If you've seen me since it was announced that Labrinth was opening Vodafone London Fashion Weekend, then you're probably sick to death of hearing me say "LABRINTH, COME IN".
It's quite addictive though. LABRINTH, COME IN.
Anyhow, I was thrilled that Labrinth was going to be performing for the special Vodafone VIP gig. The opening night of Vodafone London Fashion Weekend is usually up there with my fave LFW memories each season, simply because it's so much ruddy fun to see the models walk to a live performance. I'm surprised the designers don't do it more during LFW itself, maybe it's a logistical nightmare? Or maybe nobody wants the focus to be on the pop star rather than the design star? Who knows, but it was AMAZING when Kate Nash sang at Felder Felder last season and it certainly just added to the show vibez rather than distracted me from the beautiful collection.
I've seen Emeli Sande, Ellie Goulding, Tulisa and Tinchy Stryder work the Vodafone VIP crowd up into a frenzy - but I have to say Labrinth had more people on their feet than ever before. At one point I thought it was going to become a security risk to be honest, I was waiting for "Labrinth, come in....and get everyone to stop dancing on the catwalk" to come over the PA system. It was a rather wonderful eve and he is a very talented boy indeed.
I managed to catch up with Labrinth before the show to ask him some questions...
Let me start by apologising for my ‘wet look’ hair, I’ve just come off a shoot where it had to look like I was underwater. It’s not greasy, I promise.
It looks good. How was the shoot? Were you happy with the pictures?
I was very happy with the pictures actually! And that never happens. Do you ever look back at photoshoots and wonder what on earth you were doing?
Definitely. There was a shoot with me holding up some plants by the stems, they were still in the pots. What was that about? It was terrible.
Are you excited about this evening?
I have to be honest, it’s a bit weird. An artist at a fashion show is like two shows at once you know? But I’m going to go up and do my thing and play my part.
I promise it will be good! I’ve seen all the VIP shows and it really works having the models walk to the live music. Emeli Sandé was amazing.
Did Emeli have a band though?
Yeah she did, but others didn’t and it’s always awesome. It will be fine dear Labrinth. It massively adds to the atmosphere, it makes the clothes come alive and the models walk better. Just don’t be distracted by the hot models like Tinchy was. Is this your first fashion show?
It’s my first performing obviously but I’ve been to a few. Ozwald Boateng’s show was just amazing, that was proper standing ovation at the end kind of stuff. But I’ve been to some which weren’t so good.
Would you like to do a Rihanna and launch a collection?
Music’s my thing, I don’t think I need to design as well.
You are known for your style though, how easy was it to keep control on what you wore as your fame grew?
I’ve got a great team around me and that’s what it’s all about. We’re like a family and I really trust them. You can tell when an artist has been styled to high heaven, you can even tell when an artist has changed stylist sometimes. You need to be authentic to who you are and what you like.
Do you have any favourite designers?
Boateng of course, but I’ve worn a lot of Louis Vuitton, Moschino, Karl Lagerfeld and Versace recently. And I like to find up and coming designers. I’m not a designer snob though, I like high street too – as long as it looks good I’ll wear it, it doesn’t matter what the label says. Zara’s good for men.
What about your BRIT Awards suit last night?
I got a mixed reaction to my suit last night, but I loved it, it was fun. It was by Dent de Man. You need to bring some colour to these award shows sometimes! I knew it would divide opinion.
Are there any outfits you regret?
Man, so many! I was a real studio bum back in the day, all baggy jeans half way down my legs and do-rags. It was just about making the music. I wore some terrible things.
London has just celebrated everything fashion with London Fashion Week – do you rate London as a creative hub?
It feels like all eyes are on London at the moment. We’re known for cultivating young talent – whether it’s music or fashion or anything else. People get a chance here. I’m a born and raised Londoner and right now definitely seems like a very good time to be in London. People are doing very cool things.
London is VERY COOL. Good luck tonight, I’ll be going slightly mental when the “Labrinth, come in” bit happens.
(At this point Labrinth high fived me as I clearly had proven how cool I am)
My last show (awwww) of LFW AW13 with Vodafone VIP was the show that is the most fun to say - Aminaka Wilmont.
We saw blacks, greys and whites from the design duo - in fact I don't think there was a splash of colour at all.
There were plenty of leather coats to get excited about and it was the best show music of the season too.
My top five looks?
My fourth show on Day 5 of LFW AW13 with Vodafone VIP was Maria Grachvogel.
It was a more pared down collection - with solid colour looks to start with and then moving on to some gorgeously haunting handpainted prints that showed off the slightly darker side of nature.
My top five looks?
My third show on Day 5 of LFW AW13 with Vodafone VIP was Ashish. Ashish is always a top highlight of my week - HELLO SEQUINS AND MOODY MODELS - so I was suitably excited even if I was otherwise beginning to wither a bit from fashion overload.
The collection was called "Working Girl" - we saw our heroine in high vis sequinned jackets, practical denim aprons and mohair jumpers with pockets to keep spanners and loose drill bits. Her neon yellow and orange sequins as suitable for dodging traffic as she works in the road, as it is for avoiding cumbersome men.
