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Watching the Watchers

24 September, 2013

Written by Fashion Fox in London Fashion Week Diaries


Suzy Menkes commented at the last round of fashion weeks about the plethora poseurs who now flock around the big four fashion weeks as being, “the cattle market of show-off people waiting to be chosen”. It wasn’t really until London Fashion Week decamped from the National History Museum that I became aware of the poseurs. London Fashion Week was much more of an industry gathering then than the circus it has become. Despite the rain and cold weather there were those who gathered to loiter at the entrance to fashion week what seemed to be all day long waiting to be photographed or noticed. At first you think they are just from another publication or website but as the days passed I had the sneaking feeling that the came to be seen, pose and photographed to document their own fantastical belief that they are “fashion”

Students or young interns snap a moderately fashionable girl

In truth I don’t mind the poseurs so much as the hoards of paparazzi that lurk within the arched entrance to Somerset House and just before the main tent. There have always been interns and juniors running around fashion week asking to photograph you or more often some detail of your outfit, your bag your shoes for a paper or trending magazine, fair enough I’ve never minded, “snap, snap” and off they go. When Somerset House became the venue with a new dark brooding “big top” at the heart of it and now with no irony whatsoever a tent that is was a giant mirrored, angular blob, London Fashion Week exploded in terms of its own celebrity status, half of Shoreditch seemed to descend mostly in the capacity of student or intern to run around with moderately priced digital cameras to do something for uni or the online part of the publication that was exploiting them for their unpaid time. They were sweet, a little gauche and green as a fresh cucumber, but all very nice and genuinely having a good time.

Fast forward to LFW 2013 and the there has been a double population explosion. Paparazzi have descended upon Somerset House, big burley boys with their perversely long lenses hunting down fodder to appease hungry picture editors. The difference between the young intern/blogger photographers and these hulking great photographic-borg men is that as shy and gauche as those little boys and girls were they did have an inkling about fashion. These behemoths don’t have a clue, they see a freak coming towards them ad they descend upon them like birds of prey, snapping them up and the more they snap the more they come, and in ever more ridiculous garb. Of course there have always been extreme stylists to add colour to London the wonderful Leigh Bowery of course and more recently my friend the performance artist Pandemonia Panacea and club host and style subversive Daniel Lissmore. Their looks are their life, but these Fashion Week peacocks seem to be highly seasonable birds.

Everyone is a photographer. The quiff guy was standing there every day...does he have a job let alone a fashion job?

Around them everyone is at it, iphones, smart phones raised, friends photographing each other echoing the professionals. I am surrounded by an orgy of narcism. I have promised a few “street style” shots for another website, I have to admit I’m not that into it at all, I make a lame effort and it turns out that my subject has been been given an assignment by her university to photography journalists and bloggers and to inveigle their way into catwalk shows despite having no tickets, which explains why the security men are grumpier than usual.

Heels, camera, action, this woman is both the hunter and the hunted

Street-style is big business it seems made fashionable by The Sartolist and his photo-blog, now that celebrity has almost consumed itself in the UK gorging itself on one final TV burp with “here come the Russians”, the papers have found a new form of prey, the fashion peacock, an increasingly common bird, at some point this co-dependent relationship is doomed to turn sour. The paparazzi with find new subject matter that is more interesting and lucrative to snap up and the little birds will only have the mirrored ten to reflect their costumed glory.

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Watching the Watchers

streetstyle, street style, street style photography, paparazzi, press photographers, daniel lissmore, pandemonia panacea, London Fashion Week, lfw, SS14, fashion interns, bloggers, fashion bloggers, fashion photography

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