Wednesday, September 20, 2006

London Fashion Week Day Three

C. Neeon

My hotel is only a 15 minute walk to the main fashion tent. At the half way mark there's a local grocery store (Sainsbury's). For you Canadian readers it's like a President's Choice only better. Affordable food and in quantities that can be bought for a single person as opposed to the tub sized servings that have to be refrigerated.

I picked up breakfast composed of a pre-made sandwich in a container and a small bottle of juice. This seems pretty popular in London. Sandwiches in plastic containers for sale that is. It's pretty affordable and it's fresh. Most sandwiches are under two quid. Because the grocery store hours are 24 hours, except for Saturdays and Sundays, it's very convenient to pick up a bite to eat and not spend a fortune.

Once we finished shooting the C. Neeon show it was off to the Ann-Sofie Back catwalk located in Holland Park via bus. Yes a bus! Day three and we finally found out about a bus that takes the press from one site to another. We heard rumours of a bus yesterday but didn't know where it picked everyone up.

To get around we took the tube and the above ground transit buses. We being me, Simon (a photographer from New York who I met on Sunday for the non-registration), Stan and Enzo some local photographers as well as a bunch of other photographers from around the world. One would think that making this bus known to the photographers would have made sense. The 25 pounds I paid for the media pass would have been an easier pill to take had I known part of it was going toward transport.

The fashion tent set up in Holland Park

Upon arrival at the park the first thing we noticed was a large mob of people trying to get into the area reserved for the fashion show. There were two parts. The first being the waiting area with a small tent so you could sit, get out of the direct sunlight, and drink. The second being the main tent where the catwalk was located. The setting reminded me of something I might have read from the "Great Gatsby" or some Agatha Christie novel. I found it a bit surreal.

Orange Juice anyone?

We photographers get set up in the tent while people wait outside.

In the tent we, the photographers, were setting up all our gear. Some had skipped the C.Neeon show to get the prime camera positions in the front and center of the catwalk. It wasn't too terrible in terms of crowding and I managed to get a spot without much effort. There were a bunch of guys from Italy that were bunched up in a group yelling at each other. Even though I didn't understand a word of italian I thought it was hilarious. They were obviously joking around with one another and started wrestling. One of them almost fell off his platform (a flight box, probably for his camera gear) and off the stage entirely.

The designer Ann-Sofie Back comes out at the beginning of the show.

If there's an unwritten rule that the fashion designer comes out at the end of the show to wave at the audience, at this catwalk the designer changed things up a little and came out at the beginning. I thought this odd. Odd enough to include in this blog.

Here's an interesting mesh up close.

The catwalk finished and I found myself in a mad rush to get back to the bus. Maneuvering around other photographers and people from the audience while trying to keep my camera gear protected and not poke anyone. The first people to get on the bus could sit at the front. That meant they could get off and out of the bus first. Which meant they could get to the next catwalk first. Meaning they would get the choice positioning and the rest of us at the back of the bus would get crappy positioning.

Matthew Robinson and Henrietta Haspeslagh hand out Evian water

We arrived back at the main tent to be greeted by two Evian water people, Matthew and Henrietta. Not that it was their job to keep us photographers hydrated specifically but I was grateful they were there all the same. Hurray for Evian!

Photographers already in position for the U configuration

In the tent the catwalk had changed configuration from a straight line to a U shape. The U shape, while allowing for more viewers to see clothing up close, is a terrible configuration for photographers. The already tiny space for photographers in front of the straight runway gets squished into an area about half the size to make way for the extra seated viewers. It would have helped if there were multiple tiers that we could have stood on but there were only two. As I've already had as much squishing as I require for this week I decided to not get a prime spot (not that I could have) and stand on the side at the bottom of the U shooting with the crowd of people and other photographers in the background.

What some photographers have to go through to "get that shot" with such limited space. At least he's only lying down.

Outfit by Betty Jackson with crowd as background.

Two serious onlookers surveying the clothing line

I suppose the happy side effect by getting a real crappy place to shoot the models from was that the same spot allowed me to shoot semi-decent shots of the audience reaction. One photographer I met borrowed by fish eye to do just that. Earlier today he had his flash "nicked". I was mad when I was told the story. It's not like us photo journalists are millionaires and can replace equipment at a drop off a hat.

Enzo asks when and where the bus will pick us up.

The next location took us to the Jasper Conran show. Being on the bus I really didn't have any bearing on where we were only that we were on a cobblestone street which really could have been any where. This was one of the designers that required a special invite to get in. The normal BFC media pass meant nothing here. As there wasn't any info on out press list a bunch of us were stuck outside milling around.

The media that couldn't get into Jasper Conran's show.

Designer Conran waves to the press.

Since we were stuck here waiting for the bus I decided to shoot around the street. At one point the designer stuck his head out the window to wave. I suppose it was better than nothing. On the street I noticed a bunch of pedicycle cabs. While taking pictures of them parked in a row one of the guys started talking to me. I found out through Fabian, an owner of the pedicabs, that some of the fashion models used the pedicycle cabs to get from location to location.

pedicycle cabs

Stuff for the audience

The next location for the designer Claire Tough was back at the main Fashion tent. It was configured in the dreaded U shape again. This time I had skipped a show to get there early and managed to get a better position. Enzo had wondered off into the audience to get some close up pictures using my fish eye. Claire a photographer I met from New York wasn't as lucky. She got stuck on the end of the U that when shooting featured a lot of crowd and us photographers in the background.

Enzo Peccinotti cleans my fisheye lens

Claire sits on the other side of the U

The nice thing about this trip to London is that I've met a number of people from all over the world. Most of them have been pretty friendly. I started to think why it's so much easier to meet people abroad. I thought at first that maybe it's the people there. Later on I developed a theory that it's probably me. Think about it. When you're in a place you live in you generally know where to go and how to get there. In our busy lives we've seen everything because we've grown up there. Getting from point A to B becomes automatic. When's the last time you've looked up or helped someone with directions. Our brains, or at least my brain, filters out all that stuff.

In London, although I have a multiple number of maps, I still ask people for directions, I look at everything because it's all new. Everything seems so cool. I suppose to the average Londoner it's all every day stuff. (ie. shopping carts in the grocery store have all four wheels that spin, allowing for 180 degree turns on a dime. Here shopping carts have the back two wheels in a fixed position).

Claire Tough catwalk begins

Why is it that a lot of models walk with a blank face?

Dress by Christopher Kane

nice glasses

Were these patterns painted on? I was looking for seams.

Zandra Rhodes

from the Marios Schwab line


Anonymous said...

I love shots of the people taking the photos.

I'd put my lady in some of those sexy clothes too.

theotherbear said...

Sounds like a really interesting trip so far. However, I must either just not 'get it', or have taste up my clacker, because I think all those clothes look bloody dreadful!

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Windows Live Writer