Vin+Omi: Behind the scenes at London Fashion Week 2014

What it’s like to put on a fashion show, from the duo who’ve just done it

Putting together a fashion show is a complex and labour intensive process. The show is stage one of a creative partnership with the hotel.

Models have been auditioned; garment fittings and hair and makeup tests have taken place in the hotel. Garments are tweaked throughout the night  by a team of dedicated workers. Preparation is everything.

With the conversion of the Cumberland Hotel’s breakfast restaurant into a catwalk space. The Vin and Omi fashion show is ready to take place.

Around 80 people are involved on show day. MAC make up bring their top team of makeup artists, the best in the business for hair and nails also bring teams to work on the 21 models. A large team of assistants and dressers run around the hotel helping to pull everything together.

12 photographers and 3 filmmakers are organised by one of the best fashion PR’s in the business Antony Waller, who brings his own team of pro’s to organise front of house. This hive of activity is supported throughout by the hotel’s events management team. A smooth interface between venue management and the design team is vital for such a complex event to work smoothly.

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Model Nelo Tshilanda backstage - ©EdThompson/VIN+OMI

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Make up done: Backstage line up for rehearsals - ©Genoveva Arteaga-Rynn/ VIN+OMI

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Models lining up for the show - ©TommyWharfe/VIN+OMI

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The Vin and Omi fashion show, beamed worldwide - ©Roberto Perez/VIN+OMI

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Front row audience: Jennifer Saunders and Debbie Harry - ©VIN+OMI

So who gains what out of this collaboration?  In evaluating, the event costs are taken into account and benefit to both parties assessed.  In effect, what added value does this element of the designer/hotel partnership bring?

The show received great publicity, with mentions on the BBC World News, New York Times, Sydney Morning Herald and BBC Radio and features in publications such as the Daily Mail. The show received over 50k on website hits and was heavily promoted through social media.

This positive PR is focussed essentially on the designers, celebrities and show, but also advertises and helps brand the venue as a creative, contemporary space.  It lifts the venue from being a regular hire destination and places them as a venue to stage larger international focussed creative events.

As The Cumberland already has a creative focus with its great art collection which runs throughout the hotel, it makes sense to develop this through broader creative collaborations and profile raising events.  Targeting specific creative groups on a regular basis will develop a ‘creative loyalty’ among fashion and art focussed customers; a place where they feel comfortable.

London’s hotels and venue spaces are recognising the benefit of creative collaborations and new partnerships are being set up throughout the capital, this can manifest in terms of room designs, product collaborations, ‘themeing’ of food and beverage outlets and targeted events.  The internet is (as usual) partly to blame in the immediate visual comparison it gives the perusing customer. Visual polishing and creative branding of any saleable space has become a competitive science

Vin and Omi are multimedia and fashion designers www.vinandomi.com. The Cumberland Hotel is London’s second largest hotel http://www.guoman.com/en/hotels/united_kingdom/london/the_cumberland/index.html

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