So the Vogue festival is a pretty serious bit of fun for anyone interested in fashion. In the days following the festival, fashion blogs and magazines were filled with photos of the best dressed and comments on the illustrious speakers who made up panels to be interviewed on different aspects of the industry. This year speakers and interviewers included Naomi Campbell, Lucinda Chambers, Valentino, Alexandra Shulman, Proenza Schouler, Sarah Burton and Karlie Kloss.
I attended an interview entitled ‘Personal Style and do you have it?’ with a panel made up of Vogue’s Creative Director Lucinda Chambers, Karl Lagerfeld’s muse Amanda Harlech and model and international style guru Alexa Chung. The interview opened with a simple question about what they were wearing, and the answers ranged from a tapestry jacket from Portobello market styled with a Celine skirt, to Chanel couture, to “awfully uncomfortable” Marc Jacobs heels. Three guesses who wore the Chanel.
The talk was lively and animated, as you’d expect from a discussion between three such interesting and diverse women, however it was the comments made by Lucinda Chambers that truly resonated. She wasn’t perhaps the wittiest or most entertaining speaker but she put forward the most considered answers which in return prompted responses from the other two women, whose contributions were mostly anecdotal. Furthermore the experiences Chambers related of her first days at Vogue were very encouraging. She described making all her outfits from scratch and very much feeling like she did not ‘fit in’ with her chic and Chanel clad colleagues. However it was she, not they, who rose to be Creative Director of the magazine, and it is her sense of style, not theirs, that imbues every page of this most hallowed publication. This perhaps can be seen as inspiration to us all not to play it safe, but to express ourselves through our clothes and not to be afraid to get things wrong or even to do the wrong things on purpose.
The fun of the Vogue festival is not centred solely around the talks and this is reflected in the fact that one could buy ‘foyer only’ tickets .There was a range of activities all appealing to a girlish desire to dress up. We arrived early (our talk was the very first) and so we faced very little queuing as we had our hair worked into catwalk styles and our nails painted with the Vogue logo. Also on offer were a Burberry make over and photo shoot and a ‘Vogue cover shoot’ which cost £10 but included a Chanel makeover and a glossy print out of your face emblazoned on the front of the magazine. While initially we thought it would be too mortifying to endure this process, we finally convinced each other on the grounds that we could give the photos to our mothers for Mothers’ Day, and snuck away secretly very pleased with ourselves. We did however spare ourselves the relative humiliation of strutting down the Harrods ‘Catwalk’ to be entered into a raffle for a £1000 voucher. The odds were against us and it would have been too great a blow to our self-respect.
What was equally interesting about this particularl festival was watching the attendees file in and out and take in their ‘personal style’. There are very few events for which people make such effort, not to look attractive or sexy, but eye catching, stylish and different. The outfits ranged from homemade waistcoats to trends straight from the catwalk. I personally had opted for safe and simple; black straight leg jeans, a cream silk blouse with pin-tuck detailing and a forest green jacket, with vintage shoes and a long necklace. However after Lucinda Chambers’ comments, I wished I’d gone in something more outlandish that wouldn’t have looked out of place on ‘stylebubble’. The friend who accompanied me, the eminently stylish Poppy Clifford from Wadham, opted for a prettier ensemble comprised of a pink leather skater skirt by ‘the Kooples’ and a matching pink cashmere cardigan with hoop earrings.
All in all, it isn’t a ‘ground breaking’ event, but it certainly was fun and a good day out. I would definitely recommend buying a ticket next summer, and my advice would be to choose your talk carefully, get there early, and bring a camera.
Above: My catwalk-inspired hairstyle