We’re still buzzing after our fashion filled weekend at the Vogue Festival 2013. With talks from the likes of Paul Smith, Victoria Beckham, Susie Lau and Donatella Versace – it’s safe to say that there was something for every fashionista at the Southbank Centre this weekend.
One of the most fun filled talks of the weekend came from the brilliant pairing of Sir Paul Smith and firm fashion favourite Alexa Chung. Paul exuded flamboyant confidence on stage and every anecdotal and inspiring answer was paired with an equally brilliant wave of the arm or kick of the leg. From discussing finding his initial inspiration from ‘kids from the art school in the pub talking about Andy Warhol’ to nearly dropping his flies after discussing his morning swimwear choices, it was clear that Paul Smith is quite the character. Some of his better words of advice?
‘Every day is a new beginning.’
‘Be interested and interesting.’
‘Don’t dress for fashion, dress for yourself.’
‘Nobody cares how good you used to be.’
However, what truly came across in Smith’s discussion was his strong belief in the better nature of people. His focus on his career was important but his focus on the human values of love and respect made his talk truly engaging and elevated him to a level about that of simply a designer. As Smith put it himself, ‘if you have love in your life that’s a good way about not worrying what goes on outside’.
If the talks weren’t already enough to get your trendy tastebuds tingling then the other offerings at the Southbank Centre venue sure would be. From the Braid Bar to the Chanel infused Vogue Cover Shoot there was plenty on offer for the fashion fuelled festival goer.
We personally loved the set up of the Vogue Shop, which seemed continuously busy throughout the event. A word of advice for those attending next year, take a peek at what you want to purchase on the Vogue website prior to the event and then sneak along to the Vogue Shop during some of the busier talks you’re not attending.
Another talk that we loved was the ‘Mad About the Girl’ discussion between power bloggers Susie Lau, Anna Dello Russo and Garance Dore. Lau spoke with an articulated intelligence that highlighted just how far she’d come since the days of being ‘just a girl in her bedroom in Finchley’ whilst discussing how she tried to show people that fashion was not an ‘intimidating thing’.
Her eclectic neon and pattern mixed outfit was catching the eye of those both in the festival and in the surrounding area (as we were lucky enough to be witness to earlier in the day).
The mix match of styles between the three women was clearly apparent, but what united them was their love of fashion and their wish to share it with each other. Admittedly preconceptions were challenged and Anna came across as a warm and entertaining character imploring the audience to ‘please enjoy fashion’. All in all the panel discussion was an entertaining experience and one that seemed thoroughly enjoyed by all in attendance.
Sunday’s discussions were no different and we were treated to an eye opening and brilliantly educational discussion from some of fashion’s most successful business people. Jonathan Akeroyd of McQueen, Anya Hindmarch, Christopher Kane and Tamara Mellon all discussed their success and how they had come about it whilst answering some brilliant questions on what defines a British brand. One sentiment that came across clearly from all involved was summarised by Tamara in one statement, ‘a product is about emotional connection, my biggest lesson was always trusting my gut’.
From the discussion of the sad passing of fashion maverick Lee McQueen to the likening of your investors as family by Anya Hindmarch – the importance of the emotions and relationships that build the foundations of a thriving fashion empire were made clear by those who had risen to the top.
Mario Testino also gave a fantastic talk during Sunday’s event during which he discussed the importance of taking your time. He had no money in the bank for 10 years, but that did not discourage him. In time he was working with his favourite model, Kate Moss, and even had the opportunity to shoot his most memorable client, Princess Diana. Born in Peru and travelling constantly, never settling down for more than 4 days, Mario admitted he was a control freak but that it was important to take advice from others. He stated, at the end of the day ‘it’s my name that is on the image, and I would be stupid not to listen to good ideas’. Like many others that featured over the weekend he spoke of the importance of being unique. He doesn’t believe in following trends but does believe in figuring out ‘who you are’ and ‘going the other way’.
The Vogue Festival 2013 proved to be an eye opening experience as well as a thoroughly enjoyable one. Seeing and hearing first hand from some of fashion’s finest, it became apparently that the preconceptions held about many in the industry aren’t entirely true. Perhaps the biggest fabrication in fashion doesn’t lie within the clothing but the negatively reinforced expectation of ego and arrogance in the business. A weekend like this gave those who are often on the outside a chance to look in and see the people behind the perceptions – people with passion and integrity.
To quote Paul Smith, ‘people have to realise we’re all on this earth and we’re all equal’!