Friday, February 15, 2008

London Fashion Week AW 2008 Day Six

Gloucester Road station

Day six and the last day of London Fashion week AW. I opted to skip most of the catwalks today in order to shoot some pick up photos for Hello magazine of Andrew Majtenyi at the Canada House. Shooting the poorly lit catwalk was a complete photographic disaster and the photos I had of Andrew were few and far between not to mention there were not enough photos shot with a portrait orientation.

Panda bear

the rest of the BMX course

Canada House was kind enough to let us shoot in one of the more decadent rooms not readily available to the casual public. The room was like something out of a James Bond movie. It was an enormous space filled with giant paintings, mirrors and an incredibly large couch.

Andrew Majtenyi in Canada House

Andrew Majtenyi fashion designer

a large couch

With the re-shoot done, I raced over to the Hilton hotel where the Julien Macdonald catwalk was going to take place. I wanted to get there early to get a good spot. In previous seasons I managed to shoot the catwalk in precarious places that may have been deemed unsafe. This year I wanted to get a good spot for once.

A souvenir booth outside the tube.

Showing up early turned out to be a waste of time. I didn't have the correct photo pass. As there was no special photo pass mentioned on any of the fashion council lists I had I was a bit surprised then angry at the PR company. What a waste of time.

If there was one catwalk that I wanted to shoot in London, Julien Macdonald's was the one. It was a combination of all the glitzy clothing and that the last season I shot his catwalk he let all the photographers access to see his clothing (as long as we were recognized by the British Fashion Council that is).

The PR person made me wait around for an hour before saying I couldn't get in. What an ass. Deflated, I returned to the main fashion tent to photograph the new upcoming students and their work.

Simon doesn't like the reading?

Maybe this reading will be better.

Saint Martins shines with student work

I shot a few photos from the line up of Saint Martins. There were some interesting photos in the bunch. Overall my mind was reeling from the not being able to get into the Hilton catwalk. It was after the show that I met some people on their way to the Hilton.

I told them that you needed a photo pass to get in. Their response was "They always say you need a photo pass to get in. Are you coming.". There was nothing else for me to do. The Julien Macdonald show was Simon's last Fashion Week lighting masterpiece. I had to at least make an effort to try again.

There definitely is power in numbers. I huddled into the Hilton with a group of photographers, among the chaos of other spectators getting to their seats. Security not only let us in they showed us where to go. As it was the same place as the last few seasons I knew exactly where to stand. It was the same place no one else wanted as you had to be nimble and the pain would be excruciating. It was standing on the banister of the scaffolding on one foot, with one hand holding the camera and the other holding a vertical pipe.

The lighting for the Julien Macdonald show

I photographer tried to stand there but it was too uncomfortable and he was too short to shoot around another photographer in front of him. He gave up and moved into the pack nearer to the middle. I asked if I could use the spot and got a bunch of nods from the surrounding photographers. I was in place now I just had to wait for the catwalk to begin before I couldn't feel my limbs.

Julien Macdonald surrounded by confetti and models

Before I knew it confetti was flying through the air with a smiling fashion designer by the name of Julien Macdonald walking down the catwalk surrounded by this year's models, the show was over. My body ached and I slowly climbed down to the floor once the photographers under me packed up and left the pit.

Being a fashion designer can be fun

I felt a gush of that fashion magic. Despite the odds I had done it. I had shot the Julien Macdonald catwalk and it was fabulous! London Fashion Week was a success!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

London Fashion Week AW 2008 Day Five

The cereal section in Sainsbury's

Today started a bit late. I was feeling tired and decided to skip the first two catwalks and go to the third. It was easier as it took place in the main fashion tent only a 10 minute walk away from my hotel. It also gave me time to go look for something to eat for breakfast.


After the Ashish show I accompanied Steve from Montreal to the next venue, Blue Bird. I had shot there before but still didn't know where it was located. The last time I had gotten there was via the Fashion bus. This time Steve and I were skipping a few shows to get to the venue early and hopefully get a good spot in the photo pit.

