[Catwalking and Jason Lloyd Evans]
Today it's Holly Fulton's turn to take over the tent at Somerset House, as her latest print-tastic collection wil be served up at lunchtime. Holly always makes editors smile with her youthful designs and colourful embellishments. We chatted to the lovely Holly before her show to find out what fashion week is really like for her...
1. When did you start working on this collection?
We didn't get going till the end of June, which is very late. People were like 'what are you doing?!' Straight after the show we do showrooms so it's April until we are back in the studio full time. But there are things that you stumble upon in the previous collection and don't have enough space to explore so you save till next time.
2. Do you go straight into the design or spend a long time working on the concept?
I do a lot of drawing. I draw far far too many things; drawing about 700 sketches for a collection of 30 looks. But that's the part I enjoy and find addictive so I invest a lot of time in that. Then I massively scale back and pick out the core elements that will work.
3. How close do you work up to the show?
Till the very last second. I am lucky and have a team that are committed to help me complete my vision. It's demanding on my time as well as ours. When you have a good team nothing seems impossible. You never ever go to bed the night before the show and you can go up to 48 hours without sleep before the show. Your desire to get it to the standard you want drives you through. I make a lot of the jewellery that goes with the collection but I will leave that to match the outfits so it's all very very at the end.
4. In the last week before the show what stage are you at with the collections?
I do a lot of the embellishments myself and this collection has large sections of time consuming work which I do myself by hand. Selfishly it is the part that I enjoy so it's important to me to have that connection to it. I want to actually make it and do the embellishment techniques myself. Marrying prints and embellishment is something I really love, so I'm returning to that this season.
5. Do you have input in where you show?
Yes massively. We're going into the tent at Somerset House this year which has had a reconfiguration and are trying to do something different. As there isn't much time to change around sets we use choreography to make the point of difference. We will probably leave it to the very end and come up with the vision based on the collection.
6. How do you come up with the soundtrack?
I show the guy I work with the theme and the collection and then leave him to come up with his own ideas. Everyone I work with is experts in their own field so I trust their judgement. He then comes back with 15 track options and we pick which we like. We don't want just a nice bouncy catwalk track it needs to really fit with the theme.
7. How invovled are you with model castings?
I am there the WHOLE time and we see a lot. It is very important to me to have models that have personality. I am obsessed with really tall women, but I am keen on someone who looks like a woman rather than a really young girl. I'm not that young so I don't like that on the catwalk. Our decision is really obvious when someone comes in the room by their reaction. Sometimes a girl will say 'I really want to wear this outfit,' so you want that person to be able to wear that. We do the castings two days beforehand which is the hardest in terms of time and stamina. I usually have a muse behind the collection so that helps to cut it down.
8. Is the front row important to you?
To a certain extent. But it's more important to me to have the opinion formers that I really trust there. It's a business exercise. You want those people there for your team as well. If someone is doing an internship for a season the catwalk show is the peak for them. It's important for them to enjoy it too. I am in a very very lucky position to have a label. I never forget where I came from so it's very important to make sure every single person on my team is getting what they want from it as well.
9. What are you doing backstage during the show?
Usually fiddling about with the jewllery! I stand at the door with the stylist making sure everything is perfect. I never get to see it, but the moment for me is when I see the girls all lined up ready to go. I'm usually very emotional then. You just know you are very lucky to be there.
10. Is it important to you to have your collection seen on the red carpet?
It can make a huge difference but I want to build a relationship with figures I really respect rather than have someone wear something for one night. I like to build up longevity with someone; we have so many private clients I am honoured to work with but I respect their privacy so we don't publicise it.
Holly has teamed up with LG to bring design from the catwalk in to the kitchen by launching a Holly Fulton for LG limited edition washing machine, allowing you to make a personal style statement right at home.