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Top 25 Art Blog - Creative Tourist

London Fashion Week A/W 2011 Catwalk Review: bStore

bStore always put on a good show, right? Well here's our view - with illustrations by Alexandra Rolfe!

Written by Gavin Mackie


Illustrations by Alexandra Rolfe

It was a mighty long trek from the main fashion activity at Somerset House to 33 Portland Place for my first show of the A/W 2011 season. As it was bStore, and as 33 Portland Place is stunning (the location for much of the recent filming of The King’s Speech), I thought it much worth the effort. Amazingly, arriving at 6:23 for a 6:30 show I still managed to be first in the queue. Which luckily meant I was first to get a cocktail when the doors finally opened.

bStore were obviously out to put on an intimate and relaxed show for ‘friends’. The cocktails were stunning (well done – best Mojito I have had in ages) and the drawing room we were all ushered into to settle into the evening definitely set the tone. As the room filled it also became obvious that the gathered audience were bang right-on bStore target; urban gentlemen and ladies in the up-to-date yet classically English look that bStore helps to promote. I especially favoured the lovely American woman who had had a little too much to drink, tottered on me and my bags and then had to prop herself against the wall as her ‘heels were far too high’ (if you are reading this, you know who you are!).

Cocktail downed and people watching over, we made our way into the show area. Tightly packed and with live band playing (as with the cocktails, very good) we all took places throughout the two rooms that made the runway circuit. bStore got this location just right, the slightly disused English club room feel suited the brand to a T.

Unfortunately, this is about where the amazing parts of the show came to an end. In dim lighting the first model came out, but he was halfway around the circuit before most of the audience realised the show had actually started. I believe there were two reasons for this: (1) as the lighting was so dim, the model was literally walking in shadows, and (2) the model didn’t look any different to the assembled crowd, it was hard to tell audience and model apart. The parade of models followed as we squinted in the dark to see what was on offer. Muted ochres, burgundies and black on clothes kept to the signature bStore look. Slightly tailored English, slightly American grungy, with the same proportions bStore has been following for a number of seasons now. Don’t get me wrong, I’m usually a big bStore fan and there was nothing here that was awful. Most of it was immensely wearable and if it was my first bStore encounter I would have been more ecstatic (but still squinting, why were there no lights? It’s a fundamental part of this process, surely?). But knowing what bStore offers, this show didn’t really bring anything new to the brand and left me feeling a bit meh. Competent? Yes. Enjoyable? Yes. Groundbreaking? Nope.

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