Videographer Steve from Montreal on the bus

The bus hand grips

We arrived to find that most of the photo pit was empty. I took a few photos of the light bulb ceiling while Steve went to shoot some of the models getting their make up and hair done. About 15 minutes later we decided to grab some food across the street. The catwalk wouldn't start for another hour.

The light bulb ceiling at the Blue Bird

An homage to the last photo taken at this location

The catwalk configuration at the Blue Bird

The Noodle bar across the street

While the food was quite good, the service was a tad slow. Across the table from us was a fashion editor. She was in a rush to get the bill as well. We all made it out at the same time and hurried back across the street to get into the venue.

my lunch

The photo pit was packed. The Italians were there and one of them was nice enough to let me back in to a spot as someone else took my mark spot. I heard a grown, looked over wondering if I was standing in front of someone. It turned out that the head Italian photographer was playing tetris on his cell phone and misplaced a brick. I need to learn italian one of these days just so I can get in on all the fun they seem to be having.


After the Erdem show I made my way back to the main fashion tent. Patrick was there and we wondered where all the other photographers were. Turns out they were all probably trying to get into the Vivian Westwood show. Too bad for them. They missed a great catwalk. Jenny Packham was one of my favorite shows on my visit to London.

Jenny Packham

Where are all the photograhers?

Jenny Packham, designer

As the show wrapped up I stuck around with Patrick waiting for the next show in the fashion tent to begin. We had a few hours so I got some food and dirnk and schmoozed with who ever was available. It was during this time that we found out the lighting tech, Simon, was lighting his last fashion week.

Even though I don't make it to London much or haven't shot London fashion week that often in the past a large black cloud of sorrow came over me. London is truly a great place to shoot fashion and it's due to people like Simon who know their business. I cannot put enough emphasis on the lighting and how great it is to shoot here. It's consistant in both color temperature and intensity all the way down the catwalk. I don't think a lot of the British photographers know how well they have it.

Simon takes a break inbetween catwalk shows.

a random shoe photo

gift bags stand ready for the next show

Anne-Marie photographer from New York

gift bag

One of the many cool things about shooting fashion week in London is that the main sponsor is Canon. While this doesn't really help the Nikon user much they do have a contest where you can win a Canon camera and at the very least get a nice big print of one of your photos for free. All you have to do is snap a photo and submit it to the Canon desk in the Photographer's lounge. The photo eventually gets printed and is hung on the wall where you can see it along with all the other submissions.

Here's mine. I thought it would be nice to get this printed out and give to Simon. The print disappeared. I'm hoping Simon received it.

Simon Tutchener with the singing in the rain dog


Issa the designer with model

After the show I joined Patrick for a drive through London to pick up Irina. We then met up with Andrew and Josie at a place called the Big Easy, a seafood restaurant.

Note the driver (Patrick) is sitting on the right hand side of the car

A random billboard that we passed by

Irina and Patrick

Inside the Big Easy

live entertainment

Patrick through a beer glass

Some girl at the other table getting made up


We finished dinner and were invited to tag along with Patrick to his next shoot. A lingerie show at some dance club. We got in but were told to put away our cameras so the only photo I managed to get was the one below. I lucked out and got a nice shoulder massage from a pretty girl by the name of Agata. The event had paid a company, Ibiza Angels, to come in and give various patrons a massage for free.

My masseuse got a lot of looks. She was very attractive. One guy walking by gave the comment that I was the luckiest guy on earth. I kind of shrugged and gave me a blank look back. "yeah, whatever." I didn't mean to snub him, I was clearly a lot more tired from the day then I thought and thought to myself "This is pretty nice". I'll have to remember to bug Patrick for a copy of the photo he took of me one day if just so I can remember the girl.

Patrick puts away his gear.