At the end of last year I had the amazing opportunity to go to Clothes Show Live with Olympus and try their stunning PEN E-PL7 camera - it was truly a day to remember! It started back in November when I was invited to a blogger breakfast at the Ham Yard Hotel (I know, I know – I should just LIVE THERE!) where we got to meet the amazing Hilary Alexander (legend!) plus Karl Willett, director of the main fashion show, and hear some insider secrets before Clothes Show Live went live. By the time I headed off to the Birmingham NEC I couldn't wait to see everything!
On arrival, Kirsty and I checked into the Shopstyle Bloggers Bar - a comfy area with everything a blogger could ask for: sofas, endless cups of tea, laptops and Wi-Fi. This was our base to keep coming back to when we needed to re-fuel, and later in the day we were paid a visit by none other than Jamie Laing. He was so much fun, and totally at ease being grilled by a bunch of bloggers with one question after another. As well as telling us how and why he started Candy Kittens whilst a student at Leeds University, he told us the advice handed to him by his mum that makes him so charming: be nice to everyone you meet on the way up, you never know who you'll be seeing on the way down. Watch the interview in my vlog.
As lovely as Jamie Laing was, the highlight of the day for me was getting to stand in the press pit of the main fashion show – a treat that Olympus had arranged for us. The Alcatel Onetouch fashion theatre was packed out with an audience excited for Karl Willett's amazing spectacle of dance and fashion (and MUSIC! Taylor Swift features twice!). This year had a New York theme, and we got to see set pieces from Coney Island, Wall Street, Times Square, Central Park, and my favourite – Studio 54 (above). The show was introduced by designer Henry Holland, and Neon Jungle warmed up the crowds.
Being right in front of the stage snapping away next to actual fashion photographers was just immense, and as you can see, the Olympus PEN did a great job with capturing the models in action. You really have to see this for yourself – even if you fastforward the bits with me and Jamie Laing - watch this show!
I had to laugh at Kirsty who squealed every time male models in pants came near us. She didn't know where to look. I just loved how the models looked directly at us when they hit the end of the runway – always looking for that camera and working it!
As well as the main fashion show, we were also given reserved seats in the 'frow' at the Olympus Pen catwalk for emerging designers. This was definitely an odd mix of a show – one person had used baked-bean tins and Pringles as an inspiration… But it was great to see what the next generation of fashion creators had come up with, you can also see highlights of this in my vlog (I don't think I've plugged that quite enough yet, do you?).
I also used my Olympus PEN whilst out and about in the NEC, chatting with Ciate, Bootea, and Nip+Fab. We spotted several other Made in Chelsea-ers, including Spencer and Proudlock, and chuckled at Peter Andre, Joey Essex and YouTubers Mazzi Maz and Alfie Deyes getting mobbed by hordes of teen fans. An oasis of calm was to be found on the Elemis SpaBus where Kirsty and I were whisked to the top deck to have glorious complimentary massages. I cannot tell you how fantastic it was to unwind in the middle of such a hectic day and be pampered by the Elemis experts. When we finally headed back to London, Olympus goody bags in hand, it really hit me just how hard I'd been concentrating on taking photos all day. It is hard work – honest! Thanks so much to Olympus and Shopstyle for this amazing opportunity, and well done to Karl Willett and his team – utterly freakin' fantastic show!
For details of the 2015 Clothes Show Live head to their website. If you watched my vlog I GOTTA know what you made of that New York show? Is it just me, or is it amazing?! Leave me a comment below! x