From American stars to British top models, Abbey Clancy reveals who gets to sit where on the coveted front row.
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# Taking me higher than I've ever been before... #
Day one, I'm feeling good. Just in hair and make-up.
I like to be nice and chilled because Fashion Week's
so manic and everyone's running around.
There's flashes going off in your face
so this nice bit of quiet time, hair and make-up,
with my amazing team is perfect before we get out there.
All eyes are on the front row so it's important to look
your best, even if you get your hair and make-up done to feel good.
- We is done! - Ready to go!
I think London Fashion Week is the best fashion week.
Everyone wants to be on the front row.
We've got some fantastic designers here
and I think it's really exciting.
The whole city's buzzing. It's the place to be seen.
KIRSTY REILLY: In this day and age,
it is a lot about who is front row at shows, so it is about celebrities
being seen at the right shows, being dressed by the designers,
with Abbey, everybody always wants her there.
She is Abbey Clancy.
She is bloody gorgeous, to be honest with you.
'Having a model agent is so crucial over Fashion Week because
'they sort out the schedules,
'you have to be at this show on that time.'
I am excited to see these clothes.
'They sort out all your fittings,
'meet the designers and get your outfits.
'That's a great thing about having Avi, the stylist,
'she goes in and picks it all for me.
'She knows my style. She knows what I like.'
Yeah, great look.
Yeah, I like that.
- Gorgeous. - We will keep these ones then.
I sometimes feel at the end of the night like the fairy godmother.
I've got to be like, "OK, hand over your jewels. Give them to me."
I know, and we're like, "No, no!"
So, we are off.
A nice afternoon in Select, getting ready, meeting the stylist,
meeting my model agents and now we're off to House Of Holland.
The Henry Holland show is always a good one.
It's one of the shows where everyone wants to be there.
His front row is mega.
DANIEL MARKS: There's always a really good energy at Henry's shows.
He has the magic combination of great clothes and an audience who love him.
HENRY HOLLAND: For me, it's about my friends.
I go and support them at their events and they support me at mine.
It just so happens they are in the public eye.
It is written about more than it normally is but I also have
a very strong family contingent that come every season
and takes up 40 chairs.
So, you know, it's not just the ones you know about.
DANIEL MARKS: This isn't rent a crowd.
It's about people who are supportive of the designer 365 days a year.
They're not just brought in for Fashion Week.
The front row is absolutely for PR and advertising
and really it can generate amazing PR for an entire season by getting
the right people there and they use the images after images.
I can't tell you how valuable it is.
I think they would spend a lot of money to get it right
because it reflects their brand.
DANIEL MARKS: If you get a picture of a great girl
who has a big social media following
and having a photograph of her wearing that dress
does you no harm whatsoever.
But it's not about a bribery
and corruption to get the right people on your front row.
This is really much more genuine than that.
I don't know if it's true about some people being paid to
sit on the front row but I suspect it might be.
It may not be paid with money,
it may be paid with clothes it may be all sorts of things.
People get paid to go to parties, they do. So why not come to a show?
It's part of the advertising budget so why not?
Wouldn't you want all the cool girls like Alexa and Pixie and Daisy
and they are all here -
the girls that girls at home aspire to be like.
Alexa Chung because she's just amazing. I love the way she dresses.
She is my style icon. And, yeah, she is just my idol.
She's really different.
She is simple but absolutely gorgeous.
She was nice and close.
- Are you pleased? - Yeah. I'm delighted.
I didn't even realise it was her
cos there was someone in front of her
and then I, like, spotted her. It was amazing.
And it was Pixie who was in front of her in the end, so, yeah!
A model walking down the catwalk,
they can dismiss as someone who's unattainable.
It's beauty that they'll never achieve because she is six foot one
and her waist is a 22,
whereas if you have someone sat front row
who's a normal body shape who has a career they know about,
they have a husband, they have children,
they know all these things about them
and they also see them wearing your pieces,
then they can relate to that much more easily.
I think because we're big fans of, like, Rita and people like that,
cos we enjoy their music, when we see them, it's kind of like a buzz,
it's a thrill.
We want to get closer to them. There's Daisy, look.
It is really hard because, like, the paparazzi all get in the way.
