Last season I was asked to be one of the small band of style bloggers sitting in the front row at Dolce. Garance, Scott, Susie, Bryan…and LLG. I thought quite seriously about going, but I had only left my executive fashion editor job in the US eight months before, and I wanted some separation between being a front/second row editor and a front row blogger.

And, not least, I was thoroughly enjoying my sabbatical, sitting in New York in my knickers, eating nachos and writing my book. Of course I was still anonymous at that point, which would have made the whole front row thing a wee bit tricky. (The nacho eating probably had something to do with not wanting to be photographed too.)

Looking back I don’t think any of us had a clue just how much of a sensation that seating chart would cause. Knowing what I do now, do I wish I had put on a frock & hopped it to Milan?

No, I don’t think I do. Of course, I’d have loved the resulting traffic and raised blog profile, but I wld have squirmed with embarrassment had I been plumped in the front row with a Dolce laptop perched on a plinth in front of me.

Bloggers do not as a rule post from their seats. Dolce were just using bloggers in the same way that they use Scarlett or J-Lo or Kylie at the shows. The only difference being that the celebs got tens of thousands of pounds to attend and the bloggers – well they just got a decent seat, rather than the more usual half a squab in the eighth row behind a pillar.

But I’m glad the others bar Susie were able to attend. That show signalled to the world at large that style blogging had arrived, and it has certainly made my job (and I do see it as a job, now) as a blogger much, much more acceptable.

So, am I going to start reviewing the runway shows now that Dolce & Burberry et al have made it acceptable for bloggers to be at the collections?

No, I am not.

I’ve done enough professional critiquing of fashion shows in my career. (I started reviewing shows back in 2000). I’m going to leave all that to my fashion editor peers who already do it admirably well themselves, without adding yet another voice to the clamour.

Frankly, there are too many bloggers out there who strongly critique the shows without a strong knowledge of craft, technique and history to back up their position and I do not wish to be lumped in with that number. (You don’t need to be a professional fashion editor to have that knowledge, but I don’t think you should attend & then review the shows unless you have it.)

I will be lurking at some of the shows, but it will be to catch up on the work of the designers, get material for future stories, and to file colour pieces about the presentations. (I want to write about the atmosphere, do the re-sees, inspect the hems & stitching, and talk to the designers.)

In answer to some of your questions, I am going to Copenhagen Fashion Week not New York Fashion Week next week – I’m excited as I’ve done New York plenty of times, but never Copenhagen as they clash, and then, well, watch this space…

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18 comments

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The 'blogging from the front row' idea did sound a trifle insane at the time- imagine having to process everything that fast and coherently write about it!

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I think it must be very interesting to be "in" this world the way you were "in" it, then step out the way you have. I hope everything is going well and that you are happy with all that's happening for you. I think it's great to write a book and eat nachos, by the way. 😉

