Red Bull Fashion Factory  Audience

Verity Williams joined the Red Bull Reporter team as our writer and Hak al Said as our photographer at Red Bull Fashion Factory during London Fashion Week. They got an exclusive back stage insight in to the world of fashion, and more importantly, caught a glimpse of the Spring/Summer trends for 2010. Check out their reports to find out what you should be wearing next year, which designers to look out for and those celebrities who refused to miss out on the action at Red Bull Fashion Factory... Read Verity's report below and visit www.redbullreporter.com to view Hak al Said's images.

Secret London is documented in newspapers and magazines, but there is no public map of where to find it and no open invite to get you inside. It is a world full of life and culture and creation, inhabited by people (often famous) who ignored their career advisor to embark on journeys of music, design and fashion. Those who followed their career advisor’s advice will gaze at pictures of this world in the London freesheets as they commute to the office.

The Red Bull Fashion Factory is a temporary home for Secret London during three days of the 25th London Fashion week. Of the world’s four fashion capitals (the others being Paris, New York and Milan) London is known for its edge and the Red Bull Fashion Factory epitomises this.

To the pedestrians outside, the Red Bull Fashion Factory is an old warehouse (the Old Sorting Office in London’s Holborn) surrounded by workmen digging up roads. The secret inside, for the eyes of the invited, is not unlike an urban loft. Flat screen TVs hang on white fabric partition walls, alongside images of supermodel Guinevere modeling ‘Franken-Fashion’ designer masks commissioned by Dazed & Confused magazine. The shiny backlit Red Bull bar could have been teleported from a nightclub where Secret London parties. The DJ’s setup equally impresses, various musical genres boom through a mighty sound system. Upcoming artists create on walls (Blue Logan), canvases (Josef Valentino and Miss Led) and mannequins (duo Rosie Emerson & Petra Storrs). The artists in motion inspire guests to use the art materials scattered across the tables, or read from the collection of books and magazines.

Interviews with designers and photographers encourage the feeling you are inside a living magazine. Given that the interview hosts are Vogue TV’s Louise Roe and Big Brother’s Little Brother’s George Lamb, you could also be on a TV set. This main area, ‘The Hub’, evolves as party venue by night and creative hot spot by day. Every now and again the urban grit shines through: original graffiti is dotted around, a sign by the bar prohibits parking in that area and posh portable loos stand inside the building.

The focus of the Red Bull Fashion Factory is the five fashion shows: Hannah Marshall, PPQ, Vivienne Westwood Red Label, four graduates and Felder Felder. These happen in a separate room which fills with fashionistas (whose elaborate dressing often rivals the models on the catwalk) shortly before each fashion show. The lighting rig above the catwalk could have come from a Muse concert. The spotlight to guest ratio is approximately 1:3. It is a serious set up.

The celeb attendance is as serious as the lighting. London’s paparazzi favourites are out in force. Skunk Anansie’s Skin joins Boy George, the Geldof sisters, Geri Halliwell, Fearne Cotton and Alexa Chung. Erin O’Connor models for Hannah Marshall and Hilary Alexander and Caryn Franklin watch with their fashion expert eyes.

The fashion is as serious as the celebs. Hannah Marshall is a celebrated newcomer, with British, Italian and Indian Vogue admiring her work. PPQ is celebrated and established, favoured by Secret London’s cool and connected. Both show on Saturday and highlight colour. For Hannah Marshall, colour is her first excursion from black, adding purple, white and grey to her palette. The collection is ‘fierce and feminine’ with an 80s feel.

For PPQ, colour is the troop of black models dressed like Riviera glamazons who, through vibrant and ethnic patterned fabrics, come with a touch of Africa. The casting is a timely response to photographer Nick Knight’s comment that fashion is ‘ageist, sizeist and racist’.

Dame Vivienne Westwood is a fashion legend and pioneer, so elite she is a friend of Carrie Bradshaw – a character from a world as exciting as Secret London.

Four graduates: Jamie Cockerill, Marie Hill, Tessa Edwards and Philip Preiswerk display incredibly intricate collections before the fashion finale of Felder Felder – twin sisters who created their acclaimed sexy rock chic label before graduating from Central St Martins.

The Red Bull Fashion Factory finale is a closing party with Estelle on the decks, before Secret London moves on and the Old Sorting Office resumes its empty warehouse status.

When Red Bull designed this extravaganza with event company My Beautiful City, they brought their long held affiliation of fashion to the forefront but added an extra dimension. Red Bull’s passion for supporting culture is as exciting for society as the events it creates and the artists they support.

Verity Williams

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