Designers, models and fashion magazine editors from around the world descend on London twice a year for the world renowned London Fashion Week. If you’re planning to take a fashion inspired holiday to the style capital and release your inner fashionista, our beginner’s guide shows you how.
When to Go
London Fashion Week is held twice a year, with Autumn/Winter collections show in February and Spring/Summer collections are shown in September. During the festival, catwalk shows are held throughout the day at various locations but the big name designers usually show their collections in the evening (and this is when you’re most likely to see the celebs as they attend the shows!) You’ll be able to find the schedule for London Fashion Week on the event website, so tailor your trip around which collections and designers interest you.
Where is it?
The main location for London Fashion Week is Somerset House, located on the Strand, overlooking the Thames but many designers often show their collections “off-site” at various locations around London. This year for example, The Topshop show was at the Tate Modern. It’s probably best to stay around Somerset House as this is where all the action is but if you want to get a glimpse of a celeb or do a bit of sightseeing then check out some of the off-site locations. You’ll find most of these included the LFW website.
Who Can Attend?
Unfortunately, unless you’ve been invited to a show you can’t buy tickets to London Fashion Week. It’s only press, buyers and bloggers who can register for tickets. If you just want to soak up the LFW experience however, anyone can visit Somerset House and wander around the courtyard during London Fashion Week. In fact, many people simply turn up dressed in their finest, to be photographed by the assortment of magazine, newspaper and blog photographers who frequent the courtyard space. Don’t let such restrictions dampen your LFW inspired holiday as you can still have fun wandering around Somerset House and you might even see some celebs. This year, popular UK reality show Made in Chelsea were filming at fashion week and the stars could be seen sipping coffee in the courtyard in between breaks.
Where to Stay
If you want to live like a fashion magazine editor during London Fashion Week, then look no further than London’s top hotels. World renowned, The May Fair hotel is the official hotel partner of London Fashion Week and sees editors of the world’s top fashion magazines bed down for their beauty sleep. Its most fashionable room is the Shiaperelli suite, inspired by the famously eclectic designer Elsa Shiaperelli. You’ll also see famous fashionista’s heading back to The Connaught and The Berkeley hotels for the famed, London Fashion Week after parties.
If your budget is more H&M than D&G but you still want to add a touch of style to your stay, there’s a host of reasonably priced boutique hotels available in London. Stylotel in Paddington is located within a pretty, whitewashed, terraced building. Inside, trendy minimalist rooms with glass panel features are the perfect accompaniment to a fashion inspired getaway. Similarly, the stylish monochrome interior of Base2Stay in uber stylish Kensington looks as though it’s come straight from the pages of Architectural Digest. This hidden gem is bound to provide some much needed rest after a day wandering around fashion shows.
What to Visit
Of course, London Fashion Week isn’t the only highlight of this glamorous city. Topping the list of fashion inspired sightseeing is the Victoria and Albert Museum. Known for its art and design collections, the museum often hosts fashion inspired exhibitions showcasing some of the world’s most famous designers or iconic dresses from film and TV stars. The highlight is its permanent exhibition of clothing through the ages, from the 18th century to the present. The changing styles are truly amazing to see.
A fashion inspired holiday in London isn’t complete without a visit to one of the city’s famed shopping destinations. Iconic Oxford Street hosts a huge variety of high street shops, including the flagship Topshop store. Dedicated shoppers start from one end and make their way to the other to ensure they see every shop on offer.
Be warned however, this is tiring (and expensive) work! Bargain hunters and lovers of one-off finds should head to the Nottinghill markets. Known for their eclectic wares these markets are frequented by locals and tourists alike looking for something unique.
If you want to experience the finer things in life, the luxury department stores of Harvey Nichols and Harrods are a must-see. Whether you can afford the luxury goods or not, wandering through the gilded rooms of designer bags and exotic food is a magical experience. Also worth a visit is the exclusive Bond Street, home of designer brands and luxury hotels frequented by the rich and famous. If you’re looking more for the Royal treatment, be sure to check out the Top 10 Royal Attractions in London.
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Author bio: Fashion obsessed Sarah Murray had the privilege of attending the A/W2013 London Fashion Week and mixed with the fashion posse, saw some shows and was generally star-struck. According to her, it was a dream come true!