The life questioning event of missing a fashion show

Running late to fashion week
Image: Tommy Ton

As a girl who was constantly the last person to get picked up from primary school (and once completely forgotten to be picked up at all – thanks dad), I’m not a person who likes to be late. Being late is actually my most despised thing in the world, closely followed by parents who have hashtags for their kids #creepy.

Work, lunch meetings, periods – all on time and in an orderly fashion please. If I’m running even a fraction late for any of these things you’ll see me in full blown hulk-like anxiety mode, fists and buttocks clenched for good measure.

The thought process of being late is not a fun one, but if I’m ever running late for a show at fashion week, I’m as zen as an avocado meditating in lotus position.

Because my version of being late, is fashion week’s version of being early. Fashion time is but a concept and a show’s scheduled time is a vague indicator. I remember in 2012 it was a notable big deal when the Louis Vuitton show started on time.

So here I am, a lovely Saturday afternoon in London, on my way to the JW Anderson show:

4:00pm designated show time: My train ran slightly late because the doors kept opening accidentally (and no one seemed phased by this at all). I’m now at the closest station to the show so all I need to do is walk there. Google maps is saying it’s a 3 minute walk = easy. But which way? I think it’s left. Okay walking. Wait no, now the blue dot, that is me, is moving in the wrong direction. There’s a metaphor in there somewhere but there’s no time to delve.

4:01pm: Okay I’m going in the right direction and that direction means following all of the black Mercedes Benz. So glad I wore flat loafers today. I pretty much wear them every day anyway but I’m particularly happy their on my feet at this very moment. I power past some tourists as I feel them all admire my artful beret. To me it’s a reference to Gucci/Wes Anderson. To them, I probably look like a spy. I’m happy with both.

4:02pm: Hey that coffee shop is so cute! Is there time for coffee? The anxiety part of my brain yells ‘NO!’ It’s so uptight. To make it chill I walk a little faster.

4:03pm: Now I have a stitch. I must be almost be there though because there’s Leigh Lezark and a hive of street style photographers buzzing around her. Lead the way girl, I’ll just hang back here. We’re only three minutes late in real time which in fashion time is three minutes early. Everything is fine. We’re in this together.

4:04pm: Oh wow, here’s the circus. Cue more photographers snapping away as she approaches the door. A tall leggy blonde who I kind of recognise from Instagram greets Leigh with a classic air kiss. There’s no kissy welcome for me but I don’t take it personally.

4:05pm: We’re lining up to get in now. Leigh, legging blonde and me. The security guard is saying something to them. I try to listen but I can’t quite hear because of the music playing. Wait music? I can feel the ‘doof doof’ vibrations of non-descript catwalk music. It’s probably just a late run through. “It started two minutes ago” the security says louder, this time making it to my ear drums and into my brain. I can feel my mouth drop and eye brows furrow in quick succession. I’m shocked. Leigh is shocked. We’re all shocked. I hear legging blonde say ‘but I’m in the front row?’ The security guard is kindly sympathetic but explains that because of the way the catwalk is set up, he can’t let anyone in. I look inside to see a hopeless cluster of journalists trying to peak behind a wall to see the catwalk.

4:06pm: I pass on joining the fashion huddle, but still in shock, just continue to stand in the line. My brain still trying to compute this unexpected turn of events.

4:07pm: The show is STILL going. I swear they’re never this long. At least I can pass the time by watching street style photographers snap the people who also missed out on the show. You COULD even say there’s a fashion show going on outside. It’s like a renegade version of the Night at the Roxbury club-on-the-outside concept. That’s what JW Anderson SHOULD have done – showcased his show on the outside. And then everyone would win!

4:08pm: How come no one has taken my photo yet? Should I maybe take it as a compliment? I kind of regret wearing this beret now. Actually I regret all of the choices I made today and my entire life in general. I should have stopped to get that coffee anyway.

4:10pm: The show just finished. Well I can only assume as much because Anna Wintour just walked out of the entrance and straight into the first car she saw. I really hope for her sake it was her car and not fashion kidnappers, which is the name of a movie I would totally line up to see.

4:11pm: Now everyone is coming out. Look at them so smug. I can’t see my favourite fashion person Tim Blanks though. Where is he? I miss him. I stand there like a kid at school watching everyone else get picked up by their parents. I realise I probably need to go back to therapy.

4:12pm: I start walking back to the train. I stop at the cute coffee shop and order a dark chocolate mocha because I don’t really drink coffee anyway. I look at Instagram to see photos of the show. JW Anderson did leg-o-mutton sleeves! That’s only like, my favourite type of sleeve. I depressingly sip my mocha and burn my tongue. I George-Michael back to the train station.

4:25pm; The train takes me back home in the fastest of fashion. No delays. No accidental doors opening. All of the regrets.

4:35pm: I get home, throw my beret on the floor and kick it. My friend messages ‘How was the show?’ To which I respond with all of the sad emojis I can find with my chubby thumb. She replies ‘oh no, it was the tube wasn’t it?

You win this round London, lesson learned. I’ll be sure to employ my anxiously clench fists and butt cheeks when I attend my next show.

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