Published — Wednesday 16 January 2013
Last update 16 January 2013 12:12 am
The Khalid Al-Qasimi show for London Collections: Men was an absolute nightmare! Readers, bear with me while I explain why. Even though I attended the show — held on day four of the men’s fashion showcase featuring top names in design — I cannot describe the clothes. Why? Because I couldn’t see them. No, I wasn’t suffering from temporary blindness or overwhelmed with emotion. I literally could not see the collection. It was impossible to fight my way through the crowded corridor packed with stunned fashionistas in order to peer at the models wearing the Autumn/Winter 2013 pieces, designed by Khalid Al-Qasimi, the handsome and no doubt talented fashion designer son of the ruler of Sharjah, UAE.
For all I know, the collection was something that every man in the entire universe would aspire to — but I have absolutely no idea. Let me tell you how this sad saga unfolded. I raced to the West End venue, berating myself for being a few minutes late. Then I relaxed as I saw a long queue of fabulous fashion folk lined up in the alleyway outside waiting to be admitted. ‘Admitted’ now seems particularly apt, considering the bedlam I encountered.
Waiting in queues is all part of the routine for fashion shows — evidently the organizers think a bit of bracing, petrol laced London air is good for us. At least it wasn’t raining. To while away the time I had a good eyeful of the people around me. A man in a well-cut tweed suit with an immaculate yellow silk cravat made a strong impression. Then I decided that the cut of his trousers was too slim, making him look more like a dandy than a gentleman. A shame really, because he was trying. Also, his strange green brogues failed the English gentleman test. Mind you, he might have been French or Italian — who knows?
Certainly, the workmen from a nearby building site who had downed tools to take in the scene were not impressed. Clearly they felt their tatty sweatshirts and grubby overalls made more of a compelling statement about male attire.
I turned my attention to the two Koreans standing immediately in front of me in the queue. The beautiful young woman with perfect makeup and hair looked stunning in an ostrich feather jacket in a delicate shade of mint. Her male companion with a sharp, asymmetrical hairstyle and expensive black wool overcoat finished the look with a pair of pristine white leather sneakers. I gazed at these beautiful swan-like apparitions for some time, trying to figure out how he could have walked through the streets of London and kept his shoes so clean. Truly incredible!
A young model shuffled past in an oversized green parka: she stood about 1.80 meters tall and looked like she weighed 45 kilograms. Wow, pretty scary.
An almost hysterical photographer, clad in black from head to toe, who suddenly erupted from inside the building clutching his camera, broke my reverie. In no uncertain terms he declared to all and sundry — “That’s the worst presentation I’ve ever seen — it’s a joke — you can’t see anything!”
I should have listened to this portent of doom but instead I told myself: “Steady, steady. Stand your ground!”
Fifteen minutes later the still good-natured crowd were herded inside and forced to clamber up a tiny, steep spiral staircase. The Korean in front was wearing 6-inch heels and I feared for my life if she made one false move.
Gasping I reached the exhibition space and looked expectantly ahead. Then it dawned on me — I would never be able to work my way through the dense crush to view the clothes. I tried but was blinded by TV lights, nearly collapsed, and had to turn back. The whole floor was vibrating with the deafening soundtrack that accompanied this extraordinary ‘fashion moment’. Thank goodness I had remembered to bring my earplugs.
Suddenly I could stand it no longer; I fled back down the tiny stairwell causing those still ascending to retreat. I ran like a crazed animal half-blinded and deafened into the now almost deserted alley.
Khalid Al-Qasimi, I have a message for you. For pity’s sake — treat your guests with more respect next time. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go and rest in a darkened room and attempt to mend my shattered nerves in time for the perils of London Fashion Week soon approaching.