Ah, The Clothes Show Live, where do I begin? For those of you who aren’t familiar with The Clothes Show Live, it’s an annual event held in Birmingham NEC. It’s essentially a five day fashion festival, packed with top fashion and beauty brands to shop from at special discounted prices; there are also live hair and beauty demonstrations, makeovers, expert talks, trend reports, celebrities and a showcase of next generation talent. It also boasts the UK’s largest catwalk show, the ALCATEL ONETOUCH Fashion Theatre in association with Capital FM which features over 40 models and dancers in a 45 minute catwalk and dance spectacular. This year, I was lucky enough to be granted a press pass and a front row seat to this 45 minute extravaganza; yes, that’s right…the frow! I felt like Anna Wintour for those precious 45 minutes, albeit I was slightly more dishevelled and missing the chic bob and signature Chanel bag, but you get the picture. My allocated showtime was on Tuesday afternoon, and was hosted by the lovely Jamie Laing from E4’s Made In Chelsea, and featured a music performance from Elyar Fox to kick-start the show.
This year, the catwalk show paid homage to the fashion capital of the world, New York. The top celebrity stylist Karl Willett put together some extraordinary looks using leading designers such as Giles, Mystic Magic and Korlekie. Willett then went on to showcase these breathtaking designs in 8 different collections of his creation; Times Square, Wall Street, Central Park, Coney Island, New York Fashion Week, Hamptons, Studio 54 and Gotham. Having attended my fair share of fashion shows over the years, I can honestly say that the ALCATEL ONETOUCH show is always one of the most exciting shows to attend. There’s always such an explosion of energy, a plethora of prints and a kaleidoscope of colour on the stage; the models and dancers seem to have such fun with what they’re doing that it’s invigorating and inspiring to watch. The attention to detail is phenomenal and it’s easy to see that nothing has been overlooked, everything from the tiniest accessory to the level of bass in the music has been carefully considered.
The Times Square collection was all about block colours and was very Sex And The City; the models were laden with shopping bags which were very much considered to be the statement accessory as jewellery was kept to the bare minimum. The collection was predominantly focused on colour and that city-glamour that Carrie Bradshaw famously emulates.
It probably goes without saying that the Wall Street look centred on office chic, and we were faced with an array of well tailored suits for the men and fitted pencil skirts for the women. This segment of the show demonstrated the simple transition of how office clothes can work for post-work drinks; we witnessed the women shake their hair free from their sleek buns, and remove their glasses to show that a pencil skirt needn’t be resigned to just office wear.
The Central Park collection showcased the best winter looks of 2014 in an almost Eskimo esque twist. The female models were styled with a fantastic selection of faux fur and had their enviously tiny waists clinched in with statement waist belts in order to prevent the thick coats from swamping them.
The Coney Island collection was arguably the most fun look of the show with the models sporting garish prints and funfair novelties. The models also wore outfits of stripes and stars to call upon the American roots of the much-loved funfair tradition. As the models danced around exuding energy and a real zest for life, they encompassed an almost forgotten sense of fun that once stemmed from the funfair of yesteryear; encapsulating a touch of nostalgia for the lost glamour of the American funfairs of the past.
New York Fashion Week
The New York Fashion Week segment of the show was perhaps the most serious and followed the more atypical approach to a catwalk show. The looks were chic and polished, yet also bold and fun.
Ah, the Hamptons; to spend a summer there would be quite the dream wouldn’t it? This was mainly a showcase of swimwear in which the 1950s high waisted bikini reigned supreme, along with some lovely one-pieces in a wide variety of pastel infused prints. As for the men, they were wearing either crisp white or pastel blue swimshorts…and not a lot else. Was anyone complaining? Absolutely not.
I admit, it’s been difficult to pick a favourite collection, but the Studio 54 show stole my heart. From the theatrical afro hair, to the disco inspired sequin trousers – I was sold immediately. There’s just something about the 1970’s and anything to do with the infamously elite Studio 54 nightclub has me locked in a trance. Night Fever, anyone?
The Gotham collection was a complete spectacle in its own right. The lighting, the stage fighting and the catsuits were transfixing enough, but to have Heath Ledger’s legendary line “why so serious?” booming out across the packed auditorium in tune with some custom music was just the icing on an already perfect cake. This collection was undeniably gothic, with thigh high boots and lashings of black leather, it showcased a darker side to the colourful and vibrant New York that we’d previously been shown; a stunning end to a vibrant and inspiring show.
By Rhian Drummond