Fashion. Forget About the Runway: Lessons from Fashion Week's Front Row Seats

Anna_wintour_215203a Anna Wintour Averyl_oates_215210a Averyl Oates Elizabeth_walker_215219a Elizabeth Walker Gala_geddes_215217a_2 Gala Geddes Nicola_rose_215214a Nicola Rose Paula_reed_215211a Paula Reed Sam_conti_215215a Sam Conti Sarah_clark_215216a Sarah Clark Sophie_neophitou_215208a Sophie Neophitou Suzy_menkes_215212a Suzy Menkes Trish_halpin_215207a Trish Halpin People have odd ideas about fashion editors– that they are all a size 2, that they look perfect all the time and that they have an entourage of people making sure they look flawless 24/7. And they’re right. Just kidding. Editors are “real” women, as are models BTW and while models ought to be thin enough to display clothing, it’s the editors who decide what’s worth buying or at least enjoying. And while many of us can translate our love of color, fabric and invention into something interesting Photos: London Times– full article below Trench coats The humble trench is the fashion world’s cockroach: no matter what you do to get rid of it, it keeps scuttling back. Anna Wintour’s experience in the outerwear department shows. Although she resides in New York, she is only too aware of the capriciousness of London and Milan’s biggest style influence, the weather. Faced with the prospect of an unexpected deluge, what else can the editor-in-chief of American Vogue do but shelter under a patent splash-proof mac? (Lest we forget, it also makes it easier to wipe off PETA’s custard pies.) In Style’s Trish Halpin sticks to the traditional beige at, surprise, surprise, the Aquascutum show. There’s a woman who knows about British heritage and isn’t ashamed to show it. Yet neither the devilish powerhouse of fashion, nor the editor of a UK glossy can match the pure delight of Sophia Neophitou, editor-in-chief of 10 Magazine. You couldn’t prise that coat off her with a Swarovski crystal-encrusted crowbar. Whether the trench is the only item of clothing Neophitou really cares about is a question only she can answer, but who cares when the coat speaks volumes by itself? Anna Wintour, editor-in-chief, US Vogue; Trish Halpin, editor, In Style and Sophia Neophitou, editor-in-chief, 10 Magazine Plum and berry shades Forget black. Forget navy. Forget it’s-dull-however-you-look-at-it grey. This season the fashion cognoscenti have been sampling fruits of the forest for colour inspiration. Granted, they may not be as intellectual a style source as Jackson Pollock or Dadaism, but blackberry, plum and damson are the kind of rich, full-bodied, melt-in-the-mouth sartorial flavours that the style crew cannot resist swirling through their wardrobe this winter. If you doubt the fun quota of purple, just look at the smiles on these experts’ faces. Grazia’s Paula Reed is overjoyed at the end of the LBD era – it’s all about the LPD (little plum dress) in Milan. Averyl Oates looks pleased with herself, and no wonder. With ruching, a look-at-me zip and the colour of the season, she kills three birds with one dress. Suzy Menkes, meanwhile, is in a self-congratulatory mood. She combines her trademark quiff with a violet coat equally as headline-making. And nota bene, the lesson in statement dressing: let one piece do the talking. The trenchcoat may say “come capture me, wily paparazzo” but the trousers and pumps are deep enough into practical territory to take this editor from front row to front row without a crease, a blister, or (heaven forbid) a canapé spill in sight. Suzy Menkes, fashion editor, International Herald Tribune; Paula Reed, style director, Grazia and Averyl Oates, buying director, Harvey Nichols Prints If there’s a way to put off the onset of seasonal affective disorder, then the floral dress, a symbol of the summer that never arrived, does the trick. In a floaty shirt dress, Sam Conti has taken flower power beyond its hippy origins. Yes, you can wear small flowers and look important/powerful/ in charge of an influential department, if you carry a laptop and a practical bag. Nicola Rose, meanwhile, has taken advantage of the intellectual potential of a dress, picking a pattern evoking the rigid lines of Piet Mondrian. She may not be fully aware that her Marni dress is a walking interpretation of neo-plasticist geometric abstraction, but she looks like an authority on something. Minimalist accessories, perhaps? A woman who keeps all her needs in her pocket has to be admired. Nicola Rose, fashion director, Red Sam Conti, London bureau chief, Women’s Wear Daily   Animal skin Even if all big cats were under threat of extinction, fashion editors would be reluctant to give up their animal skin. The leopard is the most fashionable species, with innumerable displays on the front row. It’s not a trend to underestimate, as Theresa May can tell you. Her leopard-print shoes and now her wellington boots have received more attention than the policies at Tory party conferences, and the fashion pack is equally tuned in to its power for propaganda: “I may be in approachable black but my leopard jacket says don’t get too close or I might bite.” Sarah Clark may not remember Coronation Street’s Bet Lynch, but she certainly has her predilection for leopard print, adding a welcome dose of class with black opaque tights. Head-to-toe animal skin should be reserved for two occasions: the safari and the pantomime. Play it safe by restricting animal influences to one piece. You hardly notice Gaia Geddes’s ensemble when her bag purrs with such self-confidence. Mi-aow. Elizabeth Walker, executive fashion and beauty editor, Marie Claire; Gaia Geddes, executive fashion and jewellery editor, Harper’s Bazaar; Sarah Clark, fashion editor at Glamour


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