Wednesday, 10 October 2012

London Fashion Weekend: The Sunday Fashion Panel

During my jaunt to London Fashion Weekend, I managed to grab a seat for the Sunday Fashion Panel discussion to find out the skinny on personal style and how to get it. Its not every day you get to see the UK fashion royal Hilary Alexander, top designer Olivia Rubin and fashion icon (and TOWIE's best...) Lydia Bright sitting around chatting about shopping now is it? Needless to say I felt really rather lucky. Anyway, here is the jist of what was said...


How do trends start?
Hilary (H): Well, what comes first? The chicken, or the egg? Fashion is a huge collaboration of street style, designer insights, print factory risks, celebrity-wear and so on. If enough people pick up on a look, it automatically becomes a trend, no matter what the conglomeration was inspired by.
Olivia (O): I think every designer has their own signature style and looks they like, for example, bold graphic prints. I like that trends evolve and progress from season to season.
H: It took just two months for the high-street to pick up on the military look. Once the high-street is doing it, you KNOW it is a trend.
Lidia (L): I think the best way to follow a trend is when a true personal style shines through. Although trends by their nature indicate something that numerous people like, you should never feel pressured to dress a certain way. Sometimes, as a celebrity, I used to forget my own style and would just dress for the fans but now I make sure I'm wearing what I want to wear.
H: Yes, it is really important not to be someone else. Copying is so bad. You should always adapt a look to suit your own personal likes and dislikes. Dare to experiment!

Obviously fashion confidence is really important for leading trends...
L: Definitely! Be brave and try something different. After a while it just becomes second nature and it is so important to know yourself and have your own look at forcing yourself out of your fashion comfort zone sometimes is a good habit to get into.
O: My style has changed since I was a fashion student. I'm more natural and comfortable in my own skin now and I think I look and dress better for it.
H: I'm personally a hippy at heart and I travel a lot so I wear clothes which are comfy, practical and brightly coloured. I'm a Woodstock granny. One other thing I'd say in terms of finding looks that you are confident in is to pin-point a celebrity or an icon with a similar body shape to you. See what they wear, what looks good and what doesn't and learn from them.
L: I did that with Sarah Jessica Parker!

Inspiration is very important in fashion as it is a way of expressing yourself creatively and responding to the world around you. What else inspires you?
O: Everything inspires me. From modern art to architecture, street style to nature. I find inspiration everywhere in so many different sources. It comes so naturally now that I don't even think about it. It is better to let fashion just happen organically and evolve freely.

Speaking of evolution, what are the main trends going to be for the coming season?
O: During the next season we're going to be seeing a lot of prints, bright colours and intricate patterns, which is brilliant really because those looks are so versatile and timeless that they can be worn all year round really.
H: I always tell people to go back to their wardrobes and just rework their old outfits. Print-on-print for example is really in for next season but we might never have considered it in the past. In fact, the dress I have on right now is from Whistles... 21 years ago! I just call it 'vintage' now!

Lidia, what up-and-coming trends will you be pioneering in your new clothing line?
L: I've literally always loved fashion and I decided to share my passion for 1950's girly style with my fans. I am very lucky to have been able to use my fame as a platform to make this happen.

What advice could you each give someone who is interested in starting a career in fashion if they didn't have a fame platform?
H: I'd urge anyone interested in fashion careers to come along to Graduate Fashion Week in June. Its a great networking opportunity and a brilliant forum for finding out more about fashion education. I do think it is quite important to study something fashion-related in order to learn the theory behind the creative.
O: I know its a boring one, but everyone interested in fashion should really get themselves on a good internship... I did seven! I did two in Paris and five in London. I'll never forget the fantastic first-hand experience I gained of the fashion industry from my internships.
H: Oh yes, it is really important to be proactive in this industry.
O: Also, I think a deep-rooted knowledge of the high-street is quite important these days.

So we've spoken about celebrity-fashion collaborations now, how about designer-high-street collaborations now? Thoughts?
H: I think they are a brilliant way of helping the customer out in terms of finding cheaper, more-accessible alternatives to catwalk looks. Plus, it gives younger designers an opportunity to break into the industry. Take Mary Katrantzou and Topshop for example... great success.

If we were only going to buy one item this season, what should it be and why?
H: I think a belt is vital this season as the silhouettes are changing. Tighten your belt around last year's chunky cardigan or knitted jumper and wear it with a feminine mid-length skirt. Brilliant.
O: Separates are really in this year, but as Hilary says, the main thing is to maintain that classically feminine silhouette. I'd advise everyone to invest wisely and choose a versatile yet stand-out printed blouse.
L: I think brightly coloured heels are a must. Also, I think military jackets are amazing for elongating the body.

Finally, give us your Holy-Grail style tip...
H: Try, try and try again. Don't be afraid to try something random, and if you think you need to see how fifteen dresses look before buying The One, go for it. We have to kiss a lot of frogs before we find our princes in our love lives, and fashion is no different!
O: My tip is simple, mix high-street and designer.
L: For me it is all about courage. Be bold and brave whilst also making sure that the items you invest in are cost-effective and transferable.


I'm such a nerd... Most girls go to London Fashion Weekend to shop, meanwhile, I'm missing out on serious purchasing time so that I can gain some insider knowledge to share with all my readers! So what are your thoughts? How do you adapt trends? What would be your number one fashion pick for the season? What inspires the way you dress?

Love and snuggles...

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