14 Sep 2010

4 Days to LFW: F&S speak to fashion insider Jodie Ball

What is your profession?
I am the Fashion Editor here at trend-forecasting company WGSN. I'm responsible for writing daily collection reviews from the big four fashion weeks in New York, London, Milan and Paris. Post-fashion week, I work on our close-to-season trend analysis, covering apparel and accessories. I work on the city-specific trend reports, colour and fabric directions, and key item analysis.  

Who are your clients?
Our clients range from high fashion big-wigs such as Giorgio Armani and Calvin Klein, to high street brands such as Topshop and Gap. But even non-fashion powerhouses such as Nokia and Sony Ericsson subscribe to our trends service. What colour will YOUR next mobile phone be? It seems everyone needs WGSN in their life.  

What does LFW mean to you and how do your prepare for it?
Well, my job centres on covering the big four international fashion weeks and I travel to Milan and Paris each season. London Fashion Week is like a pre-cursor! It's easier to manage LFW because it's on home turf and I can get from one side of the city to the other in the blink of an eye (and the screech of a black cab) which really helps when the show schedule is super jam-packed. You can't prepare yourself mentally for the strain of fashion week - there's no Nintendo brain training for trying to remember which velvet shirt you saw at which show on which day! The only preparation I do these days is work out my wardrobe.  

What does your LFW schedule look like?
I pretty much attend every show in London. I'm looking at this season's schedule right now and I've just counted ticks next to 50 out of the 64 on-schedule shows, give or take a couple. If I miss any, it tends to be the morning shows as I have to file all my copy by 9am, and getting from my bed in NW11 to a show in WC1 for the same time doesn't leave me much time in the shower. But on a good day, I'll get everything filed the night before or by 7am and then I'll make the first show and keep going on the hour, every hour until 9pm. I used to cover the parties and events for WGSN's gossip column as well, but it meant I sometimes didn't roll in 'til 2am and had to get up and start again in 4 hours! I'm too old for that now. I have my favourite parties which I still make an effort to go to every season (Mulberry is my must), have a few drinks with my knackered colleagues then call it a day. I forget to eat all week.

What is your favourite moment in a LFW day?
When a designer is kind enough to provide canapes.

And trend wise what are you looking out for during LFW S/S 11?
London is so often in a world of it's own when it comes to trends. Its love affair with the 80s seems to be reignited every season by the clutch of new designers that come up through the ranks, so I expect to see bodycon dresses in eye-watering lengths, some excessive shoulder pads and plenty of boyfriend blazers. London designers also love a good digital print - think Basso & Brooke, Mary Katrantzou and Jonathan Saunders - London "does" print. But having said that, you simply cannot predict what the likes of London's top wonderkind's such as Christopher Kane, Giles Deacon and Richard Nicoll are going to do from one season to the next. And THAT is the true beauty of London Fashion Week.

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