Guerrilla Catwalk Show at the British Museum
The ego-pandering etiquette of Fashion Week is never anything other than an endless fucking bore. Oh, ageing fashion editor, you want me to move so you and your army of studded and leathered lapdogs can teeter through in a wave of unjustified, self-satisfied snoot? Yeah, that's completely fine. Snobby guys elbowing me in the ribs to make sure they're just one miniscule step ahead in the queue? I can totally get into that. Everything about it sucks, but you just go with it because there's normally no other option if you're interested in watching people wear some clothes that differ very slightly to the clothes you saw the previous season.
Thank the soul of Gianni Versace, then, for people like Roberto Piqueras, who realise that the world of fashion is fundamentally ridiculous; eschewing the tedious rigmarole of seating politics and venue-wide outfit judgement for self-organised, self-promoted shows that anyone can attend. Last season he showed in an estate in Bethnal Green. This season, he took a fleet of models to parade around the British Museum, so we went along to watch the security guards getting pissed off at people wearing weird clothes.
Roberto hired a room in Russell Square's Imperial Hotel to dress and make-up all his models. As far as I could tell, the Imperial is usually exclusively used for functions by mid-level businessmen from Yorkshire who encapsulate absolutely everything that comes to mind when you think "mid-level businessman from Yorkshire". So, all the bizarre, blue-lipped aliens wandering around must have come as a bit of a shock to the Imperial's regular clientele. Maybe not. Maybe I'm being presumptuous and elitist, but I doubt it.
I fell head-over-heels for these two girls. One of them had a block-filled tattoo of Africa (swoon), they both seemed like they despised me – only glaring, never breaking a smile – and there's nothing more attractive to me than complete and utter contempt and unavailability. That guy in the middle didn't seem to quite have the hang of that antipathy swag just yet, though.
The collection itself was pretty cool; like if John Baldessari stumbled across time travel while blitzed on DMT, travelled to 3030 and threw up his dreams into the input of a digital printer. Right?
The Olympics made it in there too, of course. Please don't sue, Roberto, guys – it's an homage, not a breach of copyright.
We all strolled from the hotel up to the British Museum, with Roberto leading the charge. That's him on the right with the two-tone hair, btw. People stared, people pointed, people laughed – we were young, we were wild, we were luminous.
I would have thought that the people of London would be more acclimatised to seeing weirdos in public spaces by now, but as Roberto gathered his models to run them through the plan, an inquisitive crowd began to build, flanking us like a baying group of people who wondered why there were a bunch of adults wearing garish, neon clothing in a museum in 2012.
The stairs were cleared and the show began in a synchronised stride as strong as any of the scheduled fashion shows you would have had to queue to watch. Models were moody, tourists were confused and the whole thing was slightly, brilliantly awkward.
For whatever inexplicable reason, you're not allowed to stage your own events in the British Museum without consent from the management. It's like they don't want everything getting ruined, or something. That being the case, the security guard tried his best to talk Roberto into closing the show down, but didn't actually do very much about it at all. Maybe the guy was just super involved in the magic of the spectacle and was trying to kill time by making it look like he cared. Fashion - 1, good guy just doing his job - 0. Take that, sucker!
The show finished as soon as it had started and we all left the museum – the models riding high on pure, fashion-enhanced adrenaline, me trying to avoid the half-threatening glares of security guards and young mothers who seemed keen to get uppity about people having a good time.
Photos: Coco Capitán
Follow Jamie on Twitter: @jamie_clifton
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