Fashion correspondent Abi Buller writes:
Who could have predicted the sudden cool-factor of industrial spaces, carparks and rooftops?
If you happened to be passing through the streets of Soho in mid-September, you may have noticed a particularly fashionable clan of VIPs, models and attaches hoarding their way into and around the NCP carpark on Brewer Street for this season’s London Fashion Week. The week’s celebratory atmosphere was infectious and sprawled itself across Golden Square and Carnaby Street, feeding it through to a wider audience. Although you could argue it was time for an update from the more traditional setup of its previous years in Somerset House, this particular choice of location may well have come as a surprise to fashion followers.
Formerly utilized by The Vinyl Factory as an exhibition space by illustrator and visual artist Quentin Jones, as well as an immersive technology focused installation by Ryoji Ikeda, Brewer Street car park’s prime Soho location certainly created a buzz when the capital’s biggest fashion event popped up there. It certainly seemed to fit in with London’s reputation for providing an edginess and unexpectedness on the fashion scene. Further across the capital, the trend for alternative locations and an emphasis on unexpected space certainly seems to be one that’s catching on. With zeitgeists across the city relishing these new found ‘hot spots’, it can often be hard to keep a track of what’s going down in the underground bars, who’s at the top of rooftop cinemas, and which carparks are being scrubbed up for a new cultural activity these days. With this in mind, I thought I would provide a brief overview of some of the recent events worthy of ‘location envy’:
i. LFW (Brewer St Car Park)-
Of Course top of the list is the recent stylisation of this particular NCP, which held around 25 shows and fashion presentations throughout London Fashion Week. It is thought this location was chosen because of its prime location in the hub of London’s thriving fashion centre.
ii. LFWeekend (Saatchi Gallery)-
In addition to the main event, the British Fashion Council hosted London’s Fashion Weekend which allowed members of the public to gain access to discounted designer shopping, catwalk shows and industry talks. In keeping with the theme of change, this element of the event also moved away from Somerset House into the large open rooms of the Saatchi Gallery.
iii. Anya Hindmarch Carpark pop-up (Selfridges)-
Preparing for their London Fashion Week show wasn’t the only challenge for brand Anya Hindmarch as they also created a pop-up shop in Selfridges carpark complete with hundreds of traffic cones, a photobooth and personalisable high-vis jackets – very cool.
iv. Storeys (White City)-
When the BBC move buildings and their multi-storey carpark is left vacant, what better use than a rooftop haven complete with daybeds, bars serving hot cocktails, and an array of international food options on offer?
v. Rooftop Cinema Club-
With venues across various locations in the city including Peckham, Shoreditch, Stratford and Kensington, rooftop cinema club’s offering certainly make for some memorable film nights.
vi. Hyde Park cinema-
For something more “grounded”, another alternative cinema location was Hyde Park’s outdoor film screenings, which encouraged viewers to furnish themselves with blankets, set up deck chairs and picnic (while the summer lasted).
vii. Central & Co (Soho)-
With an experimental cocktail menu and quirky decor, it’s only natural that this bar is on the lower ground, beneath the Central and Co restaurant. Part of the Cocktail Trading Co, this bar serves everything from cocktails served in snow globes, to flavour combinations including pistachio ice cream and chocolate.
viii. Cahoots (Soho)-
Another underground based gem, this cocktail bar/club has taken inspiration from the familiarity of the London underground. It’s even complete with a Cahoots version of The Evening Standard.
Some events to look out for….
ix. Mirrors Festival (Hackney)
Hackney based alternative music festival is making its debut on October 31st with a lineup including Rhye and The Wytches. One of the most alternative elements of the event is also the idea that is spread across multiple Hackney venues including St John at Hackney, and Hackney Road Chapel.
x. Southbank Christmas Markets-
A fond favourite of Londoners and visitors to the capital, Southbank’s transformation into riverside christmas cheer is the place to go for mulled wine, festive foods, and unique gifts. Opening November 11th, this is certainly the place to go if you’re feeling ready for the holiday season.