My Life In Fashion Weeks: Florrie Thomas On London

London fashion week kicks off today, and the new – mostly – digital format is making us nostalgic for runway shows. We asked top stylist and former Fashion Editor at Harper’s Bazaar, Florrie Thomas, to take us down memory lane, from the best shows she’s ever seen to the most dramatic moments from the front row….

My first fashion week memory is interning at Grazia and going to Somerset House one Saturday morning. I only had one ticket and the show was so much shorter than I expected! Being stopped and photographed afterwards was pretty exciting, but weird too, as it felt totally bizarre for a stranger to be taking my picture.

Emilia Wickstead shows are always my favourite. She has a way of making the setting feel perfectly aligned with the quiet poise and elegance of her brand – and the clothes and casting are always exquisite.
 
There have been so many amazing looks that have stayed with me. One that comes to mind is look 31 from the Emilia Wickstead A/W18 show. I went on to wear it, in silver, on my wedding day last summer.

Emilia Wickstead AW18 Show
YANNIS VLAMOS/SIPA/SHUTTERSTOCK

The most dramatic moment was probably the Mary Katrantzou A/W18 show, when an anti-fur protester stormed onto the catwalk.

During London Fashion Week I look forward to seeing the collections at Preen and Rejina Pyo. But across the whole fashion month, it’s usually Isabel Marant or the Chanel Show. The atmosphere at both is so exciting and the casting is just the best. 

The most memorable show ever was Chanel, just after [designer] Karl Lagerfeld had passed away. It was incredibly moving and a real honour to attend.

My favourite celebrity sightings? It’s always great to see the entire Beckham clan at the Victoria Beckham show. But in terms of the ultimate celebrity-spot, it has to be the Queen when she attended the Richard Quinn show.

Front Row At Richard Quinn's February 2018 Show
YUI MOK/PA WIRE/SHUTTERSTOCK
In terms of the ultimate celebrity-spot, it’s got to be the Queen when she attended the Richard Quinn show.
Victoria Beckham SS20 Show
@VICTORIABECKHAM
In terms of the ultimate celebrity-spot, it’s got to be the Queen when she attended the Richard Quinn show.

The Bloomsbury Hotel is my favourite place to stay. There is nothing better than being able to come back to the calm of a hotel room after a busy day of shows. Plus, it’s just round the corner from where the madness happens, which makes it perfect for an hour-long coffee break.

When it comes to under-the-radar brands, I love Eftychia’s cool take on tailoring. There’s something really 90s about it which makes me feel nostalgic for Meg Ryan films.

My favourite look I’ve ever worn is a long floaty Preen dress back in 2016. It was so easy and comfortable, and the vibrant colour made me feel so happy. To feel good during fashion week, I have to wear pieces that are both comfortable and that suit me. I like wearing lesser-known designers and mixing in my favourite vintage pieces. 

Chanel FW19 Show, Paris Fashion Week
DAVID FISHER/REX/SHUTTERSTOCK

My outfits are planned about a week before everything kicks off. The looks rotate around pieces I already own or have recently bought, and then I borrow a few things from my favourite designers. 

After London, Paris is my favourite fashion week. There’s something so lovely about walking round such a beautiful city – plus, every brand you can think of is presenting in a showroom somewhere. So while I attend a few shows, for me its’s more about curating some appointments to see the collections up close.

This year is going to be unlike any other. And although it’s sad not to get attend some special shows, it’s a positive thing for the industry to see how going digital works. This year has forced us all to adapt – in so many ways – and while some things we can’t wait to get back to, other changes could end up being permanent.

@FLORRIET
To feel good during fashion week, I have to wear pieces that are both comfortable and that suit me. I like wearing lesser-known designers and mixing in my favourite vintage pieces.
@MISHKEC
To feel good during fashion week, I have to wear pieces that are both comfortable and that suit me. I like wearing lesser-known designers and mixing in my favourite vintage pieces.

That said, it would be a shame to lose catwalk shows forever. Admittedly, there’s always been something slightly archaic about the way fashion month works: editors travelling the globe and sitting in traffic just to attend an hourly event. It feels completely opposed to the sustainable way we're all supposed to be living. However, the concept of the salon show is obviously steeped in history and it would be sad for them to end completely. 

It will be so interesting to see how these recent changes affect street style. What people are wearing front row has become as much of a pull as the shows themselves, perhaps because it represents what real people want to wear now, as opposed to next season. And so many amazing photographers have made careers out of it – so I’m sure they will adapt. Either way, I’m excited to see how it all turns out.

Follow @FlorrieT

INSPIRATION CREDITS: Instagram.com/Florriet
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