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After a year and a half of on-and-off restrictions, London Fashion Week is back this September in a hybrid format that will encompass physical and digital shows and events. Things will be (almost) back to normal, with big-hitters like Richard Quinn, Erdem, Simone Rocha and Roksanda all holding in-person shows.
This season, the names to look out for include Nensi Dojaka (beloved of Bella Hadid and Emma Corrin, the designer recently won the LVMH prize) and Harris Reed, who'll be making his first LFW catwalk appearance.
Happily, all this action isn't just reserved for fashion editors. This season, some of the best LFW events and shows are open to the public, both physically and online.
Make sure you check out the Phoebe English installation at the British Library, on from the September 17 to 24 (English is a leading light in the British fashion industry and volunteered to make PPE during the pandemic).
Cult Tokyo-based label TOGA have also opened their presentation on Monday 20 September to the public, while countless designers - Temperley, Preen by Thornton Bregazzi, Vivienne Westwood and Matty Bovan included - are holding their shows online, so anyone can tune in.
Of course, then there are the parties and off-schedule events to consider, as well as the limited-edition collabs, plus the best restaurants and bars to be seen at. Phew. Relax, though, in the knowledge that we've got your to-do list covered.
When Is London Fashion Week?
London Fashion Week takes place twice a year in February and September, showcasing over 250 designers to a global audience of influential media and retailers. This season, fashion week is taking place from September 17 to 21, 2021. For more info on the schedule head to the LFW website.
What Else Is Going On?
There’s plenty of action planned alongside the catwalk spectacles. Tune in to the BFC Fashion Forum Podcast, which is hosting guests including Mary Katrantzou and Olubiyi Thomas, or pick from playlists curated by the likes of Michael Halpern and Jayda G to provide the soundtrack to your week.
The British Fashion Council are also running the LFW City-Wide Celebration programme of events, to mark the cultural re-opening of London. There are plenty of opportunities - like free gifts from Rixo, limited edition deals at Pandora and late-night openings at Jimmy Choo - to get in on, so check the schedule and get planning.
The Places To Be Seen:
Whether you're an editor or influencer with a front row seat, or just a fashion lover looking to get involved, there are certain hot tickets which are bound to be popular with the style set. Here's our guide for what not to miss.
1) The TikTok Show Space
TikTok is teaming up with NEWGEN (a BFC initiative that supports the very best emerging talent) to create a unique show space at the Old Selfridges Hotel, to create a platform for up-and-coming designers as they make their LFW debuts.
The space will also host bespoke in-person and in-app events. Henry Holland will chair The TikTok Style Files, an exclusive LIVE series, while TikTok fashion creators including Rikki Anshu, Violet Ezedimora and Tega Alexander will be doing TikTok takeovers on each day of LFW.
When: From September 17
Where: The Old Selfridges Hotel, 1 Orchard St, W1H 6HJ
2) Dior Journée Savoir Faire
Ever fancied delving deep into the know-how of one of the world's most famous fashion houses? Of course you have. Now, you've got the chance to do just that, through
Dior Journée Savoir Faire: a retail animation that showcases the story of the brand and its pieces.
Artisans from the Paris atelier will be explaining the craftsmanship of the iconic Lady Dior, Bar Jacket, Haute Couture and Demi Measure suit tailoring on September 15, 16 and 17 at Dior's flagship store on New Bond Street.
You'll also definitely want to stop by the new, in-store Dior café, for possibly the chicest latte you've ever had in your life.
When: September 15-17 , 10am-7pm
Where: Christian Dior, 160-162 New Bond Street, W1S 2UE
3) Mulberry x Richard Malone
Designer Richard Malone has collaborated with Mulberry to reimagine the iconic Bayswater and Darley bags to mark this heritage British brand's 50th anniversary.
When the collection launches on 20 September, Mulberry will be showcasing the designs at their flagship Regent Street Store, with drinks and exclusive gifts thrown in.
We'll also treat you to a top insider tip: if you mention London Fashion Week City Wide Celebration to store staff, you'll be presented with an exclusive signed programme from Richard Malone's London Fashion Week show.
When: September 20, 10am-8pm
Where: Mulberry, 100 Regent Street, W1B 5SR
4) Bulgari Accessories Preview
At this exclusive preview of luxury Italian designer Bulgari's AW21 accessories collection, you'll have the chance to lust after Serpenti bags and sumptuous silky scarves at the brand's Sloane Street shop.
