whathappensinlondon

Archive for September, 2011|Monthly archive page

London Fashion Week

In Day to Day on September 21, 2011 at 12:56 pm

SOMERSET HOUSE

This is a rather delayed post, considering we are now on the last day of London’s most fashionable week – with shows including Mulberry, Clements Ribiero, PPQ, Burberry, Christopher Kane, Jaeger and Marios Scwab having shown their catwalk collections. Rather than a run down of the catwalk shows and reports, this piece acts to encourage anyone who Happens to be In London (see what I did there?) during fashion week, to go. It is an experience not quite like any other, and a chance to see some amazingly dressed people while you’re there.

For me, the enjoyment lies in watching new season collections stomping past and looking for new trends as well as admiring what everyone else has turned out in. Even if it is just to stop outside Somerset House and look at what everyone is wearing, or to try your hand at some celeb papping, there is nothing that quite matches up. Once you have your exhibition pass, make the most of it and take a look around Somerset House, as well as the shows you have tickets for.

Something that often gets left out are the exhibition rooms around Somerset House – I urge you to look around these as they are a fascinating opportunity to see examples of design and creativity up close, plus talk to the designers in person about the collections. My favourite is usually the Headonism room curated by milliner extraordinaire Stephen Jones – this year on the ground floor (rather than the lower ground) and right next to the BFC Press Lounge. The milliners showing in the East Wing for SS12 include Charlie Le Mindu, Piers Atkinson, Noel Stewart and J. Smith Esquire and the stands (although crammed into quite a small room) are beautiful.

On the Lower Level, you will find the BFC Screening room and the BFC Elle Talent Launch Pad – this year with Sophie Hulme and Claudia Catzefils. Hulme is one of my favourite emerging designers, with fond memories for me as I wrote this piece about her many months ago when I started this blog. I love her classic pieces with gold accents and amazing jewellery – so go and see her stand!

Fashion week poses the rare opportunity to glimpse into the future and see the trends we will be wearing come next summer, plus really appreciate some truly amazing British design and homegrown talent.

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Very Stylish, Very Starck

In Day to Day on September 21, 2011 at 12:30 pm

BERNERS STREET

The last seven days have been a blur of clothes and shows (more on this later) as London Fashion Week descended on the capital, clocking up column inches all over the place. However, amidst all the celebrities, bloggers, photographers and bona fide fashionistas, a less noticeable wave of people swept through London over the weekend…the nosy ones.

London Open House took place over the weekend, giving the voyeur in all of us the chance to look round some of the cities most guarded and inaccessible buildings. Whether you’re into old cinemas, hotels, modern architecture or simply aesthetically pleasing design, there is bound to be something on offer to catch your eye, as the list is extensive to say the least. With over 700 places specially open to the public, I plumped for the Sanderson Hotel on Berners Street – minutes into the tour, I knew I made the right decision. Starting with a view from across the road, our guides pointed out Ian Schrager’s hallmark oversized vase with pink flowers placed outside the main entrance, clearly identifying the building as one of his from the off.

Once in, Phillip Starck’s unique vision becomes clear – his influence is everywhere. ‘The space between the doors and the reception desk is the catwalk’….which explains why all the chairs are pointing towards the main desk. OK, and the lips? ‘A big kiss from us for when you arrive!’ Of course…dare I ask, the pictures of dogs behind and in front of the white drapes? ‘Well, it’s the English man’s best friend’. This logic pretty much explains everything in the hotel, from the fittings to the furniture, it’s all very surreal and the whole experience of walking around (and I presume staying there), is much the same.

After looking around the Purple Bar, Billiard Room and stunning stained glass windows, we got to the lift. I know, a lift doesn’t sound very exciting does it? Well, instead of being forced to stare uncomfortably into a smeary mirror for the 30 second journey upstairs, instead we did some star gazing. The walls are made from 3D images of planets and stars from the galaxy in deep blue and twinkly white on both the walls and ceiling – it’s absolutely stunning and very Christopher Kane.

Upstairs, the room numbers are shining lights on the floor rather than on the doors, and that’s it. The corridors are completely bare with no defining characteristics at all – to be honest, it’s a little unsettling and I expect a girl on a tricycle to come wheeling around the corner at any minute. The bedrooms replicate this but in far more luxurious settings and all in white.

Echoing the dream-like, surreal nature of the rest of the decor, the rooms are designed to feel like you are stepping onto a cloud. White walls, white floor, white cupboards, white furniture and a bed (white) placed at an angle in the middle work together to create a calm, cool environment. As a listed building, converting the old Sanderson HQ and showroom into a hotel was difficult, with no extra walls allowed to be built within the rooms. The bathroom is therefore separated from the main bedroom area with a large sheet of glass and two layers of privacy curtains, so make sure you’re very comfortble with whoever you share your room with!

After querying how they keep the rooms so white with no evidence of scuffs or wear and tear, I was told that after a week long stay every room is repainted white – they even have a full time painter on site who must really hate white by now.

Although I prefer more classic and comforatble interiors, the Sanderson delivers on both style and Starck – their second hotel on St Martin’s Lane is now firmly on my ‘must visit’  list.

Click here to visit the Sanderson Hotel website.