Tomorrow, London Fashion Week February 2011 begins.
Today, and I learned this the hard way last year when I couldn't be assed to do this, I went for the 12:00 Photographer's Accreditation pass and the ritual of marking one's territory in the Pit.
Apart from when I'm home with my husband and (male) cat, these days I mostly inhabit a world of women. So the sea of testosterone that greeted me at Somerset House in the long dark space that is the Photographer's Press Room really had my heart racing. Partly was the fear of getting knocked to the grown by a gang of big blokes vying for space, like a rugby scrum.
But no, this being England, it was all rather civilised. And a lot of these 'blokes' were that wonderful slender slight type of sensitive photographer, so even if it did turn ugly, at least it would be a fair fight. They don't let you in all at once: a nice big guy called out in a calm voice and when your name was called, you emerge from the dark room into the vast catwalk space, like a cathedral, and marked your territory with tape.
I was near the end of a numbered list. When my name was called, I almost didn't recognise myself I was so shaking with fear. I emerged into the light and just squeezed in with a tiny spot on the side, but in the front. My buddy Simon said that Ramondo, who will be behind me, is a really nice guy, and besides, I'm hoping that like last year I'll be able to get a lot of the shots of motion from the sides.
While we were waiting, I wanted to photograph the sea of sneakers in the dark somber gloom as we all silently waited for our names to be called, but I was so afraid I'd have my camera out and my drop my Sharpie in the process (I had brought some small red tape, but Simon kindly gave me some of his white tape, it's better. I wonder where that phrase comes from: red tape). I also managed to shoot the three females in the sea of men: one, Nicola I think is her name, has the most amazing look (with the dark fringe).
I don't have a clue what I'm wearing tomorrow - like any other day, I'll just throw on whatever I feel like when I wake up - but one thing I know I'm wearing is my new black flannel bowler hat. Considering there were like three females in the whole group, and two were wearing the same hat, I smell a trend emerging. And it's one trend I'm happy to follow: I like that little bit o blokeishness.
Next up: building the space. As the sister of a musician, I've always been fascinated with the world of roadies, builders.. the stuff that goes on before the circus begins.
Big thank you and God bless you once again to the amazing Will the intern: like Nicola and the other people at the British Fashion Council, he is such a calming influence, a smiling face in a sea of sneakers.