​the i-D guide to dressing for fashion week

Show a little skin and assemble your gang, it's time for another round of fashion shows.

by Dean Kissick
Jan 9 2015, 6:35pm

Photography Mitchell Sams

Throbbing techno floods the room, spotlights shine brightly, awkward conversations come to a close - perhaps a stranger falls through the roof - and a fashion show has begun. What would you like the crowd to be watching? A parade of hard-bodied male models in the latest collection on the catwalk, or you? Why, you of course. You, you, you. The answer is you! So...

Do: wear womenswear
If you are a man you should wear some womenswear (or, indeed, if you are a woman you should wear some menswear). Ambiguity about your sex, and your sexuality, is important in the fashion world. Try to inspire lust and confusion wherever you are. You are a mystery. Also it just looks fabulous. This season, storm to the front of every queue in an ostentatious, oversized showpiece from Prada or Comme, as if you are a Russian princess, or some sort of colourful mountain yeti.

Don't: wear anything you nicked
Sometimes really nice clothes somehow find their way into your wardrobe. Possibly you have "borrowed" something from a shoot; or from the fashion cupboard of a magazine; or from the showroom of a PR company; or from the archive of a design house; or from the cloakroom of a house party. Maybe a magpie flew in through your window with a sparkly handbag. These things happen, however, wearing your ill-gotten garms to fashion week is the equivalent of walking into McDonald's dressed as the Hamburglar - you are just asking for trouble - so avoid it at all costs.

If, nonetheless, you still turn up in something you are not supposed to have, allow nobody to take your picture whilst you are wearing it. Not so long ago I borrowed myself a strange Katie Eary sorcerer's hat from a flatmate's bedroom without asking, and he only noticed when a photo of me eating cheese in it appeared in a newspaper, and he was not at all pleased.

Do: show a little skin
To behold a man braving a cropped top, or showing off an unseasonal tan in a deeply open shirt, is captivating in the cold midwinter. Just take care that your shirt is not too open (like Kanye's at the Lanvin show) else it will look silly. Do show a little skin; do not turn up to the shows naked.

Don't: wear fur
There is a story in Grace Coddington's autobiography in which she sits down to a dinner with Anna Wintour and some animal rights activists storm the dining room and fling a frozen seal pup onto the middle of the table, and Anna says, "Well, that's broken the ice."

Avoid wearing fox or mink or seal - or even eel - to the shows unless you are unworried by animal rights activists throwing buckets of blood over you, and unbothered by the prospect of upsetting any sweet, cute, animal-loving models. Because in today's industry rabbits are not for cooking into stews and chopping into coats; they are for casting in advertising campaigns and following on Instagram.

Do: wrap up warm
Outside it is cold and wet, so carry a waterproof and a change of clothes. There is always a way to style this into an elegant look: layer three jumpers over one another; stuff your spare socks down the front of your trousers like a ferret; stuff your raincoat down the back of your trousers like an anaconda.

Alternatively you could just journey everywhere in a car and have your chauffeur/ fashion intern/ lover hold an umbrella above you every time you have to step outside.

Don't: wear a suit
Be wary of dressing too formally, in case you are mistaken for a waiter. If so you will soon be surrounded by uninvited fashion students shouting at you about champagne and tired buyers complaining that they really hate coconut water. There are too many suits at the men's shows anyway, no-one needs another.

Do: change yourself
New seasons, like new years, demand change. You must evolve yourself, like a Pokémon, and really this is the golden rule of fashion week: change your style! Try an unfamiliar designer and discover what happens.

So if you usually stick to your edgy London sportswear, this is the time to show up dressed as a 19th-century horseman. If you only like Rick Owens and nothing else, this is the time to start experimenting with Versace. If you have an invite to John Galliano's first showing for Maison Martin Margiela, this is the time to start dressing like a pirate with a bejewelled mask. A new you is only just around the corner.

Don't: wear the designer
Never, never, never wear a designer's old collection to their show. It is completely not chic, even in the unlikely event that you are the designer. Does J.W. Anderson take an end-of-runway bow in his own asymmetric drapery? No he does not, he just pops up in a jumper and jeans and waves.

If you wear a designer's old collection to their show you will look like one of their PRs, and everyone will moan about their seating to you. Or, much worse, you will be mistaken for one of last season's models who has been trapped backstage for the past six months and has finally wandered, befuddled, back into the light, now old and utterly out-of-shape and yet somehow still wearing the show clothes.

Do: have a gang
Ideally an otherworldly oriental gang with really, really expensive clothes. Or a chain-smoking gothic fashion editor gang. And, in your gang, everyone must take things to an unnecessary extreme, at every opportunity. If you dress like sad wizards, dress like the saddest wizards that the world has ever seen. If you have long faces, make sure that you have the longest faces in all of London, so much so that when strangers encounter you they say, "Oh that gentleman's face is sooooooooo long." Visually you and your gang should clash with everyone else at fashion week.

Don't: dress like a donut
Do not wear anything that will make you look like a donut. Just wear wonderful things and look hot and have amazing hair, because, actually, that is the true meaning of fashion week.


Text Dean Kissick

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Dean Kissick