Sunday, 18 September 2011

Jasper Conran at Somerset House: Champagne and Misfits

Richard E Grant as Withnail: fashion icon
For some reason I associate Somerset House with the phrase "public records"; I'm sure that they used to keep wills and suchlike there. It always resonated rather dully in my mind. Not any more, it seems. On Saturday I was present at the beginning of London Fashion Week for the Jasper Conran show. It was probably the first fashion show that I have been to, ever, (apart from one, at University, which consisted of my better-looking friends waltzing up and down a stage looking faintly embarrassed whilst the rest of us cheered and threw things from below). I have not had a career change; I will not be eschewing dusty books for the glamour of the catwalk (well, not yet anyway, unless Burberry want to make me their new face); I was a guest of the Lewis sisters (actress Daisy and artist Lily), and we had front row seats, putting me next to Kirsty Allsop, the Princess of Property. I promise you that none of us said "location, location, location" at any point in the day. Also in the Lewis party was Nathan Stewart-Jarret, who plays Curtis in the, erm, feisty programme Misfits, which is like Heroes but with ASBOs. Literally. Oh, and Richard E Grant (you know, the actor chap) was in the front row on the other side, as was Vogue editor Alexandra Shulman and lots of fashiony people (including someone wearing a gold necklace that looked like it came from the tomb of Tutankhamun.) I however looked more like Withnail, and certainly felt like him.

Since I don't know very much about clothes, or fashion, I can tell you that the models looked as if they had been assembled from a Meccano kit, their arms hanging in deathly stillness by their sides whilst their shoulder blades jutted out backwards as if they were supercilious swans about to take flight. None of them looked very happy, although I refrained from shouting "Cheer up love!" (although the photographers seemed to take great delight in shouting things at the models – what they were shouting I could never work out.)  I would still quite happily have gone for a drink with most of them – should any of them have been capable of going for a drink. The clothes were swishly ravishing, flowing behind and around the models in sleek and stylish folds. Some kind of weirdly posturing version of Eurythmics' Sweet Dreams pounded out. I wonder what relevance it had to the show? It was quite a slowed-down version, and as far as I remember (though my memory is not that reliable on the point) it was a man's voice.

Everything was so elegant and clean and, well, gracious that I almost didn't stuff myself with a bagel and champagne afterwards – at least there was nobody else eating in the vicinity – but thirst and hunger won the day. I didn't meet a single model, alas; though perhaps that was a good thing.

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