SELFRIDGES AW14 FASHION SHOW 9TH OCTOBER 2014
So, plenty of folk are aware that I’m a photographer, but maybe not so many know that my day job is actually within the fashion industry. ’Tis true! Who woulda thought, that me, Mr Permament-Black-T-Shirt-And-Jeans is a fashionista! Well, maybe not quite that much….
But both being ladies of quite exceptional taste, Charlie and Keeley invented me along as their plus one to the Selefridges AW14 Fashion show. And of course to get my, *cough* ‘expert’ opinion on the mens fashion. So I donned my best black tee, combed my beard, and and went off to investigate for myself.
I admit, I am not a regular visitor to Selfridges, I’m not on any of their mailing lists, so wasn’t aware of the £3 million refurb of the menswear department in which the fashion show was being held, but it was a grand event to showcase it. I did get chance later to have a wander around for myself, and it is very impressive, but also way out of my pocket. We were greeted with fizzy stuff, which I quickly downed as I realised there was also beer on offer. Which I also quickly downed as I discovered there was a Maker’s Mark whiskey bar. Oh dear. I’d also had a terrible day, and was in dire need or a drink. This could only end awesomely.
So, in my jeans (Levis, £60), trainers (Gola, £50), brand new black t-shirt (American Apparel, £8 from a dude I know who can get me them cheap cos I buy in bulk), I followed Charlie and Keeley around the store, drink in hand as they browsed various wonderful, and very expensive dresses. The handy thing about this kind of even is that I can mumble things to myself all night, and mostly no one is actually paying any attention to quite what I’m saying (£2000 for a dress? Wow, that’s a lot of booze…). I was a little conscious at first of being rather underdressed, the large majority of men there were in expensive suits, groomed to within an inch of actually being photoshopped, tanned, and all identical. The last point there was when I realised I was comfortable in what I was wearing. I’m not saying there was anything wrong with how everyone was dressed, but there was a certain uniformity which seemed to remove any individuality.
The actual fashion show took place at the foot of the escalators down from the ladies wear department, so we took our place to view the catwalk, as the perimeter filled up with all sorts of fashionistas and bloggers. I admit, 3 or 4 whiskey’s down, my live tweeting of the event took a sharply sarcastic turn. I’ll leave the commentary on the ladies fashion to the ladies, but I tried to take notice of the menswear as it was paraded around.
I’m not going to make any points about the price range of what was on offer - we all know that Selfridges is a premium quality department store, and we know what to expect. Jeans at £200, jackets at £1400, suits at £1000. Saint Laurent, Lanvin, Dior, Valentino, and Belstaff amongst others had their latest wares being displayed. It was all, without exception, marvellous. It’s a level of fashion where the brand name isn’t visible, it’s not plastered across the front, there’s not motif, no obvious label. It’s fashion for those who know fashion. I wasn’t going to put my grubby hands on the merchandise when I wandered around later, but I know the quality of these garments from my day job. There’s a feel to the material and the build that exudes a certain opulence.
Even just by sight, it was evident of the superior quality of the garments - even if some were not quite to my taste. All were very clean cut, the suits very sharp, elegant traditional shaping. Even a man like myself, who sports a beard that straddles the line between hero and hobo, would look like a star in suits like that. There is a sense of a ‘classic’ styling to it all. The colour scheme was dark (and going back to the aforementioned black t-shirts, I’m a fan of dark), none of it was designed to make the wearer stand out due to garish colours, only to look like a man who chooses quality.
The fashion show didn’t go on for too long, short and too the point (which was also good as I had run out of booze half way through, and live tweeting is thirsty business), which then gave me opportunity to have a good look at the menswear department. It’s very good. It’s very expensive, as already mentioned. But quality expensive. For example, I have been wanting a proper belstaff jacket for many years, while I may not have owned a motorbike for a few years, the belstaff waxed biker jackets are legendary, more than just a brand, it’s a heritage. And like most of the menswear here, it’s got that heritage, and a styling that will never be ‘last years fashion’. Timeless.
Enough fashion ranting. More drinking. And a haircut! The chaps from Gladstone Grooming had their own pop up barbers in the store, so whilst all the fashion bloggers all got together to swap notes about the show and practise the most intricate of fashionista air kissing, I had a fantastic trim, and I’ll be off to see them in Ashton-Under-Lyne soon for the good proper haircut.
As well as the abundance of fashion and booze, there was thankfully an offering of many aperitifs being served up, tiny food, tiny bites, but all delicious. I rejoined Charlie and Keeley to hear their thoughts on the show, and to meet the lovely Miss Pond and Anoushka for a few more drinks before it was time to leave the opulence of the continuing party and venture off in to the dark and misty Manchester night.
To find another bar, obviously…