Clothes Show London Diary
Steph Powell writes...
The Clothes Show London this year has an array of things to draw you in; a beach, the Rimmel stand - basically a big pink teenage girls heaven - and as always, bargains galore. I went along to see what it was like. Read on for my diary.
11.30: I arrive half an hour later than planned, after getting only slightly lost on the way. Stupid Jubilee Line. I'm not sure how to get to the Excel Centre from bus station but I follow the steady trickle of trendy girls down the road. The hall is much smaller then I expected, and a lot emptier, although I guess it is a Friday morning.
11.40: PR girl informs me that Katie-Price-aka-Jordon will indeed be there today, in all her equestrian glory. Keep eyes peeled for her entire time, but no sighting. I do see hundreds of '30% off' signs though, which I like.
12.00: Wander over to the Style stage where Louise Roe is hosting and celebrity hairdresser Tara Smith is calling scared looking women out of the sparse audience and onto stage to have their hair cut, to promote the Stop and Chop stand.
12.10: Walk around entire hall a few times looking for people to photograph for street style. A surprising amount of girls don't want to be photographed. Have a look around stalls. There are some quite nice stuff, in particular a stall called The Hidden Wardrobe, which houses independent designers.
12.25: Spot a group of teenage girls standing together, all wearing the same Topshop dress in different colours. Avert my eyes.
12.40: Go to Expert Studio stage where Caryn Franklin is giving a talk about women's representation in fashion. Caryn passionately urges the audience to take back confidence in their bodies saying "your body isn't something you should feel uncomfortable about".
12.50: Go stand by the big fake beach in the middle of the hall, where male models are cavorting around in swimming trunks playing with a ball. Stand transfixed with other girls.
1.00: Stop staring and resume search for street style possibilities. Wonder where all the unique people have gone. All the people I find haven't actually bought anything yet. Spot amazingly cool girl in the distance, wearing actual military jacket with Balmain-esque embellished shoulders and spike-heel ankle boots. Spend half an hour trying to find her again. Fail.
1.20: Walk past entrance and see giant queue for cash machine.
1.30: Give up on Military Girl and go back to Expert Stage, where Nicky Hamilton-Jones is now giving her talk on styling. She has the biggest audience so far; almost all of the chairs are taken. A lot of people don't like her but I think she seems quite sweet, although her fuchsia dress and matching shoes are a bit too much for me. Her shopping tips are:
• Be focused
• Have a system, or a Shopping Plan.
• Don't focus on sizes in shops; focus on what looks good on you.
1.40: About now is when I stop envying how good the girls wearing heels look, because they look a little dead-eyed from pain. Thank god I wore flats.
2.00: Its time I had better leave to get back to Shiny Towers. On my way out, pass a huge throng of girls taking photos with three quite good-looking guys in the middle. They look familiar. Stand for a few minutes trying to figure out who they are and if they
are worth trying to fight through the crowd to talk to.
2.03: Realise they are the male models from the fake beach. Judge every girl taking photos with them.
2.05: George Lamb appears and is immediately surrounded by hormonal teenagers. He diligently takes photos with all of them, although his trousers are three inches too short.
2.07: A girl runs up to her friend who is standing next to me and hysterically shrieks 'Ohmigod Amy, it's the guys from Shipwrecked!' They race off, followed by most of Georges' hangers on. Decide to leave.
So after my experience I've compiled a 'Guide to Surviving the Clothes Show', so you can make the most out of your ticket:
• Get cash out before you get there. This will help you to not overspend, but most importantly, will mean you avoid the Cashpoint Queue of Doom, since most stalls don't have chip and pin.
• Have a look at the map and see where you want to go first, since some stalls only carry a few of each garment they sell, and once it's gone, it's gone.
• Check schedule to see which presentations and shows you want to see, so you can organise your time effectively.
• Are you going out later that night? Head over to the Rimmel or Benefit stands and get your make up done professionally for free!
• Get there early, you'll avoid the crowd and get the best bargains before they're gone.
• Wear flat shoes (a Clothes Show organiser gave me that tip herself)