I'm so used to getting the hump when looking at the overly busy inbox these days that receiving an email from the team at Vauxhall Fashion Scout on the weekend was a particularly welcome treat. Despite the fact that one of my most important new years resolutions has been to try and get my work/life balance better this year, I have still been working my ass off , albeit a tighter version than 2011's- I have managed to stick to my new fitness regime thus far. I knew that I would have to do a watered down version of LFW this season or I would land myself in a tired heap and be scarily behind on other work commitments, so I didn't make the usual effort in applying for show tickets. But when I got an email inviting me to the Pam Hogg show there was no way I was going to miss it...there's a reason it is one of the busiest shows each fashion week.
I arrived a bit early at Freemason Hall, the venue for many of the most exciting shows during the fashionable week. I am one of those people that always get the train before the one I need to, just in case any unforeseen events occur that should affect the speed of my journey. Being a stickler for time should be a positive trait, but essentially it means I have probably spent the majority of my life waiting and getting huffy, largely because the majority of my friends are creative/music types who are renowned for their less than punctual nature. As I said before there was no way I would allow TFL to ruin my plans yet again, so I got to the venue with time to spare. As instructed on in my email I called the lovely girls from Vauxhall Fashion Scout who located me amongst the mass bustle of people queuing outside, thanks largely to my polarizing neon statement jumper. The lovely Kate and Laura took me the back way through to the catwalk and sat me down in the front row. I always feel rather unworthy of that situation, but I wasn't going to argue my premier seating position... I'm a plonker at times, but I'm not completely stupid!
I was due to meet a friend in Chelsea for a fashion party/catwalk show afterwards so was feeling a bit stressed as the clock ticker progressed considerably past the scheduled start time. To be honest it is rare for shows to start on time though, and in this case at least the staff were calm and polite, and less like the rough cattle herders I'd experienced at other shows desperately attempting to seat all the wannabe attendees. While more stylish but sweaty bodies were attempted to be slotted into the small gaps, some of the celebrities took advantage of the extended waiting time, positioning themselves in the centre of the catwalk for superior viewing potential, giving ample opportunity for the paps to get as many shots of them as possible. X Factor singer Alexandra Burke took particularly pleasure in lapping up the attention. Duran Duran's Nick Rhodes opted for the cooler, 'I don't need press' approach, sitting calmly in the front row naturally emanating pure X factor. Other celebrities in attendance included the 'worlds first supermodel' Janice Dickinson and Tolula Adeyemi, as well as the colourful fashion faces you see pop up at every show and party.
Finally the chaos died down and the room looked in some sort of order... the lights dimmed. After a brief pause a twangy guitar sound filled the room to introduce a model with a red, black and white graphic latex dress, with a full swishing skirt, a strong look completed by a coned head piece. After a similar skirted look which is by now accompanied by a country violin/fiddle and an 'unusual' vocal, Pam Hogg's trademark jumpsuits are now on display - all with incredible statement head gear. Just under three minutes in we see a model of a short stature sporting a blackened uni-brow contrasted against a platinum quiff which popped out from her over sized monochrome bonnet. It is none other than diminutive actress Jaime Winstone, who despite her less than model stats looked great on the catwalk, with just the right amount of attitude and rebellion to sport Hogg's style with aplomb.
Okay, so admittedly the nude/sheer bodysuits are not every day wear for us normal folk - unless you wish to cause traffic accidents, run the risk of getting arrested, catch a cold, give your parents a heart attack.... and potentially cause people to vomit if your body is not in the nick required for such daring attire, like myself. However, they should be looked at with wonder. The way they show everything, but nothing at the same time is a major design feat. On many of the body stockings the modesty stripes, strips and opaque blocks are situated just so that everything is exposed apart from the naughty bits, the clever shapes and lines also enhancing or streamlining the body. But of course it wouldn't feel right not to see a few boobs and bottom cheeks in one of the weeks notoriously risque shows.
There was also a mass of metallics used during the show, as well as some striking full skirted dresses, we saw some catsuits which transformed the models into some sort of sci- fi warriors albeit slightly confused about what era they had found themselves in during time travel, sporting the contrasting old fashioned bonnets.
The garment which appeared to receive the most coos was a heavily embellished rose gold dress, which had stunning blush chiffon detailing on the sleeves matching a skirt which trailed off the back romantically. Despite the glamorous and slightly ethereal nature it was still given a glam rock edge by the block gold platform shoes. Another statement look which seemed to be a odds with the majority of the collection was an absolutely stunning cream dress, which whispered virginal bride, with an empire line recalling Jane Austen era, the sheer back adding a bit of 'the naughty' with the collar giving it a majestic, regal edge.
From the images displayed in this post you don't need me to tell you that a Pam Hogg show is fun, but particular humour was instilled via her use of fur - more than a few smiles were raised when a model strutted sporting fur on her pubic area - merkin style. I am such a safe dresser that I react to shows of this manner as theatre and entertainment and almost as a voyeur... admiring those daredevils willing to go where I never could. Despite the out- there, gutsy, sexy, rebellious looks, the craftsmanship and skill of the designer and her makers should not be ignored . The fit and construction of the pieces warrants applause just as much as the spectacle of the show... and applause is what it got in abundance, as well as some enthusiastic woops from behind me - a gaggle of people clearly their to show support for the strutting Ms Winstone.
For me fashion week should be about variation and contrast. Yes I want to see the pieces that I can translate from the catwalk and purchase through the high street versions and interpretations, but I also want to get swept away to extravagant and even silly destinations, where the clothes are incredible but completely unimaginable in an every day scenario... merely acting as means of showcasing the designers flair and extreme imagination. I would normally say that the Pam Hogg show fell into 'the look, but not wear' category ... but since my recent trip to Atsuko Kudo, I would dare to say that I night be rather partial to one of Ms Hoggs latex numbers...Let's just say if I was a Jessie J, Paloma Faith, Nick Minaj type I would be getting my stylist to ring studio Hogg immediately!