|I wore… Shorts Suit: Jaeger London, Bag: Mulberry, Blouse: Whistles,
Shoes: Topshop, Necklace: Anne Bowes Jewellery
First up was the fearsome, fabulous and, as we’d soon learn, funny Diane Von Furstenberg. Remember the “guest speakers” you had at school? Some boring old drone who managed to drag out their unbelievably dull life story for so long that you basically lost the will to live? Well, whilst it may have been built around the same premise, Diane’s talk – “Turning a Passion for life into a penchant for businesss” – could not have been further from that dire memory.
The Queen of the New York fashion scene had us all in raptures as she told her tale of royal marriages, international businesses, losing it all and then getting it all back again. Diane opened with the statement;
“As a young girl I did not know what I wanted to do, but I knew what kind of woman I wanted to be… Independant, a woman who pays her own bills, can go out with a man without worrying whether he’ll call…”
Given that, aged 25 Diane Von Furstenberg was making (and more importantly, selling) over 25,000 wrap dresses a week and featured on the covers of Wall Street Journal and Newsweek in 5 continents, I think it’s safe to say she achieved that dream. I could easily harp on about Diane all day but that could get boring, so here are just a few of her best bits:
“There was a certain cute, little wrap top that did very well… One day I looked at it and thought, I’ll add a skirt… And everything went crazy” – on the birth of her iconic wrap dress
“When your children are teenagers you love them but you don’t like them… So they went to boarding school and I went to Paris” – on motherhood
“My mission is about empowering women… I like to make women feel confident because if you’re confident, you’re beautiful” - on her inspiration
Next on the agenda was “Fashion Question Time” moderated by Vogue deputy editor Emily Sheffield. A panel of London’s hottest, independant designers assembled on stage to answer our queries and share their experiences. Some of the designers, like Holly Fulton and Mary Katrantzou, I know personally and it’s always both interesting and heartwarming to hear them talking about their work. Others, such as Christopher Kane and Nicholas Kirkwood, I’ve never met and the session offered a fascinating insight into the methods and personalities behind the designs I covet.
|From left: Nicholas Kirkwood, Mary Katrantzou, Christopher Kane, Roksanda Ilicic, Holly Fulton, Henry Holland
and Emily Sheffield
This was an absolute “must-attend” for aspiring designers as the six bright young things gave some invaluable advice on breaking in to the industry.
“You’ve just got to have confidence in your own convictions” – Holly Fulton on coping with critics
“You can’t just go and be a designer and not expect to have to run a company at the same time” – Nicholas Kirkwood on the business of fashion
“You need to educate yourself… That could be by working for a designer, or doing your BA… Everyone hase a different path” – Mary Katrantzou on preparing for education Vs experience
After a spot of sushi it was time to head back to the festival for the session we’d all been waiting for… Tom Ford in conversation with Alexandra Shulman. This was definitely the hottest ticket of the weekend and the theatre was packed fit to burst thanks to what can only be described as the “Ford factor”. British Vogue’s Editor in Chief opened with the words:
“How to introduce our next speaker… Would superman do?”
Her description was right on the money and an audible gasp went up around the room as the man himself took to the stage to begin his hour long seduction of the audience.
|Tom Ford in conversation with Alexandra Shulman|
Besides being heartbreakingly handsome, ridiculously talented and unbelievably skilled at branding, Tom Ford is also officially the most charming man in the world. On top of this, he is also incredibly witty and in between imparting priceless pearls of wisdom, Tom and Alexandra’s banter had us all in hysterics. Here are a few of the most priceless moments from what I like to think of as the “Tom and Alex show”…
Tom: “I feel that we should be (sitting) closer than this”
Alex: “This is as close as I’m prepared to get… I don’t trust you one bit”
Alex: “You’re very open about being gay”
Tom: “I’m not gay Alex, what would make you think that?… We don’t have to put boxes around it anyway… Have you ever slept with a woman?”
Alex: “Now you see why I don’t trust him!”
Tom: “Are you wearing my foundation?”
Alex: “No, Chanel’s”
Tom: “I was reading your book..”
Tom: “I don’t carry a cellphone”
Alex: “You don’t need to, you’re like the Queen… Someone else carries it for you”
Tom: “The gloves are off now!”
Love Ella. X