Bristol Fashion Week: A/W 2017
Fashion week is something that happens twice a year but you can be forgiven for thinking it happens more often than that. Fashion week is really fashion month as it consists of four weeks spread across 4 cities; Paris, London, Milan and New York. Coverage of the Spring/Summer 2018 runway has been everywhere for the past month but it is now all over. Leaving us with a sense of what is going to be fashionable in 6 months time. If you follow any bloggers they will probably have been to at least one show in the above cities, if not more. In The Frow who is my favourite fashion blogger has been to New York, London and Paris for fashion week so I have been kept up to date with a lot of the shows. This season I have loved so many runways but my ultimate favourites have been; Balmain, Tom Ford, Alexander Wang, Temperley, Zimmerman and as always Dior. Of course I did not go to any of the shows but I did make it to my local show, Bristol Fashion Week. I imagine it is a very different experience to attend London Fashion Week but it is the Bristol alternative and probably the closest I will get to a show. I have been going to the shows for around 4 years now and I still really enjoy it. This is definitely not to the scale of genuine fashion week but I always like going. They show clothes that are currently available throughout stores in The Mall Cribbs Causeway. They are a season behind so they are showing Autumn/Winter 2017 opposed to Spring/Summer 2018 but as they are showing the clothes that are in store it wouldn't work any other way.
A ticket costs £8.95 for standard entry but you can pay more for Front Row or Second Row seating. It is only a few pounds more but the view from standard seating is pretty much the same if you find the right seats. This years theme was Concorde as a new museum is opening up literally just down the road so they were promoting it. When you walked into the tent it was as if you were going into a departures lounge. You had to line up to trade in your ticket for a goody bag voucher and your raffle voucher, then you had to fight your way though a crowd to get a drink and a snack. The struggle to get through the crowd is like being in a bar on a Saturday night and your 10 people back from the bar. No one is moving and you have to fit in any small gap just to get a single drink. When I finally made it, I picked an Elderflower Presse and some salted pretzels which makes no sense as they make noise so I always wonder why they give you such a loud snack for a show. Even worse they were giving out Sour Cream and Clive pretzels which are loud and smelly. Who ever thought that was a good idea should think again! Anyway once you've got your drink, you are stuck in the tent until they start letting people in. This is where the benefit of spending a little bit more money comes in as those who have paid that little bit extra get to go in first. As someone who is only just 5 foot and therefore perfect armpit height I'm not a massive fan of crowds and I felt nervous being surrounded by so many people and their armpits.
There is no organised seating so if you get in quick you can get really good seats but you do have to battle your way through the hoards of people. My best friend managed to get in ahead of me so she picked the seats and she managed to get us some seats right by the stage so you could see all of the outfits in detail. We were sat quite a few rows back but it didn't really matter as the runway is so high and we could see all the models as they came out. We were told this was a booked out show and as it was a Friday night I'm not surprised. Yes I know, what a wild Friday night. A little bit of fashion, a Wagamamas and in my jammies by 10pm, my dream. Sometimes I have to ask myself if I'm 24 or 84.
When you sit down there is an itinerary of all of the looks or 'scenes' as they are referred to on the sheet. There is also a discount booklet for some of the stores in The Mall which can come in handy. This year there was a good MAC voucher, if you spent £30 you would get a MAC goody bag. If I needed MAC products this would have been perfect but as I am trying to be good this month I didn't end up buying anything. After a few minutes of looking at the discount book, you are plunged into complete darkness and the show starts with a rush of bass and flashing lights. We were dropped into the first scene which was 'Red. ' Personally I like a pop of red and I currently have my eye on the Coach x Selena Gomez Grace Bag which is literally my dream bag at the moment and would have fit well in this category. They do sell Coach in John Lewis but unfortunately they do not have the Selena collaboration. Throughout the show you are taken on a journey through the departures lounge and it takes you all the way to New York and around tourist cites within the city. I thought this was a nice concept as New York fashion week was the first week of shows this year plus it is somewhere people like to go during the Winter. I was very pleased to see the section called 'Let There be Leather' as I was wearing my leather skirt, I'm obviously on trend. I have to say one of my favourite things about the fashion show is that it is all very wearable. As everything is high street, it is ready to wear and easy to buy which is something that London Fashion Week doesn't really have. Topshop do a runway but it is Topshop Unique which you can't buy in store, it is limited and a lot more expensive than your average Topshop piece. Everything about this show makes fashion accessible to everyone which is wonderful as sometimes fashion can seem very elitist. Even my best friend who has no interest in designer fashion loves going to the fashion show and finds items she likes. Personally I love looking at runways and I do try to keep up to date with every fashion week but I still enjoy going to Bristol Fashion Week.