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Ah. The strangeness of the milieu and so much noise … and yet there's something about this season and the moody, exotic, refined, esoteric plethora of Haute Couture and I would have done anything to be there this season, not saying a word about Tavi's bow. Not to her father, not to the Bloggerati. Colin McDowell, who knows a thing or two about fashion and its inhabitants, wrote an evocative few posts on the Haute Couture and if one closed their eyes, they could imagine the softness of the luxurious fabrics, admire the hours and hours and hours of fine hand sewing and the freshly ironed scent would not be lost. One post that puts this moment of bloggerati in perspective,http://colin-mcdowell.blogspot.com/2010/02/paris-haute-couture-blogger-tavi.html, and maybe one could blame it on Giorgio Armani. I think he was the first to fly a Movie Star to his show and there was payment as well as a year's wardrobe (this was shortly after he accepted that he must feed those pesky American buyers in the Via Durini days). Jacqueline Bisset was his first. Azzedine did it better as he would do many things; just better, simple words for mastery. His models were paid and given those sexual clothes and every store, every model, every doctor's wife … it was inherent sexuality with a level of being covered up and it was brilliant. It's hard to be away now even as it seems changed in its efforts to accommodate editors, buyers, celebrities and the bloggerati and somehow retain editorial prominence while attempting to maintain retail shop buyers and yet communicate directly to the consumer. Somewhere in the midst of this, in an environment that requires deep pockets, Ms. Wintour and Carine Roitfeld are addressing heads of governments, who must be astonished at the refined beauty and overwhelmed by their charisma and help is needed. CIT, the American credit resource for small business, survived a bankruptcy and it's all quite scary now.
I deeply love the attention on fashion and abhor the cultural phenomena of fashion reality shows and bloggers who believe that they should have impact on the collections. Mr. McDowell and Eilis Boyle wrote brilliant posts about the unknowing of some who profess and exclaim and … have enthusiasm to offer sans professionalism and experience.
I'm more in love with fashion now in its perilous wondrous state than in the days writing orders, a day long thing, at Dolce & Gabbana in Milano. Remembering that Onward Kashiyama had the collection briefly and wondering if Scott (the Sartorialist) was there then … small connections; I bought James Coviello hats when he was at Showroom Seven.

It all seems to be possible at this moment. There are brilliant bloggers who may enjoy, should enjoy, front row access and magazine covers and hordes of followers … but there are more, like LLG, who understand the business of, the work of, and there are times when the fourth row or even second to last is superior.

Eilis thesilentstoryteller.is a dreamy, evocative and incredibly relevant blog. There are others and it's certain that on-line presence is here to stay. So sad to read that even Ms. Wintour's Vogue had lost 15% of its advertisers this past year.

It's so a Mamma Mia/Abba moment, I think … money, money, money, it's a rich man's world. Small indie's are doing it again on credit cards, loans from uncles, promises and that magical, wonderful thing – talent and craft.

At Azzedine's Rue de Belle-Chasse apartment, factory owners stood silently around Azzedine to watch him cut a pattern, sew it up. John Galliano had that somehow when he left St. Martin's and headed to South Moulton Street to put his first pieces from school in Brown's windows. And it was Ms. Wintour several years later who made phone calls and rounded up American money to keep John going.

I love this more having been away, writing too – little moments in fashion.

I love what you do, Ms. LLG. Thank you.

(CallaLilly101)

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Hi — I've recently begun reading your blog and it's so much more than a fashion blog, which I really enjoy and appreciate. Thanks for showing that we fashion people are so much more than just that.

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I thought the plinths were ridiculous.

Why "bar Susie"? I've read that paragraph twice now I I think I'm still missing something.

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Oh exciting! Myself and Selina may spot you, we're also going to Copenhagen Fashion Week (admittedly, am only there for 2 days).

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Fantastic…I do think the 'Blogger vs Editor' battle for front row has turned into a circus…and you are so right that designers are using bloggers as they are using celebrities to create hype ….it drives me INSANE…

Let the best sit in the front, be it blogger or editor…

Let's stop the fuss and the farce…and get back to the business of clothes

Have a wonderful time in Copenhagen

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@Dionysia: http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/bar

In this case bar is used as a preposition meaning except. LLGx

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I have been reading many articles in papers, magazines, online and blogs all discussing the wisdom, or not of bloggers being front row attendees of catwalk shows.
I do not blog with knowledge of fashion (only my own preferences), I do not come from media background and the sense I get from all these articles I have read is that the monthly glossies problem is that they cannot provide an instant view to what is happening on the catwalk whereas the blogger can and the glossie gang may be beginning to feel left behind slightly.
Their noses are out of joint, these young (13 is young to be involved at this level) bloggers are just enjoying the ride, and so they should.

Happy nacho eating..

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I love to read your blog because it's a true diary… your dating dramas, the food, friends, fashion. And dogs.

These are the things that make up your life and give your blog it's USP – you don't need glib two-a-penny reviews that can be read anywhere (blogs, papers and mags included).

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