London Fashion Week, kicking off tomorrow, is sure to deliver plenty of hot designers, backstage gossip and front row frisson, but who exactly puts together the catwalk shows that can turn a brand from washed-out grey to the new black in a few model struts?
Sara Blonstein is one such maestro. She’s been involved in fashion since the 90’s and has created fabulous events for Vivienne Westwood, Lancome and Agent Provocateur, amongst many others. This year she’s creating shows for the British Fashion Council, Ozwald Boateng and a very exciting event for TopShop. We caught up with her.
Are you all set for Fashion Week?
“Just about. The NewGen Village on the roof terrace of Somerset House is nearly complete. We are just starting on the exhibition in the Embankment Galleries for the British Fashion Council and we will soon be able to get on site at the old EuroStar platforms in Waterloo, which is where we will be having the TopShop showspace featuring seven designer shows. Ozwald Boateng’s show which is happening at the end of London Fashion Week as part of the MAN show is also gathering momentum.”
Can you tell us what you’ll be doing for TopShop?
“We are producing the most incredible fashion experience of seven shows, called the TopShop Showspace. Designers include Unique, Mary Katrantzou, Michael Van Der Ham, Richard Nichol, Peter Pilotto, Meadham Kirchhoff and Fashion East (group show featuring Simone Rocha – John Rocha’s daughter, Heikki Salonen and Felicity Brown) to name a few. All shows are on the empty and now disused old EuroStar platforms. We are doing every element from start to finish.”
Where do you get your inspiration?
“When we found the venue we were just like a dog with a bone – getting something truly amazing and edgy at the same time. We do it all with passion. Since securing the venue, our inspiration has come directly from the designers and is dictated by the space itself.”
How long does it take to put a fashion event together?
“Around two and half months and a further month securing the venue!”
Do you get nervous before a show that you’ve created?
“Yes but you can’t tell! But everything always comes together beautifully. I have an amazing team and my “all seeing eye” spots things prior to them being an issue.”
How much do you collaborate with designers, marketers, etc from a brand?
“We don’t collaborate, we realise their vision in physical terms.”
Has the fashion world changed since you first began?
“The ideas have always been good in London. However the organisation and main venues have definitely morphed over the years due to money or no money! I’ve been working or attending shows since the early 90’s and London Fashion Week went from grand at Olympia to nothing around ’94 and then Vidal Sassoon came in and build it up again with Proctor and Gamble dosh. Now the main hub is at Somerset House, and the BFC have great people and government funding. People like TopShop support designers and do their own venue, it’s really rather good. Hilary Riva (British Fashion Council) and Lulu Kennedy (Fashion East Director) have both been instrumental in bringing back big designers to London and finding key new ones to thrill.”
What is your favourite fashion moment?
“Well there are so many. In the 90’s catwalks were more crazy and Pam Hogg had Trannies singing and Vogueing! But out of our favourite produced fashion moments- I would say Hussein Chalayan AW 98 with naked models in burkas; Gareth Pugh’s light up dress moment at the electric ballroom for SS06 and Victoria Beckham in the disused Undercroft, literally under the tent at Somerset House for Fashion East AW10.”
What do you think of the current craze for all things vintage?
“Always loved it and all fashion comes from the designers picking up vintage in street markets!”
Who would you like to work with?
“Yves Saint Laurent if he was alive. Martin Margiela as a living artist.”
The High Street has now caught up with high end; the internet allows us to browse and buy from a myriad of established and up-and-coming designers : what do brands and designers need to do to stay ahead of the game and stand out?
“Big fashion show “show stoppers”, great conceptual advertising, music collaborations, diffusion lines and ultimately a “wearable” collection.”
Is London still edgy and innovative?
London Fashion Week, 17th – 22nd September
by Loma-Ann Marks for OpenMagazine