London Fashion Week has been an amazing blur that's now coming to an end. Perhaps the most significant moment occurred mid-week: At St. Paul's Cathedral here in London, a powerful group of fashion insiders -- family and friends of Lee Alexander McQueen -- gathered to pay tribute and share memories of a highly creative and complicated man, an experience that personally meant so much to me as M•A•C was fortunate enough to have supported his collections for many years. Bjork sang in a costume that appeared to have wings, and Anna Wintour and Suzy Menkes spoke along with other family and friends. While the memorial itself felt honest, real, and not too saccharine, it was also larger-than-life, which is nothing less than what we've all come to expect from anything involving McQueen. It was a privilege to have been there, and an honor to share such a special moment with everyone present.
Speaking of which, I don't know any industry so lucky to have something as wonderful as the pure creative environment of London Fashion Week. It's a setting where designers and makeup artists truly risk their creative visions, and unlike the other fashion capitals, showing collections here seems like a possibility even for those lacking a huge retail business. From the mighty Paul Smith and Vivienne Westwood to emerging labels like Louise Gray or Mary Katrantzou, there's an amazing variety of all sizes and ranks of labels shown. For example, at the wonderful new Topshop venue in the old Eurostar terminal at Waterloo, Katrantzou was inspired by great architecture and interiors, and sent her models out in beautifully surreal combinations of lampshade- and blinds-inspired designs. In beauty, we saw looks that ranged from the brightest of cool "pop" colors and pastels, to the true minimalism and severity of black and white. Each and every show I witnessed was an artistic pleasure. I often found myself dreaming I was an English girl with money to spend, boutiques to shop in, and no M•A•C dress code to uphold (all black in case you're wondering).
London is also home to many of the best hair and makeup teams in the world. These masters work worldwide, but there's something especially exciting about watching them risk it all on their home turf. It was a pleasure to see work by Val Garland, Charlotte Tilbury, Sharon Dowsett and Lucia Peroni, along with the new stars, Andrew Gallimore, Lucia Pica, Hannah Murray and Sam Bryant. The list goes on and on, and all of them contribute to their crafts with equal gusto. As a fashion and beauty purist, the inspired work created here moves me. As I prepare to journey to Milan, I find myself a bit sad to leave super creative London. There's really nothing like it.