Monday, 20 September 2010

Keeping it real...

Just popping to the shops...
Whilst ambling idly along the streets of Covent Garden at a recent lunchtime, I came face to face with a rather shocking sight. It was well over six foot, skinny as a rake...and wearing a skin-tight leopard print leotard with towering ten inch platforms. And nothing else.

A model. The only humans other than Karl Lagerfield able to go out in broad daylight wearing a fancy dress costume without running the risk of being bundled into a van and carted off to the local loony bin.

The woman before me looked like another species. She was stunningly beautiful. There wasn't an ounce of fat on her. And she certainly hadn't inherited the childbearing hips and cellulite most females are dogged by.

I wouldn't have minded had I not just that moment wolfed down a huge burrito with extra cheese. My general feeling of inadequacy wasn't helped by the fact I was donning my frumpiest (yet comfiest) Primark cardie and a pair of flats - only heightening my insignificance in comparison to the raven-haired supermodel towering over me in her giant heels.

It got worse when she sat down and whipped out her lunch - which consisted of a sole celery stick, a few carrot batons and a miniscule piece of sushi. Not a single carbohydrate to be seen. I could almost feel the fat from my burrito oozing from every one of my pores.

Just as I was ready to take a nosedive from Waterloo bridge, yet another of these creatures came tottering towards me. Equally sky-high platforms. Equally skimpy outfit. Equal stunning beauty and effortless grace. In the words of Carrie Bradshaw, I felt like a cheap perfume in a room filled with Chanel.

I wanted to look away but I couldn't. I was transfixed by them, much the same way as I am when I witness something horrific or completely disgusting. I began to wish I'd just choked on that damn burrito.

The penny finally dropped when swarms of similarly easy-on-the-eye and fabulously dressed human twiglets suddenly descended upon Covent Garden. Pulling up in chauffeur driven, blacked-out Mercedes people carriers, they all headed in the same direction: to Somerset House.

London Fashion Week. The biggest event of the year on the capital's fashion calendar. Where the fashpack rub shoulders with the glitterati on the front row, watching endless amounts of beautiful, yet completely unrealistic women strutting along the runway with beautiful, yet completely unaffordable clothes draped over their slinky shoulders. 

All followed by glitzy invitation-only afterparties, where underdressed riff raff are turned away at the door and fashionistas sip champagne, chomp on canap├ęs and network with the a-listers of the fashion world. 

Whilst there’s nothing I love more than keeping up with the latest trends and having the odd rummage through charity shop bargain baskets for a ‘vintage gem’, I have issues with the fashion world being so inaccessible. After all, not only would each catwalk piece set an average lady back the best part of a month’s salary, but the designs are clearly only made for those blessed with a body like a bamboo stick.

Whilst paving the way for next season's trends, the glitz, glamour and wealth associated with events such as LFW is so far removed from the real world it would intimidate the hell out of the vast majority of us. After all, proximity to that level of beauty and style can do no good to a woman's self esteem. And despite relentless campaigning to remove 'size zero' models from the catwalk, the world of the runway is still no place for the curvier lady - with most labels still only catering for size 12 and under.

The entire ideology behind LFW is aspiration. The problem is, no matter how ambitious we are, 99% of women will never be the editor of Vogue, look like Kate Moss, or earn a million a year.

This year, LFW began to recognise that cutting edge fashion doesn't have to break the bank, by hosting high street shows from Topshop and Look Magazine. And, shock horror, one designer even used a size 14 model to showcase his designs.

Here's hoping they continue to push these boundaries next year - after all, breaking a few of the fashion rules really wouldn't hurt.

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