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Inside a London Fashion Week party
London Fashion Week is about more than just the shows. When the final model teeters from the catwalk each day, designers, buyers, fashion journalists and celebrities come out to play at what will be some of London's most glamorous, hedonistic parties.
Tales filter back of champagne rivers, risqué entertainment and debauched celebs. But are the rumours true? What really goes on at a London Fashion Week party? We speak to a designer, a DJ, a stylist, an event organiser and a fashion PR to get the low-down on what the fashion pack will be doing after dark this Fashion Week.
I've DJ'd at numerous London Fashion Week parties including Armani and Matthew Williamson for H&M, Moët & Chandon with Jefferson Hack and Giles Deacon, House of Blue Eyes and Nicola De Main.
Fashion Week parties are all about having a really good time. In London, they get pretty wild compared to Paris or New York which are a bit more posed and business-like. London fashionistas want to be debauched, they want to dance and show off a little.
Music at a fashion week party is sexy and cool, usually rock 'n' roll or some dark beats and always featuring the hottest underground artists of the moment. Key acts to listen out for this season will be Jessie Ware, Azelia Banks, Disclosure, Grimes, Haim, Peace, Bondax and Allunageorge.
A Moët party one year was in an abandoned chateau with a huge carousel and 20ft-high swing on which a certain famed British model kept swinging upon knicker-less, much to the delight of the fashion press.
When I DJ'd for House of Blue Eyes, Jonny wanted a full on sleazy rock 'n' roll/ S&M vibe. There were loads of leather and latex, strippers, drag queens and famous rock band guitarists, all running round covered in glitter and not much else. Music was all glam rock and sleaze: Mötley Crüe, Primal Scream etc.
I have so many naughty, debauched stories, but I don't kiss and tell...
THE PARTY ORGANISER
Inca has thrown events for Vivienne Westwood, Prada, Roberto Cavalli, Nicole Fahri, Acne and Victoria Beckham, among others.
Designers come to us with every kind of request known to man! We've had requests for all-white food and drink, an invisible event entrance and 45 white corgis.
For the Roberto Cavalli London Fashion Week party in 2011, we transformed the Battersea Power Station into the crazy Cavalli world, with the brief 'more is more'. There was not one piece of solid colour anywhere; everything was covered in print. The entrance was decorated in leopard print and inside there were chaise longues, chandeliers and giant platters of fruit. There were 2000 guests and Kelis performed with raunchy cabaret act The Box. People were dancing on tables and things got raucous!
The number of people needed to create a Fashion Week party depends hugely on the scope of the event. It can be anything from one to 300 people. We have a core management team that work with the creative; from set and lighting designers, to florists and musicians.
Without a doubt, Philip Treacy's after party will be the hottest ticket this London Fashion Week. It's the first time he's shown a collection in London for more than 10 years, so anyone who is anyone will want to celebrate.
I like it when designers think out of the box, like Anya Hindmarch who showed her S/S2012 collection at a disused tube station. PPQ always throw a good party - the last one I went to was in the Millbank Tower with incredible views across London.
At Stella McCartney's London comeback eveningwear show, the models all started dancing on the tables, flash mob Thriller style. I went to a Moët London Fashion Week party and they had an actual champagne fountain, I felt as though I was in an 80s movie! But the best fashion party I've ever been to was Alexander Wang's New York Fashion Week party at a pier out by the docks. It was a huge frat-style 90s rave; there were glow sticks, beer pong, vodka jelly shots, blow up dolls and A-listers everywhere you turned. That party is going down in history.
I think it's important to feel like you 'look the part' at a fashion week party, whatever that part is. Kate Moss stood out in her cut-out Stella McCartney dress and I'm always impressed by what Edie Campbell and Irina Lazareanu wear. I don't like it when people look too styled or put together.
At this year's London fashion Week parties you can expect to see lots of layering and outfit changes as it may suddenly pour with rain. I predict cocktail dresses with biker jackets and there's a huge ghetto trend going on at the moment so I think there will be a few high top trainers and skater skirts around. And, as always, statement lipstick!
The main aim of throwing a Fashion Week party is to encapsulate what your brand is about and be an explosion of that. Our PR agency BLOW have organised an after party for our exhibition at London Fashion. You can expect 90s R&B, sexy babes and dancing.
The ideal London Fashion Week party guests are eccentrics who aren't afraid to shake their thing. London does eccentric so well!
Charlie Le Mindu's after show party a couple of seasons ago was pretty epic. The mixture of Red Bull, babes and fashion was legend. The best parties are the ones which aren't full of the pretentious side of fashion, and are about celebrating fun times and unusual collaborations.
I think London Fashion Week parties are pretty unique in that you can pretty much wear or do whatever you want and be whoever you want to be.
ASOS, Marios Schwab
As part of London Fashion Week, ASOS is hosting the launch for the next ASOS Inc. collaboration with Marios Schwab - his debut lingerie collection, Kallisti. The launch will be at Forever Crazy, a pop-up auditorium on the South Bank to celebrate sixty years of France's iconic cabaret show, Crazy Horse. There will be custom-made cocktails by Belvedere, containing apple juice, as apples feature heavily behind the mythological Greek meaning of Kallisti, and all the performers will wear pieces from the collection.
Ideally, guests at a London Fashion Week party will include fashion editors, writers and stylists, who will place your product, or report on it, in the leading fashion media. Credible bloggers have featured more in recent years, as their output is very accessible and helps reach an extended market.
Celebrities who are a good match for the brand's profile help to drive follow-up coverage in the party pages of the mainstream media. Last season, Stella McCartney threw a party that got lots of coverage, with people like Rihanna in attendance and Alexa Chung taking part in the magician's act.
Models are an omnipresent feature of LFW and product looks great on them, so dressing them for an event is always a winner.
Anyone who's putting on a party during London Fashion Week really does want you to have a good time. Just keep in mind when you're downing the cocktails that you may have to see everyone there again!
London Fashion Week runs from Sept 14th-18th