is a firm favourite with the fashion elite when they’re in town.
Are you visiting London for London Fashion Week? What shows are you planning to catch, and where are your favourite fashion haunts?