While I’ve written for fashion magazines, I’m not in fashion; I wear clothes and like a shoe that keeps water out; I was always the one dangling at the bottom of the trend food chain – an 8th row seat here, a ‘oh your not on the list’ there – just below “H” from Steps.
And then I got pregnant and the angular shapes and mental hues had me retreating even further into my non-ironic shellsuit.
I’m sure Miranda Priestly [The Devil Wears Prada] would be aghast, unleashing a suitably scathing rant, but if I have to read about some shoes that take me from ‘day-to-night’ (all shoes do this, you see) I’m going to weep into my spaghetti-embellished sleeve.
But I was intrigued; how would the urchin and I fare in the eye of the catwalk storm – London Fashion Week. Ever since project procreation launched, I’ve been keen (desperate) to retain a sense of former self – a prosecco playdate here, a baby rave there.
Kids are welcome at festivals, Michelin star restaurants, five star hotels and if you’re brave, the china area of Selfridges. The world is starting to look on and say, ‘yeah, that’s cool, do it parents, get on out there [with a patronising ruffle of the hair]’. But take them to Fashion Week and it’s like you’ve walked in naked accessorized by an inflatable willy.
Edging into JW Anderson’s show at 4pm last Saturday there was a strong sense that this is someone else’s big day and the wedding invite says ‘kids unwelcome’. But, as a brand that obviously appeals to cash-rich people who also ‘happen to have kids’ they can’t spell this out.
If you’re Victoria Beckham and Kim K (accessorised by Harper and North – a folky girl band, no?), all is OK. They’re celebs and unlike us civvy mums, the whole ‘twinning is winning’ hashtag works for them and the greater PR machine.
While London Fashion Week is a place of polish, pomp and undeniable ceremony that requires concentrated hush, they’re underestimating the urchin’s opinion. She sees things far more clearly than our Instagram-filtered world. Only last week did she point at my husband and ask him to put my bra on (he responded ‘no, Mama has boobies, not Papa’. She responded, ‘Papa has one big boobie’ [pointing at his stomach]).
In fashion realms it was a joy to have her laughing, gurning and pointing at ‘spiky’ shoes and ‘lellow’ boots, which would – let’s face it – never cut it in the playground. She loved JW Anderson’s ‘squiggly’ suits and clapped like a loon at the end when all the ‘silly ladies’ glided up the runway
But the biggest trend of the day was other people saying, ‘wow, that’s great you brought your kid here. You’re brave’ [subtext: what were you thinking you mad, mad person. Take her away immediately]. Why wouldn’t I? If you have to work – and weekends are absolute parental gold dust – then why not bring the life appendage if the invite doesn’t specify ‘kids not welcome’.
It’s not brave, it’s just mad necessity, perhaps. But, then, isn’t that parenthood all over?