People-watching at a catwalk show is great and very naughty fun, if you know what you’re doing, but it’s even more satisfying at a trade show. The lighting is better, for one thing, and if you happen to find yourself next to someone who talks too loudly or has unfortunate body odour you can just move along to the next booth. Plus you get a much wider range of fashion animals to spot...
My favourites, of course, are the emerging (i.e. skint, passionate and long-suffering) young designers, showing their first collections, who dash about, dangling armfuls of cellophane-swaddled stock on hangers. My heart always goes out to them. Then there are the craggy and lipstick-ed boutique buyers they are trying to impress, all enjoying their seasonal three-day power trip, pawing through the rails on the stands and yawning things like ‘so dear, is this your first time at the show?’
I also love the little gaggles of first-year fashion students, wearing far-too-high-for-what-you’re-doing heels, slurping on lattes and trying to look grown up. They are not fooling anyone. Nobody is going to mistake them for buyers or journos and waste their precious time talking to them. The savvy student just wears jeans and a ponytail, hides her show pass in her handbag and comes alone. A few moments of quiet, lip-pursed garment perusal and she’ll have designers eating out of her hand...
And occasionally throwing pervy glances at all the young things as they stroll past are the gangs of balding, polyester-clad wholesalers, drumming their fingers on their beer-bellies as they hunt for ideas to copy and brands to exploit - I mean export.
There is always something going on. And if you pad quietly enough around the pathways between the clashing colour-ways you can sometimes also overhear the brand owners lecturing their booth dollies, who stand about in their new collection ensembles with their arms folded, grudgingly giving out sweets and look-books with aching smiles (they’ve been on their feet all day). But be careful not to trip over the black-suited venue staff who trot along the aisles, po-faced, vigorously working carpet rollers over the now-not-quite-so-white carpet.
Oh - and there are some very nice clothes and things to look at too. All in all, I'd recommend a trip. For more about Pure, click here: