Tuesday, September 19, 2006

London Fashion Week Day Two

Uncondtional catwalk begins

In the press release for London fashion week they estimated 5000 people from all over the world including press would show up. To hold this large concession of people the main fashion tent which was actually a portable building, consisted of a large room for the catwalk (of various configurations - more on that later), a large waiting room, a second floor for VIPs and a photographers centre.

The idea for the photographers centre was a good one. It allowed us photographers to go somewhere close by where we could check our gear, prep our gear, and connect to the internet allowing us to exchange information between ourselves and our publications. All this without having to worry about getting congested with other press people or other people in general.

The photographers lounge

The only down side was that the room could only hold 15 photographers at a time comfortably. The 15 that managed to get in first and mark off their desk space were well off. The rest of us ended up sitting on the floor trying to avoid people stepping over us or sitting outside with the rest of the photographer overflow.

The photographers that could not fit in the lounge

It was odd to think that an event that had a bus for photographers that could fit about 50 of us would have a tiny room that could only fit 15. Perhaps the BFC didn't think a bunch of us would have laptops?

The lack of room for photographers was also evident when standing at the end of the catwalk in the main fashion tent. The stairs or platform built to hold all of us was only two tiered. Allowing for maybe 10 good positions. As there were about fifty of us this made it a bit uncomfortable. I suppose if all the photographers were like those little Fisher-Price people which no arms or legs (like pegs) we'd be doing okay.

This catwalk was set up under stairs in a football stadium!

Luckily not all the fashion venues were like the main tent. The next venue after shooting the Unconditional show was at Chelsea Football Club Stadium. This catwalk was constructed under the fan seats. After walking down a corridor of concrete walls we past a coke machine and standing in front of a small white door opening was a security officer telling us to take off our shoes.

The room that was built for the catwalk was incredible. It was lit from beneath a window floor as well as from the ceiling. The room was all white. Kind of like something out of 2001: a space odyssey. The two corners of the room behind the photographers had two large umbrellas with very bright continuous lit bulbs. At the far end when the models came out was another large light.

Looking over at about 2/3 of the press covering the Preen show

One of the outfits from the Preen spring/summer 07 collection

The next venue I went to was the Allegra Hicks show. By the time I arrived the show just started and I scrambled for a spot on the photographers platform. Thanks to a videographer I managed to secure a spot (about the size of a house brick) to shoot from.

The small area was enough for my right foot, leaving my left foot hanging in mid air over a meter drop to the floor. Because of the awkward positioning I actually missed the first three or four dresses to come out. I did manage to shoot the rest of the clothing line without falling into the DJ beneath me.

The Allegra Hicks show

After the Allegra Hicks On/Off show I decided to skip a few shows to meet up with Andrew and Josie for a late lunch. On our way through a few London streets looking for a place to eat we saw this tiny car.

The tiny (electric?) car

Josie models next to car for scale

The front view

As it turns out the Thai food place we wanted to go to just closed. It was 3pm. They would reopen later on at night (at 5pm) for the dinner crowd. This seemed like the norm as we went from restaurant to restaurant finding each one closed. We ended up going to an "American style"
restaurant where the service was a bit slow and the meals a bit unimpressive.

Then back to the main fashion tent to shoot the last show of the day. Due to lack of space and the number of photographers I found myself kneeling behind a photographer while squished between two others. After about 10 minutes of this my legs went numb.

During the shooting of the Biba show excruciating pain started interfering with my concentration on the photography. When the show was done, the photographers eventually got up and I fell over on my side allowing the blood to flow back into my legs. It was at this point that I noticed blood on the floor. Someone had dropped a screw and my knee had been grinding into it for the last half hour. This resulted in a large gash in my leg just under my knee.

I treated the wound with water from the Evian bottle I received at the front door before the show and a napkin I stuffed into my pocket from the restaurant. The bleeding stopped after about 15 minutes and I was good as new.

The Biba show where I got the leg injury


Anonymous said...

Wish I were there.

Try to remember you still have a body while you're behind the camera.

Wade Marshall said...

Nothing like getting screwed in the knee!

BagelHot said...

re: comments from Wade.

(insert big groan here)

Anonymous said...

I recall pain being an integrel part of photography when I was doing underdressed outdoor winter art stuff in an inverted bus in a junk yard, but I was the model, not the photographer, at the time...

Ah, those were the good old days. If it costs blood, I hope it was worth something.