The Ashish girl tends to fall under 'poor little rich girl' category - dying to be a down and out punk rather than the heir to a heap of old money riches. She wants to live like common people, she wants to do whatever common people do. She may be 'mucking in' on a building site this season, but she's doing so in sequinned shawls whilst taking a three hour lunch break.
I love her.
My top five looks?
My second show on Day 5 of LFW AW13 with Vodafone VIP was Emilio de la Morena.
Geometry was a focus for AW13 - be it in hand beaded geo prints that proved the high levels of craftmanship behind the designs...or the simple oversized woven grids of fabric that left little peekaboo cutouts of the bare flesh beneath. It was this weaving that I really loved in the collection. It reminded me of my attempts to make 'blankets' at Brownies by weaving strips of paper.
The collection was more mature and moody than last season, but thigh high slits and dramatic prints ensured nobody was thinking these were sombre girls who didn't want anyone to look at them. Dark shades were plentiful, with the odd punch of red to interrupt the moodiness.
My top five looks?
My first show on Day 5 of LFW AW13 with Vodafone VIP was Paul Costelloe.
I've really missed Paul Costelloe showing at LFW and he gave a really love speech ahead of his presentation this season. He talked about the London design scene and what a hub it is for emerging design talent, but pointed out that world class tailoring is what made the British fashion industry so strong in the first place. All of the garmz we saw yeseterday were not only designed in Britian, but made in Britian by British workers - in good ol' Manchester no less!
Good tailoring doesn't have to be expensive - people are so used to a throw away Primark culture now that you can almost forget what good quality feels and wears like. Paul emphasised that this collection was affordable whilst being wonderuflly well made. And what a treat it was to actually see a wearable, attainable, practical collection at LFW.
I love outlandish designs and crazy mish-mashes of fur and leather and sequins and swear words as much as the next show-goer, but it was the pics from this show that got the most "ooooh I'll really have to look out for that coat" feedback on Twitter. The collars, the cocoon shapes, the beautiful oversized buttons. Oh and smiling, happy, healthy models got a round of applause from Twitter too. Remember of course that fashion isn't moody BLACK BLACK BLACK "I'm better than you" nonchalance to 99% of people. What the fashion industry adores vs what the general (buying!) public adores is often very different - this was a collection for real people.
Michael Flatley was in the audience and he'd said to Paul before the show that "it's not how often you go down, but how often you come back up".
Indeed it is, indeed it is.
My top five looks?
My final show on Day 4 at LFW AW13 with Vodafone VIP was Osman.
Osman is usually a bit hit or miss for me, some of my favourite pieces in six seasons of covering LFW have been Osman's, then some shows have left me feeling completely 'meh'.
But there was NOTHING 'meh' about the AW13 Osman collection.
Some are saying the fact Beyonce sported a jumpsuit of his recently added to his confidence. I have no idea, but it was his best work yet.
I'd seen a glimpse of the crisp white pieces backstage before the show and I really do love white, mainly because I know I'm no way near tidy enough to wear it. I saw that white fur clutch and immediately saw 'ketchup stain'. Still, a girl can dream. We can all hope to be Osman's Snow Queen one day. Courtesy of some help from Daz, no doubt.
My top five looks?
As the invites come dropping through the letter box as LFW approaches – always worryingly slowly I hasten to add – it’s an invite to Christopher Kane I’m always most desperately hoping for as I rip open the envelopes.
When I started covering LFW for Vodafone VIP, Christopher was in a partnership deal with the network. My first heady memories of LFW are being backstage at his neon SS11 show, standing next to Anna Wintour wondering how on earth I’d landed something so jammy. I am entirely in love with him IN A COMPLETELY NON-SYCOPHANTIC WAY.
Yesterday’s show, in its wonderfully huge Canon Place setting, was all about brains. Healthy brains, knitted brains, brains exploding with creativity – basically exactly what’s going on inside Christopher’s head. A brain for design that justifies the huge PPR investment.
The show was long. It was huge. There were over 60 looks. Many of the ‘sections’ to the collection harked back to archive pieces – the camo stuff for instance. The camo pieces were my favourite actually. Although I adored the dresses at the end which looked like a hot mess of static electricity and fizzing synapses.
It was almost as if we were watching “Christopher through the ages: Reinvented” albeit with an absence of neon.
Oh and he confirmed that oxblood is cool enough to stick through to AW13.
I managed to get some fab pics which you can find here, but my fave pieces were the camo bits below...
Woooooheeee! It's Day 4 of LFW already. How is that possible?!
My morning with Vodafone VIP started with Michael van der Ham.
The Dutch CSM grad designs for women who aren't afraid to stand out a bit - to wear something a little bolder than the norm.
And I have to say, the sheer gowns in the AW13 collection with velevet leopard details were definitely something I'd be very happy to stand out in!
Kudos for making trousers dreamy, too.
My top five looks?