London Fashion Week SS16 – Soho Digs

In addition to screening exclusive films by Hunter, McQ Alexander McQueen, SHOWstudio and Vogue, LFW’s Outdoor Cinema experience in Golden Square offered live streams, giveaways & pop-up shops. In addition the American Express sponsored ‘London Fashion Week Talk Series’, River Islands’ Fashion Films and last, but not least, the Disney Style Exhibition (‘Minnie: Style Icon’ co-curated by model and photographer Georgia May Jagger) meant that visitors this season faced a plethora of options between shows, or if you left it all last minute (like I did) after my last show on Tuesday.

Hats off to the British Fashion Council for trying something different, if they hadn’t the ‘same old, same old’ criticism would definitely have been bandied about. Season after season we have watched the meaning of ‘putting on a good show’metamorphosise, it now seems to include sophisticated art-like presentations, high-spec installations, lively pop-ups and runway shows with perfectly timed entertainment (as exemplified by the Alison Moyet’s romantic rendition of ‘Only You’ at Burberry and the prism-faire at Anya Hindmarch). All the stops are being pulled out.Opinions were split regarding Brewer Street, the new central London location in the heart of Soho…condensing such a large part of the action around the tightly packed hub of Brewer Street – home to registration, the official Catwalk Show Space and Designer Showrooms – had the immediate effect of funnelling visitors and stopping curious passer-bys into an intimate, noisy and very public space. The intention was clear, this season the British Fashion Council wanted LFW to be more inclusive and the Brewer Street ‘fashion park’ was were this contact began.

When asked about the new locale chief executive of the BFC Caroline Rush said the following, “Somerset House is absolutely beautiful, but we were looking for a venue that would be more connected to the West End and right in the heartbeat of London.”

The cons? Pretty much the same. The tightly packed car park hub created a more palpable annoyance, more claustrophobia… dangerous was also a word used. Personally, I appreciated the Council’s bid to create a much more inclusive citywide celebration of the British fashion capital – in all, the exhibition was home to 30 countries, 110 designers and 4 continents.

This intimacy extended upstairs to Designers Showrooms, I have attended my fair share of fashion exhibitions (dating back to this one in 2009) and for the exhibitors I spoke to the Brewer Street Car Park had all the main elements of a decent exhibition space – hard to miss anyone or get lost, close bounds with press or buyers leaving runways shows in the Showrooms and a more centralised location. Let’s see how it goes after another season, but I certainly made my way through my must-see list with little hassle.

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