Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Valentine's Day in London

Groceries and some flowers.

The first catwalk to be seen today was at 9:45am. It was the Roksanda Ilincic show. There was no address for this show on the schedule other than W1 and since it started at 9:45am I figured I'd skip it and use the sleep then to go the the Preen Catwalk as the first catwalk of the day instead.

A convenient flower vendor to pick up those pesky flowers

That was what I had planned the night before. As things go, I guess I was exhausted from yesterday's shooting. That combined with the fun little visitors earlier this morning I didn't really sleep that well and when I did, well let's just say I missed the Preen show as well.

So for a first catwalk I decided to go to an OFF schedule catwalk instead. For those readers that aren't familiar with London Fashion week there's a main schedule, an ON schedule and a secondary schedule, the OFF schedule (or BLOW schedule). In general The ON schedule features the designers that have been around for a while or that attract the press and I suppose are registered officially with the British Fashion Council (or BFC), where as the OFF schedule features the newer designers and usually display their catwalks in smaller venues.

The first OFF schedule show of my day featured a designer by the name of Regine Mowill. Her show had a start time of 1:30pm. That gave me a lot of time to finish waking up and sort things out (copy yesterday's photos to my hard drive, check the roach situation, grab some food and visit the local internet lounge).

Facing west toward the internet lounge and down the street from the Earl's Court tube station.

Regine Mowill

I arrived to the Regine Mowill show about forty minutes early. There was only one other photographer along with the catwalk staff prepping the room. It was such a change from last night. I could set up pretty much anywhere.

A logo projected onto the wall

Some of the gift bags for the front seaters

Preparation of the catwalk room

By the time the catwalk had started I had secured a spot in the front middle of the photographers stage. It was pretty easy as there were only five other photographers other than myself shooting.

The advantage of shooting straight down the runway it that the model's eyes stare right into the camera when they get to the end of the catwalk and pose. A good model will, given enough time, glance in multiple areas of the photo pit giving the photographers enough time to shoot her looking at them. These are the pictures that editors seem to gravitate to and are the ones that end up on the cover of magazines and other publications.

The two bad things about shooting from this angle is that you see the clothing straight on. If you want to see how a dress flows, or how materials interact with the model walking this angle isn't so good. Depending on the width of the catwalk and how much time there is between each model walking down the catwalk the other problem that occurs it that models in the photographic image will intersect with one another making for poor composition. Below is an example of a model standing in the background intersecting with the model in the foreground.

an example of mediocre composition

Rogine Mowill, designer

This poster was attached to a few posts near the main fashion tent

Poster up close... It is Valentine's Day after all

Basso and Brooke

Pre-catwalk instructions

With the first catwalk being so relaxing I decided to make the whole day like this. Instead of trying to rush around and see every possible show there was I took my time, planned out the important shows I didn't want to miss and got to those shows early. The Julien Macdonald show was the really big show I wanted to see this week and after that everything was gravy.

Because of this I showed up to the Basso and Brooke show at around 2:00pm, an hour and forty-five minutes before the scheduled time. It allowed me to see the setting up of the catwalk, the models doing last minute rehearsing and getting last minute directions.

Peeking over at the models in their fashion scrum

Simon adjusts the projected L'oreal logo

The crowd... with Andrew and Josie

Transparent hat

It looks warm... like wearing a sleeping bag

An interesting print

How does this hat stay on?

Lily Cole making bed head fashionable

the pregnant look seems to be gaining popularity among designers

"Do not give hat to children under 6 years old."

How does this hat stay on? I'd hate to be sitting behind this girl at an event.

The designers Basso and Brooke wearing Spider-man and Patrick (from Sponge bob square pants) T-shirts. How cool is that?

Last seasons clothing of Basso and Brooke featured some pretty amazing prints. At least this is what I was told. "The catwalk was amazing! You have to shoot them this season!". Based out these comments I had put aside the time to shoot Basso and Brooke. While I liked the designs overall not much really jumped out at me, with the exception of the really large hats. My expectations wre set too high.

I found out later that they didn't do as much custom prints because, while they looked great to shoot, they didn't do too well trying to sell to conservative buyers.

Heck no, you can't go

The London Eye as seen from SE1 8XX

Being an accredited BFC photographer with a official badge you are allowed to photograph any BFC catwalk with one exception, if you are required to have a invitation and don't have one. Luckily the catwalks that require an invite are written down on paper and are given out from the BFC in their Photographer's lounge (in the main tent). This saves the photographer from travelling to some location wasting time and money and cover the shows that are unaccessible.

Of course there's always the catwalk that ends up having security saying that you're not allowed in. You might feel that it was a waste of time and energy to make it all that way to get to that obscure location. As you, the reader, may have guessed this happened to a few of us photographers while going to the Hayward gallery. We showed up to be turned around.

On a positive note I got to see more of London. From a tourist point of view it's still quite fascinating (see London Eye photo). As for the designer, they get less press coverage.

Eley Kishimoto

setting up before the show in the main BFC tent

The next show on my agenda was back at the main tent. It was scheduled for 7:30pm but didn't actually start until 8:22pm. This gave me well over an hour to get ready, talk to other photographers, and take a few quick pre-catwalk photos.

A rare shot of a model smiling (mind you this is pre-catwalk)

Same model during the catwalk (note the face of seriousness).

The designers Eley Kishimoto

Julia Clancey

In a last minute addition to my shooting agenda I went across the street (from the fashion tent) to shoot Julia Clancey's line. I suppose other phptpgraphers got the same idea because instead of just five of us photographers there were about 25 this time around. The catwalk took place in the same area that Rogine Mowill's catwalk took place. The whole room was jammed with people.

By the time I got a position in the photo pit I had about ten seconds, maybe five before the girls started coming out. I shot the entire line from a crapped position at the back of the room just over a videographer named Michelle who was sitting and under another photographer standing over me. I didn't want to block the other photographer with my arm or head so I tried to make myself really short by crotching down with my camera hovering just millimeters over Michelle's shoulder a few centimeters away from her head.

Designer Julia Clancey

waiting platform on the tube

The days shooting ended a few minutes after nine. I was just after the show that I met up with Andrew (the designer) and Josie. We took the tube to see some friends in London for dinner.


Unknown said...

Hi Derek ! This is Brian, great pics from London. Where can I send you an email ?

Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

That is one very long entry. Beautiful hats. Speaking of beautiful, my sister's single...

Anonymous said...

Sorry about that. Caught "Bowser's girl" typing on my computer after coming back inside from taking out the garbage. She's pretty head strong. Since we're on the topic though... nudge nudge wink wink.

BagelHot said...

hi brian,

You can email me through my site.

theotherbear said...

hmm. Like the photos, would not be caught dead in any of the outfits. :)

Cupcake said...

Are you still in England? AND I have been encouraging you to meet up with Brower's girl's sister.

Dooooo iiiiit! It will be fun.

BagelHot said...

To Theotherbear:
Not even the big ass hat?

To Cupcake:
Geez, not like there's any pressure or anything.

Anonymous said...

Did you know that big ferris wheel is really an alien transmitter?