sea of sneakers

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.


Winnie said...

Love this behind the scenes look in the BFC tent! I had no idea that the photographers had to Mark out their places, but then why would I? Thanks for sharing Jill! Hope I catch you around tomorrow!

A Girl, A Style said...

How fascinating - I actually had no idea this happened the day before FW starts!!

Hopefully bump into you at some point during the week! Will come and say hello if I see you

Briony xx

Ellie said...

I had no idea this happened either, what an interesting tradition!

Love that girl photographers hair, it's perfect! x

San said...

Thanks for this post. It's so interesting to get behind the scenes.

Best of luck for tomorrow.


C. Anne said...

I feel the excitement in the air from your descriptions! The first 2 shots of Nicola made me think of the aussie model Catherine McNeil.

Shini said...

So great to see what's happening BEFORE the event, not before the shows, but before the actual event - who'd have thought they were that organized with the photographers! See you tomorrow!

Matthew Spade said...

ohh yeah me neither, now we all know. the hat is ace though, will be looking great. make sure if you do any street snapping to get some fellas. i'm coming down on tuesday i think

The Photodiarist said...

Wow . . . Things seem different at London Fashion Week. More democratic and more accessible. For most of us street photogs here in NY, we have to wait outside to get our photos. I wonder what the process is to get inside all of the shows in NYC. Whatever it is, it is probably insanely competetive.

Fashion Limbo said...

Jill thanks so much for sharing this fascinating underworld to those of us who wished we could be there. It's my dream to be able to visit LFW one day and you bring that dream closer.
Agree that Nicola girl look is amazing, so natural, yet the fringe and the winged eye liner look amazing on her lovely make up free (it seems) face.
Good luck with LFW, I'm sure you will be doing an amazing job, cannot wait to see what your camera captures :)

jessica said...

That girl is so stunning! eek!
Im a super-mega- excited to see your coverage of LFW. Im currently living vicariously through all the NYFW bloggers so now its your turn!! :)