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London: Fashionistas And Festivals

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I travel to London two or three times a year and not simply to visit the same friends, shop the same boutiques, or walk my favorite streets. London is a city so vast, that no matter how often I arrive, I find myself discovering and interacting with distinctly vibrant and energizing cultural territories that I've missed the last time round.

Last April, I declared Coachella to be the Rolls-Royce of festivals, but I do have to say that the Rolls has been overtaken by a Bugatti known as Bestival.

I caught a ride from London straight onto the ferry at Portsmouth with my dear friend Sonny, who was headlining the festival. Less than 40 minutes later I was delivered to the lush and sensuous Isle of Wight. Set against such a deeply inspiring setting, the four day festival is about more than just music; it is about the relationship you enter in with nature. I highly recommend renting one of the charming cottages that populate the Isle of Wight, whether during Bestival of simply for a restful sojourn.

I would have loved to stay longer in the magically wooded and voluptuous forest that is Robin Park, but alas, so much to do, so little time.

The next day I travelled to Bethnal Green, an agrarian community turned urban area, a district of the East End of London and a prime example of a community re-building itself. Much of Bethnal Green had suffered tremendous aerial bombardment during WWII and only just recently can you see a population shifting towards gentrification, not forgetting the past, but instead polishing it.

The city still feels gritty and a bit rough around the edges, but the architecture is nothing less than magnificent, in fact one Art-Deco building in particular is so gorgeous that one of my closest girlfriends, Lucy, chose it to be the place she was wed.

As the wedding drew to a close, I figured it best not to put my heels to waste, and hopped in a cab to Shoreditch House, a private members club housed in the top 3 floors of a stunningly renovated East London warehouse.

I then returned to a London transformed by Fashion Week. The city seemed to be in more of a frenzy than usual. Transport was nearly impossible outside of walking, taking subways and trains, which proved to be not only efficient but enjoyable. Every which way I turned I was surrounded by models, designers, and hordes of fashionistas hopping from runway to runway.

The hub of Fashion Week was at Somerset House, a spectacular Neoclassical building in the heart of London, sitting between the Strand and the River Thames. But my favorite event had to be the Matthew Williamson after-party, held at the Tate Modern's top floor, which provides panoramic views and a gorgeous vantage point of Bankside, Central London.

If you are planning to attend London Fashion Week, remind yourself that fashion events alongside the general dynamism of daily cultural happenings lead to scarce accommodations and increased room-rates, so make sure to book your rooms early ;)

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