When British Vogue first announced an upcoming fashion festival in 2012 instantly knew I was going to attend. After years of New Yorkers bragging about Fashion U hosted by Condé Nast sibling Teen Vogue, Londoners were finally getting something to call our own. Priced at a stiff £75 per half day, the two-day extravaganza could have had a fashion die-hard shelling out £300 to experience it all. Instead, I skimmed for one day worth of sessions and then immediately after started to agonize over the “perfect outfit”. (You know the one, the one that’s in between “I’m an East Londoner” and “I buy too much Topshop”).
On the day, I gathered my Mark II and lenses into a neon yellow, PVC bag, chucked on matching T-straps and ran out the door. After an hour of blindly tracking through Knightsbridge, somewhere after Harrods and the plush, storied apartments, I ended up at The Royal Geographical Society. The day started with a modest breakfast in the Vogue café, a Chanel photo shoot just off the corridor and then the first talk. Underestimating the crowds, I arrived at the room reserved for the Diane von Furstenberg talk and the bottom level was already packed. Despite this my friend and I managed to make our way to the second level.
Fashion lessons, Tom Ford and networking
I can confidently say that the best talk of this entire day (debatingly the entire event) took place during the afternoon session. I’m sure it was nearly impossible to find a seat as we all waited. I girlishly befriended my neighbor and squeeled with her over our shared excitement, if anyone could make a theater room of grown women feel like Directioners at a 1Direction concert in the O2 .
Editor-in-Chief Alexandra Shulman walked on to the platform and introduced him and the doors opened. Somewhat cinematically, Tom Ford made his way into the room and met Shulman on stage. We were a rambunctious bunch so the applause and screaming lasted a near 10 minutes and probably would have went on longer if it was solely up to us. For nearly two hours we listened to Tom speak on everything from A Single Man to his obsession with taking long baths. Of course, eventually it ended and we were forced to go home and ticket prices and blisters aside, it was ultimately an amazing learning experience, which I’m sure, was British Vogue’s intention. Two years down the road not much about this aesthetic has changed. The, now, annual festival has moved to the Southbank Centre and charges a reduced fee of £40 per session and as of last month hosted talks with Phoebe Philo, Naomi Campbell, Valentino, and Vogue Italia’s Franca Sozzani. If you are given the opportunity to attend next spring, by all means do so; It’s beneficial for networking, participating in workshops and having fun.
For all of you who could not attend any of the previous festivals British Vogue has many of the talks archived here.
Angelina Todd, student at Central Saint Martins.