I made my first appearance at London Fashion Week on Friday – not in a professional capacity but as a very interested spectator.
We had been out to dinner earlier that week with an Aussie friend from Hong Kong who is married to Heidi - the Bide of Sass & Bide – and when he asked if anyone fancied going to their show I couldn’t get the “Me, me, choose me” out of my mouth fast enough.
Anyway, it is quite an experience. Just looking at the people standing in the queue is worth a trip to Covent Garden itself. And then there’s the show…
Held in a circular rehearsal room in the Royal Opera House draped in white muslin fabric, it is like walking into a cave (or a very feminine boxing ring).
The fashion photographers are grouped in one section with huge cameras, jostling for position, drag queen Jodie Harsh unmissable sitting in the front row a couple of seats down from rugby player Danny Cipriani, buyers and journalists looking very serious with pen and paper at hand.
It’s packed, standing room only – and then the music starts. Loud, big bass beats as the first model appears...
They’re much taller, younger and thinner than I’d imagined and their features are more striking. Watching them, in their 4 inch heels was like watching a circle of beautiful baby giraffes cautiously learning to walk.
And then in 10 minutes, it’s all over. Heidi and her partner Sarah-Jane make a very brief appearance, the crowd quickly disperse and we go back home to see our children before they go to bed.
Afterwards, I realise I have been so busy trying to take it all in that I hardly remember the clothes, although I have seen them since and they are spectacular. And – what is far more important – the fashion press think so too.
Which is I guess is the whole point of this rather extraordinary but utterly fascinating ritual...