As if that weren't enough, fashion illustrator Poppy Waddilove will be on hand to create your own bespoke Bulgari artwork in her signature, dream-like style.
When: September 17, 1pm-6pm
Where: Bulgari, 177-178 Sloane Street, SW1X 9QL
5) Brora's Restitching Workshops
Is it just us, or is there nothing more annoying than getting a hole in a favourite cashmere jumper? Thankfully, British brand Brora is on hand to help with a pair of genius new ‘Stitch it Don’t Ditch it!’ workshops, run by whizz seamstress Shelley Zetuni from Sewingsmith.
Bring along any well-loved Brora jumpers, cardigans that have been oh-too-popular with moth or socks that have seen better days to one of these two sessions, and watch and learn as Shelley patches them up.
Shelley will be on hand throughout to talk you through your repairs and teach her magical technique. Think darning, but for the fashion forward.
When: September 18, 12pm
Where: Brora Marylebone, 81 Marylebone High Street, W1U 4QJ
When: September 21, 12pm
Where: Brora Sloane Street, 6 Symons St, SW3 2TJ
The Places To Refuel
Every LFW-goer needs to eat properly occasionally, even if most lunches are hastily grabbed between shows in the middle of a hectic schedule. It's worth carving out some more time for yourself to visit these catwalk-ready cafés, however - and you might spot some fashionable faces over your starter.
1) Marchesi 1824 by Prada
Prada’s Milan patisserie is Instagram catnip, upholstered in plush green fabrics, with picture-perfect cakes, panettone and pastel-coloured candy. You're bound to see at least one influencer snapping away when you pop in and it's also next door to Celine, so... see you there?
2) The Tiffany Blue Box Café at Harrods
Nothing could really scream high tea better than The Tiffany Blue Box Café in Harrods, Knightsbridge.
Located on the Lower Ground Floor of one of the world's most famous shopping havens, this café is true to its name: sitting here is a bit like being nestled in a giant version of one of the brand's signature, duck-egg blue boxes.
Those who've missed out on jet-setting this summer might also like to know that the décor mirrors that of the famous Blue Box Café in the Tiffany flagship store on Fifth Avenue. So this way, you're getting a little slice of New York (as well as a not-so-little slice of cake) in London.
3) The Connaught Patisserie
Everything at The Connaught Patisserie, from the walls to the lamps, the chairs and even the takeaway cups, is tinged in the most uplifting millennial pink imaginable - so if you're in need of a pick-me-up, nothing else will do.
The signature Connaughty Hound is the most desirable dog in Mayfair, given that he's made from sublime chocolate hazelnut cake. If you're toting one of these on the way to a show, prepare for some envious looks.
The Way To Prep
Don't be fooled into thinking you need a brand new wardrobe of designer labels to make your mark at LFW.
Most editors keep it classic in trusty staples: the blazer that goes with everything, a statement bag that shows they understand (and set) the trends, plus boots or slides that will take them from show to show. So you don't need to prep by going shopping (especially since the launch of Second Hand September).
As for beauty prep, you'll likely see editors in FaceGym, having a signature 'face workout' to make sure they look fresh as a daisy at both in-person meets and on Zoom. DryBy is always a popular choice for fashion folk looking to sneak in a quick, time-saving blow-dry, while the nails of the rich and famous are kept freshly painted by manicurist-to-know, Harriet Westmoreland.
The Way To Get Around
Public transport, though great, isn't so fun in a pair of Balenciaga 'knife' heels. And especially when you've got an eight show per day kind of schedule, with venue changes in between. As such, most editors push the boat out with a private car to see them through London Fashion Week. If you're going to be 'extra' about your travel plans, now is surely the time.
Keen to reduce our ecological impact when hopping from show to show, we'll be driving around with premium electric performance car brand Polestar, in particular their first fully electric car the Polestar 2.
With all the luxury of your standard premium car (we're talking 19-inch wheels, frameless mirrors, embossed textile upholstery in a vegan material, eight speakers, we could go on), but with the added bonus of not relying on harmful fossil fuels, we wonder how long it will be until every editor is being chauffeured in one?
Now you know how to London Fashion Week like an ELLE editor, we guess we'll see you at the shows.
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