London Fashion Week is one of the most anticipated events in the global couture calendar. And starting today through February 18, Somerset House will host the hottest designers and showcase the chic new styles for the autumn/winter seasons ahead. Here is everything you need to know about the stylish five-day fashion spectacle:
Why it Matters
First held in 1984, London Fashion Week has quickly established itself as one of the four main fashion trade events around the world, along with New York, Paris and Milan. Held twice a year — in February and September — the majority of events take place at Somerset House. The courtyard plays host to the big fashion catwalk events, while the inside spaces exhibit collections by various designers. During the five-day event, more than 5,000 press and buyers attend — to place orders for hundreds of millions of dollars — along with some of the world’s most stylish celebrities. Last year’s visitors included Justin Timberlake, Salma Hayek, Harry Styles, Lana Del Rey and Victoria Beckham, among others. Immediately following this leading trade show is London Fashion Weekend (February 20 to 23), a retail-focused event with pop-up shops and beauty panels that is open to the general public.
There’s never a dull moment at London Fashion Week. Every day is crammed with designer catwalk shows in the courtyard — which are also streamed live on the event’s website — in addition to the Designer Showrooms (spread out across two floors) that are open from 9:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. (February 14 to 17) and until 6 p.m. on February 18. These inside spaces showcase more than 150 brands, so visitors can see new fashions first from designers including Georgia Hardinge, Esk, Mawi, Rayne, Olivia Von Halle, Cleo and Piers Atkinson — as well as more than 56 newcomers. But to complement the catwalk events and showcases, there are also other fashion-related events. Some focus on the actual purchasing of fashion, such as The Vintage Collections by the Clerkenwell Vintage Fashion Fair (February 16), while others hold more of a socializing angle with private invite-only statuses, including the cinematic A Night of Fashion Film, the culinary Anya Hindmarch Buyers Dinner, and, of course, the celebratory LFW Designers Party.
Where to Stay
Whether you’re an industry expert sitting front row at a show or just a fashionista with a shopping list for London Fashion Weekend, you should stay close to the action. Luckily, there’s an abundance of high-end hotels within easy distance of Somerset House. Two of the most alluringly decadent are the Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star The Savoy, a wonderfully-grand historic hotel located just along the River Thames from the main event, and the Four-Star One Aldwych, an ultra-chic yet classic property that virtually overlooks the event, making it the perfect vantage point for celebrity-spotting. Alternatively, there’s also the LFW-partnered The May Fair, which offers a range of discounts on stays around the event, including 20 percent off the best available rate for superior or deluxe rooms.
You can register for London Fashion Week on the British Fashion Council’s website, or you can book your place at London Fashion Weekend through its official website. Tickets for the latter event range from roughly $33 for basic access to roughly $212 for full access to catwalk shows, plus a tote bag full of gifts.
Photo Courtesy of The British Fashion Counsel