hemlines & habitat: Kate’s LFW17 street report

FRIDAY 17 FEBRUARY, THE STRAND, WC2.

There’s a Range Rover blocking Surrey Street, just off The Strand, and its doing its look-at-me best, all shiny and festooned in decals announcing ‘lash-ion week’ and ‘we’re in makeup overdrive’. But no one, not even a traffic warden, is paying the slightest bit of notice to it or the very important people with clipboards who are trying to get passersby to Instagram it. Not even the arrival of a concentrate mixer, hiccupping dust as it rumbles down the narrow street, interrupts this scene. Everyone in this street and the 500 square yards around it is exclusively engrossed in the fashionable goings-on. Half way down the street, close to the murky spring in Strand Place where Charles Dickens sometimes bathed, a jostle of professional feeders for newspapers, magazine blogs and photo libraries are shooting two vloggers, who are catwalking the street.

One wears a long cornflower blue evening dress over jeans, the other a T-shirt with ‘female of the future’ on the front, red PVC jeans and a jacket draped across her back like a stole. For a minute I think I’m seeing the birth of a new street look, then I remember that this jacket management is signature Kardashian and actually this is celebrity-to-street with a measure of girl power thrown in. Things get even more weirdly introspective around the entrance to Store Studio, the British Fashion Council’s base this season, where fashion’s most dedicated peacocks – the street style stars – compete for attention from yet more content scavengers. Everyone is looking for subject matter, be it imagery or text, just as David Bowie said we would be when he talked about the impact the internet would have on music and society in an interview he did 18 years ago.  I continue my own hunt in fashion’s habitat, looking for more themes and codes in the crowd’s dress for this season – well, their leg wear to be precise – and note some common ground as follows:

HEMLINES

For trousers – preloved/mom/skinny jeans, peg pants and active wear: calf length or so long they are bunched at the ankle or rolled up just above it, or trailing on the floor.

For dresses & skirts – mid-max, somewhere south of mid-calf (infinitely more flattering than just below the knee), or mini.

Finishes – frayed and frilled for both.

HEELS

Eighties’ cones with prerequisite high top V in white, gold and silver; stacked like Bluchers; flatform and platform Adidas and Nike.

One pair of shiny nude stilettoes with a platform under the toe. They looked like something from the ark.

HOSIERY

Fishnets – both as tights and socks, worn under everything, especially jeans; coloured lace – red, blue or white; striped knee highs.

Leggings – PVC, matt and shiny, and in wintry burgundy, black, moss green and navy.

Socks – striped knee highs, short tennis socks with frills, thick handknitted with heels.