The show is broken down into scenes which a single store will create the looks for. So the 'Red' scene for example, had fashions from Marks and Spencer and Eyewear from The Sunglass Hut. Some of my favourite scenes were; of course, Let There Be Leather as I already mentioned I had worn my leather skirt which I think is a staple for this time of year. Plus I am a big fan of the biker jacket whether it is suede or leather. My leather skirt is only from Topshop and they have some amazing Faux Leather skirts at the moment. There was a scene called 'Future' which I also really loved. All the fashion from this scene was from Topshop and they had a pair of metallic, patent silver boots, similar to a Kurt Gieger pair that I loved but I could not justify spending that much on something so trend lead. They are beautiful and I always think they look great on Instagram but I do have to question whether I would get that much use out them as an average person.
There was also a pale pink faux fur coat which would let me live the Scream Queens realness but everyone I have shown it to has said they hate it. The next scene with fashions from Marks and Spencer was the 'Tailoring' scene which Mark Heyes rightfully said was very inspired by Victoria Beckham who is currently the queen of tailoring. She has taken blazers from the super sexy style of Balmain and made them look more like you've stolen your dad's blazer. They are designed to cover all your lumps and bumps therefore making you feel comfortable but chic. I completely love this turn that tailoring has taken and I love Victoria Beckham so this scene was right up my alley. The final scene that I wouldn't say I took much inspiration from but visually loved was the 'Winter Neutrals' scene. It was full of knitwear and cosy coats which is my aesthetic during Winter. However the colour scheme was everything I wish I could be but am not. It was full of oatmeal and cool greys which look stunning but I usually stick to dark grey and black for winter.
One scene I was not sold on this season was the 'Urban' scene which was supposed to be the athleisure section. This was done by Jack Wills but I felt like everyone looked like first year students heading to a lecture in their flip flops and trackie bottoms. It wasn't athleisure wear compared to Vetements who have dominated that market or some of Off White or even the collab Rihanna has done with Puma, they are the sort of brands I think of when I think of this trend. I would like to point out that I am very uncool and this whole trend really has passed me by but I felt this section was wrong. I feel like there should have been more bomber jackets, oversized hoodies, the humble parka whereas it was leggings and a crop top. The problem might not be that the outfits were wrong but it could be that The Mall does not have the right brands for this category.
The only thing that is kept the same throughout the scenes is the hair and make up. The make up for the show looked flawless. It was all done by the Charlotte Tilbury team who absolutely killed it! I need to know what highlight they put on the girls cheeks because it was a beautiful pale champagne shade that just radiated light. Not a single girl looked over done and all of the colours were very neutral as the models have to pull off each scene. As always with Charlotte Tilbury it is all about perfecting the skin and being the best version of yourself rather than over doing anything. The female models all had their hair back in ponytails and multiple bands distributed to make hair bubbles. Think Valentino Autumn 2014 and that is the exact hair. I remember doing this to my hair when I was about 11, before I had hair straighteners in an attempt to try and make my hair more sleek but it never worked. Little did I know it was a trend in the making. Once again it is a very general hair style, easy to swap clothes with and it looked sleek. Possibly not something I will go for now that I have a pair of hair straighteners but I liked that they took notes from the runway.
Overall I thought the show was great. To be honest I've never left a show thinking it was bad, just some of the fashion hasn't for me. This show in particular was exactly the sort of colours and shapes I like wearing so I really enjoyed the fashions. I came out feeling inspired to try a few new pieces in my wardrobe and that is what you want from a fashion show, inspiration. Mark Heyes, the ITV fashion guru for Lorraine was the host as always and as always he did a great job. Cherry asked him who have been his favourite celebs to interview and his response of David Beckham produced a gasp and a nod from every member of the audience. I did however want him to name and shame some of the worst celebs but he was far to gracious to do that. He knows his stuff when it comes to fashion and he gives a good summary of each look and makes you feel like you could pull off any of the outfits if you wanted to. Plus he is always in an amazing suit. The other host works on a rotation, they seem to do it for two seasons and then swap out for someone else. Last season it was Henry Holland who has to be my favourite of all the hosts, he was knowledgeable, funny and I wondered what on earth possessed him to host a fashion show in Bristol? It felt like a treat to have him there as he does his own runways. It was the turn of Cherry Healey this season, she was funny, in a relatable sort of way but I'm not sure she knows that much about fashion and if she does it didn't come across in her conversion with Mark. She wasn't an awful host, she was chatty and funny but something was missing for me.
A big part of the show previously was the dancers. They had dancers who would wear some of the clothes and do a little boogie. I never really thought anything of it previously but now it has been taken away I noticed that it was missing. The dancers gave you a little bit of variety and picked up the pace a little bit. Whereas this time it was literally an hour of people walking. I know that is what normal shows are like but we weren't exactly at a normal show. Another thing that was missing this season was the make over portion. Usually they do a make over on 5 different people who would get the chance to have an outfit picked for them by Mark and then they would strut down that catwalk like they owned the place. I always liked watching people's stories and seeing the transformation. For me it showed the difference that something as simple as changing your outfit can make and how much more confident it can make you feel. It was something I appreciated but sadly it is not part of the show anymore. However without this it does feel more like a actual fashion show.
One thing that was really good about this show was the diversity of the models, there were quite a few different ages and it felt like there was more inclusion. They had a lovely older lady who looked amazing and she had some of the best outfits of the night. I mean they were all tall and there were no 5 foot girls like me but I can't expect them to change everything about the show.
The most disappointing thing about the whole night was the swag bag. It was shit! I remember the first year I got a bag and it has lots of Clarins samples, perfume samples and lots of beauty products but this year it felt like a completely different bag. I understand that it can't be easy to get that many products but brands are always looking for exposure and this would be a great way of getting some considering the amount of people who go to the show. Last year there was a full size No7 mascara in each bag and it had a Yves Saint Laurent Opium sample but this year there was a Soap and Glory Matte Lip Crayon in a beautiful colour called Pretty Muted and an Aussie Shampoo and that was basically it. They were the only two items I would use and they were the only beauty related products. I mean there was a can of energy drink in there? What is that about? When I was in my youth I had way too many Jagerbombs and now energy drinks makes me feel sick. There was a water based hand sanitiser which is the most bizzare concept I have ever heard of. Every year there is a tube of the Ladival SPF which every year I put in the bin so at least I could follow tradition with that one. That was it! I really was disappointed but at least the bag is cute. It is a navy bag with Bristol Fashion Week written on it, basic and nothing to dislike. I use these as my shopping bags so its nice to have a new one.
As I've said a thousand times throughout this post, I do really like the fashion show and I thought this year had some of the best looks I have seen in the show for a long time. I felt the clothes were very wearable with distinct scenes which did inspire. I do like that it is high street fashion as it is in-keeping with what is available at The Mall and it feels more inclusive. However as someone who appreciates a little bit of designer, I do think that something should be done in the centre of Bristol (Cabot Circus) as there are more designer shops such as Harvey Nichols, The Garment Quarter and even Michael Kors. John Lewis is as high end as you get at The Mall and they do have some good brands, I love Ted Baker, Whistles and Reiss but there is no luxury. The most designer you get at the Mall is The Sunglass Hut and that is accessories. With all of the stores you have in Cabot Circus there could be an amazing fashion show which could extend Bristol Fashion Week, if The Mall dominated High Street and Cabot Circus focused on Designer you could have more than one show and make it an actual event. I realise that would be a lot harder than I make it sound but I'm putting it out there, you never know.
If you are from Bristol or near the area, Bristol Fashion Week is now over but you should keep an eye out for Spring/Summer 2018. It is a fun event which only takes about an hour, you get to see some of the best of high street fashions and it is something that anyone can attend. They spread the show over five days with multiple showings a day so if you are worried you wouldn't have the time, there are plenty of shows with many being on the weekend or after work. What have I taken away from Bristol Fashion Week? I've learnt that I need more leather in my life since my current jacket is peeling (I'm coming for you All Saints,) The Coach x Selena Grace Bag needs to be in my life as red is very in right now and that I should be brave and try out that pair of metallic boots.