But we get in their way probably just as much as they get in ours.
REPORTERS CLAMOUR Rita Ora!
There's always loads of paparazzi surrounding Henry's show.
It can be quite intense, like, you step out the car,
there's a million flashes in your face.
It's quite a weird experience.
REPORTERS: Abbey! Abbey!
DANIEL MARKS: For me, fashion is an incredibly visual language
and I think people in the music industry or television world
really understand the power of fashion.
You don't have to open your mouth to be on the front page
of a newspaper in a fabulous-looking dress.
NEW SPEAKER: They get amazing exposure because there are tons
and tons of people taking pictures non-stop.
It's brilliant. They look great, they've had hair and make-up done.
It makes them look cool.
# But first let me take a selfie! #
ABBEY CLANCY: It was an incredible show.
I love the Marshall amps in the background, the clothes, the music.
It was incredible.
# Let me take a selfie. #
So, it is day two, Sunday. And we're off to Top Shop.
It's the hot ticket everyone wants, you know, and it's really interesting
because they're the only high-street store
that show at London Fashion Week
and everyone is desperate to get hold of a ticket for this show,
so it's going to be really exciting.
I hear it's in a big old car park
so excited to see what kind of vibe they've got going.
NEW SPEAKER: Ever since Sir Philip Green took over
Top Shop it's gotten better and better
and better and better every season, in terms of celebrity draw.
You have the branding board wall
and they corral the celebrities with the white rope when they come in.
Their PRs are there and they're ticking off the list
and they really know how to work it
and then they put all the biggest, most powerful,
most column-inches-grabbing names in extremely close
proximity to get the perfect shot
and it propels it and propels it and they're brilliant at it.
I would say Anna Wintour's the big hit.
CLARE DRUMMOND: We always look to have girls on our front row
that are excelling in something.
This season we put Hailee Steinfeld who has six films out over
the next few months. We sat her next Anna because we think
she's going to be the next big thing
and she's already obviously been Oscar-nominated.
We want to talk about girls that are great and are achieving great things
so that's kind of how we plan our front row.
I am a fan of Top Shop. I think most girls are.
I'm excited to see what we're going to be wearing next season.
INTERVIEWER: Who else will you be sitting next to on the front row?
I don't know. I haven't even seen where I'm sitting yet.
I just came straight to you guys.
# I'm wasted
# All I wanna do is drive home to you, baby. #
It's really interesting. The front row is divided, right?
It is a power hierarchy, for sure.
This bench is for editors, over there is for the top buyers
in the world and then you have the bloggers
and, like, everyone has their seat.
MELANIE RICKEY: It's very businesslike.
The most senior person sits in the front row in order of seniority.
They go back and often on a front row, if you see the editor
of British Vogue, she will make every single person behind her,
every single one directly behind her, will be her team.
CHARLOTTE MOORE: If you're an editor of a glossy magazine,
you go on the front row,
Always I'm on the front row, yeah.
INTERVIEWER: Would you go if you weren't on the front row?
Probably not, no. It's just one of those things cos all your colleagues,
all the people you know and you work with all sit
on the front row so if you don't get on, then it's embarrassing,
Yeah, it's kind of important for your status.
Yeah, it's the sort of thing I don't...I wouldn't have thought
I would care about but, unfortunately, everyone else goes,
"No, you've got to care about it. It's really important."
JANE BRUTON: Fashion is a 20-billion-plus business
so where you sit is sort of indicative of where that brand thinks
you are in the pecking order
and if suddenly your seat is demoted, then it would be quite
difficult to, erm...
Well, you'd have to find out why that had happened, really, I think.
NEW SPEAKER: I really feel for the PRs.
I think they have a very tough job, they have to make tough decisions.
There's one designer this season who normally has 300 tickets
to give out but cos they haven't got so much money this season,
they only have 100 and that that person, the PR,
is having to tell 200 people she always gives tickets to,
"I'm really sorry," and that's tough.
# Baby... #
If you saw today three of our VIPs that turned up were very late
and because there was no space we had to kind of slot them in.
Can you move down a little bit? I'm so sorry about this.
'So, yeah, they were late and we had to accommodate them.'
