Going into my first season of working at ‘the shows’, I have to admit I was a little bit nervous. Having worked as an entertainment journalist for several women’s magazines and TV shows previously, I was used to egotistical celebrities and stressed production managers throwing their weight around by basically being very rude.
So when I went off to Somerset House for my first catwalk presentation and backstage beauty report, I expected The Devil Wears Prada level snobbery and Zoolander style ridiculousness all. the. way. I mean, I was mentally prepared.
I honestly can’t tell you how pleasantly surprised I was when I discovered that everyone working at this important industry event was, well, actually really nice.
I wasn’t pushed out of my seat by a jet-setting editor, the hair and make-up artists happily answered all my questions even when I was running in late from an earlier show and the models gave me their best ‘Blue Steel’ face when posing for me.
I even got complimented on my casual but somewhat cool working wardrobe!
And so it turned out that what I thought was going to be the biggest challenge of working at the shows was actually no problem at all.
Nor were the 14-hour days or the multiple blisters I acquired from dashing between venues in my flat but not very comfortable shoes.
I didn’t even end up feeling like Jabba The Hut despite spending several days in the close vicinity of gazelle-like teenage models!
No, the biggest issue of becoming part of the whirlwind of fashion, street style and parties is the unstoppable desire to whack out the credit card and deck yourself out in a whole new wardrobe.
Because when you spend five whole days surrounded by some of the world’s most creative dressers and mannequins that have been preened to within an inch of their lives, decked out in handcrafted confections worth thousands of pounds, you slowly but surely start to think of the luxury garments as totally justifiable. Reasonable, even.
I clearly remember the moment when I would have happily sold my soul after seeing the most delicate light blue Erdem gown being lovingly steamed before the label’s SS16 show.
I was utterly astounded how the designer had managed to make the tufty layers of fabric look like actual clouds and finally understood why fashion should be described as art.
All of a sudden, my own high street wardrobe felt more shabby than chic.
The only problem is that despite my champagne tastes, as a journalist I have to make do with a lemonade budget. But if working at the shows has taught me anything, it’s to be creative with what you have access to. No fashion event is more encouraging about expressing your personal style, mixing ‘high and low’ brands and showing off what makes you unique.
Iris Apfel, one of the world’s most unapologetic dressers and, at 94 years old, a fountain of fashion wisdom, once said, “You have to look in the mirror and see yourself. If it feels good, then I know it’s for me. I don’t dress to be stared at, I dress for myself.”
So, the way I see it, there’s not need to go crazy on buying a load of expensive statement pieces – just do you, but do it well.
If, like me, you’re looking to take your style game to the next level, here are some tips on how to ‘go bespoke without going broke’.
Kick things off
I have never been happier than when trainers became officially acceptable to wear to work and even swanky fashion parties. The shoes of the AW16 shows were, once again, either Adidas or Nike and literally everyone from PR girls to make-up artists and bloggers was rocking theirs with pride. I also spotted some really cool custom colour combinations outside Brewer Street car park and most brands now allow you to design your own shoe online. After a lengthy love affair with my lilac and (no longer) pristine white Adidas Gazelles, I’m in the market for sleek all black kicks because I prefer a minimalist vibe. But if you love colour, it’s also worth looking out for collaborations such as Nike and Liberty’s ongoing partnership featuring the store’s famous prints.
One of the biggest street style trends to come out of the recent AW16 shows is the prize jacket. Whether it’s denim or leather, this statement piece is personalised to perfection with hand-painted motifs on the back, colourful embroidery, studs and patches galore. And they don’t have to be expensive – head to YouTube for DIY tutorials on how to make your own!
Don’t stop at fashion
I don’t know about you, but I see the everyday items that help me get through life as a huge extension of my style. Whether it’s the colour of my laptop or a slick black notebook embossed with my name that my boss Jess gave to me; if you can personalise it, I’m all over it.
Cars especially! You spend so much time travelling around in your motor, it’s important you love it. I don’t own a car right now because I have been relying on good old TFL to get me to and from work, but I’m moving to a more rural area soon where I will definitely need a vehicle to get around. I have been eyeing up the new DS 3 hatchback because not only does it look sporty and cool (I can’t stand girly cars), but you can customise it to your tastes literally down to the carpet mats. If you go to the website you can virtually build your own DS 3 and I have been getting very excited about the monochrome colour combinations and chrome door mirrors.
Be a scent-sation
It’s the little luxuries that can have the biggest impact and nothing lifts my mood like putting on my favourite fragrance in the morning. Personally, I love layering two of my favourite Jo Malone scents – Tudor Rose & Amber and Birch & Black Pepper, sadly limited editions no longer available – over one another to create a unique concoction. And there are several places that allow you to mix your own from their range of ingredients, including Penhaligon’s and Liberty London.
New DS 3 and New DS 3 Cabrio make a winning formula even better. Designed with a clean new look the car is the automotive embodiment of Parisian chic. Beneath its stylish exterior New DS 3 is built on the DS foundations of technology, refinement and attention to detail. From DS LED vision headlights through to 7″ touch screen and mirror screen, the car is full of technology to make life easy. Watchstrap design leather seats is an example of the refinement in New DS 3, ensuring that our most compact car meets the exacting standards we demand of every DS. It’s also a car with a multitude of options to personalise so the owner can make the car their very own style statement.
Disclosure: Compensation was provided by DS 3 via Mode Media. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of DS 3.