Vogue Festival 2013 – Day 2
Day 2 of Vogue’s annual festival got off to an illustrious start with Victoria Beckham taking to the stage to discuss her life in fashion with Alexandra Shulman. Beckham, once famous as a pop star and chief WAG, has gone from seasoned regular on ‘worst dressed’ lists to become one of the most revered and respected designers in the fashion industry today. Beckham arrived a fashionably 10 minutes late and was the only speaker throughout the weekend to completely ban pictures and videos, rather ironic for a woman who spent 10 years on the front of every tabloid magazine cover in the UK.
As one might expect, Beckham is tiny in the flesh, bird-like and girlish in a way that defies her 39 years. Much warmer than her pouty press persona suggests, she is extremely likeable and tried hard to get the audience on side, convincing us that she is a busy working mother just like you and I. She has ‘some help’ with the children, but not a lot. Unfortunately much of Beckham’s interview came across rehearsed and her answers a little thought out. Even the audience questions had all been presubmitted and vetted prior to the talk. One couldn’t help but wish she’d let her guard down a little and show more of that humour and personality that we saw glimmers of through her glossy exterior.
The second talk we attended was ‘Building a British Fashion Brand’ with Tamara Mellon, Chistopher Kane, Anya Hindmarch and Alexander McQueen’s CEO and President, Jonathan Akeroyd. This was defintley the most educational talk we attended over the weekend and the talk with the most practical tips for aspiring fashion brands. Both Mellon and Kane stressed the importance of having a good product as the key to success. All the hard work, luck and connections are useless without a product that consumers want to buy. Kane’s story was particularly inspiring, having built his label from scratch with his sister Tammy in a bedroom in Dalston, before selling 51% to Kering in January of this year. Akeroyd spoke poignantly about the death of Lee McQueen and the subsequent difficulties he faced in saving the brand and his decision to place Sarah Burton in the position of creative designer.
Before our final talk of the day, we took a tour around the festival foyer. Mario Testino was signing copies of his new book, Dior provided makeovers, and a Vogue shop selling festival mementos of the event occupied South Bank’s open space. A photo booth where guests could partake in a mock up Vogue cover shoot and take home the image proved popular with the gaggles of teenage girls forming South Bank’s most glamorous queue. There really wasn’t a huge amount to do and for those with large periods of time between talks, the afternoon could be a slow one if it weren’t for the catwalk of street style rotating the space. We saw lots of Chloe Susanna boots, both original and high street copies, statement necklaces were another firm favourite as were Nicholas Kirkwood shoes. Tickets for Vogue Festival weren’t cheap but the number of fifteen year olds we saw sporting Chanel chain bags served as a reminder that money is not something London is short of and that Vogue festival will never have a problem selling out, regarldess of price.
On to our final talk of the day, a panel of industry insiders discussing ‘Too fat, too thin, will we ever be happy?” David Gandy took centre stage alongside Patsy Kensit, Dasiy Lowe and Vogue veteran, Christa D’souza. The panel were all a bit bland, Kensit was promoting Weight Watchers at every chance she got (she’s the current spokesperson), Gandy looked as God like in person as he does in those Dolce & Gabanna adverts but didn’t really have much to say. Which, to be fair, probably wasn’t the reason he was invited along anyway. All pannelists mentioned learning to love yourself and other inane platitudes but there was no great debate or discussion of the fashion industry’s role in selling us impossible airbrushed fantasies or the reasoning behind the use of teeny tiny models. The fact Daisy Lowe, a very slight size eight in the flesh, is the industry’s representative of a ‘curvey model’ says it all really.
So that’s it for another year folks. Next year we’re hoping for Karl Lagerfeld, Angela Ahrendts and Anna Wintour. Who would you like to see?
Images via Vogue.co.uk and Telegraph.fashion.co.uk