Also, there was somebody else that was here today
and we actually had given them a second row,
they wanted a first row seat
but there was no space and they left the venue...
before the show started, not happy.
Our job is a lot of the time is about saying no.
It doesn't matter if you're a celebrity or an editor
or a blogger or a store, there is a priority list.
Come this way.
And I tell you, it's ruthless.
The minute you lose the thing that gives you the front row bit, boom.
It's like an ejector seat.
You're fired to the back row, next stop - standing,
next stop - no invite at all.
So, the front row is the...
I suppose, the ultimate expression of fashion Darwinism.
It's mental, it's always crazy, and you know what?
It doesn't matter if you have the ticket because probably three
other people have the same ticket with the same number,
so it's like survival of the fittest in terms of bum space
and you sharpen your elbows, you hope for the best,
if you manage to stay seated - that's key.
# Because you know I'm all about that bass, about that bass... #
But it's a good view, you know, so you hang in there.
It's worth the shuffle. It's worth the whole thing.
# Yeah, it's pretty clear I ain't no size two
# But I can shake it, shake it like I'm supposed to do
# Cos I got that boom boom That all the boys chase
# All the right junk in all the right places! #
ABBEY CLANCY: How are you? PHILIP GREEN: Have a little dance.
How are you? Great show.
- All right, honey? - Yeah.
- How are you? - All good.
- Happy with the show? - Yes, excellent.
This particular collection today is probably the most wearable
- we've produced. - Yeah, I do.
I thought it was all...you know,
I could picture it in my mind, talking to my daughter,
saying, what are you... discussing different pieces.
When are you going to send me one of them sheer sequin dresses, then?
Oh, we'll fix it. ABBEY LAUGHS
- Right, very easy. - I'm being very cheeky...
- Abbey wants to wear one of those sheer...
- Absolutely. - So, it's done. Fix it.
Fabulous. Thank you.
- What colour do you want? - When and where?
- Any. White or black. - OK, OK, done.
- Fabulous. Thank you. - I'll give you my number.
- Yeah. - You call me and we'll sort it out.
- Was that easy? - Speak soon.
- Thank you very much. - You'll get your outfit, kid.
Thank you. Thanks for doing that.
So, our last stop is Jonathan Saunders and it's a very,
very different setting to earlier on today at Top Shop, the old car park.
We're going to the British Museum.
I don't really know what to expect from Jonathan's show
but I'm guessing it's gonna be sophisticated and glamorous.
# I can't go home alone again Need someone to numb the pain. #
He really knows how to dress a woman.
He's renowned for his silks, his prints
and he uses old school techniques
of silk printing and it's just really fashion-forward as well.
I just love him and he's great as a person
and I definitely love going to his shows.
Jonathan Saunders is one of the big big shows of London Fashion Week
so when it gets to Sunday night,
you've already had a massive long day so once you get there, you're hoping
for a really great collection,
you're not necessarily expecting celebrities.
It's not like Burberry where you know there will be eight
different celebrities but you know you will get some great fashion.
Amazing, well done. You look great.
- I look sweaty! - No, you don't.
- You look fabulous. Oh, well done. - Hi, gorge.
- So proud of you. - Thank you.
- So spooky. - It was, wasn't it?
Amazing. I loved it. No, I'm just coming to say well done and...
- Oh, you're an angel. - ..thanks for having me.
Oh, it's a pleasure, it's a pleasure. You look nice in the dress.
- Thank you, my love. - You like this space?
- It's so beautiful. - Insane.
Your show has been the best by far. On a different level. Insane.
A very hard-working team down there.
I'm going to have to come and order one of everything now.
Good! It's all yours.
A perfect end to Fashion Week. That show was magnificent.
The venue, the music, the collection
and I hope everyone's just got a little insight
into what it is like to be
on the front row at London Fashion Week but, for me, I'm exhausted.
I'm going home, putting my 'jamas on and getting into bed. Bye!
For any designer, getting the right celebrity to adorn your front row during London Fashion Week is crucial. Joining the likes of Anna Wintour, Pixie Geldof and Alexa Chung on the coveted “frow”, Abbey Clancy reveals the PR secrets behind top British designers Henry Holland and Jonathan Saunders and meets the man behind one of the starriest frows, Sir Philip Green of Topshop.