Earlier this year the fashion house Balmain announced they would be teaming up with retailer H&M to produce a collection of affordable fashion for the high street. Balmain items are normally seriously highly priced and usually only adorn the wealthy and well-known. As you can imagine this caused some excited anticipation in the ranks of fashion fans everywhere.
Last week the collection was finally released to a feverish public. Queues started the night before outside H&M stores around the world. When the doors opened there was chaos as customers flooded into stores pushing and shoving to grab the best items. My friend and fashion blogger Georgiana of The Fashion Morning arrived a little later in the morning to almost bare shelves except for a bra, a pair of earrings and a purse.
We had planned to do a photo shoot with the outfit she was intending to get at the collection release, but a bra and pair of earrings would be a little chilly in London in November so Georgiana accessorised them with a green velvet jacket and black velvet trousers from Zara.
Since London Fashion Week wasn't held at Somerset House this year we thought it might be nice to head there for a few photos. Unfortunately the courtyard was very busy with the installation of the ice rink for the winter celebrations. We got a few shots and headed through the building to the southern side which faces the river.
As we walked through Georgiana spotted the smart leather sofas arranged in the hall which are for visitors to rest their feet, pause for a moment or wait for friends. They looked great and were completely empty. I imaging most people were staying out of the chilly wind at home or were busy on Oxford Street christmas shopping.
Before I brought the camera to my eye I thought I'd better ask one of the two gentlemen sitting at the information desk if it would be ok to take some photos. They said it would be fine but I must have disconcerted them a little as when I did start snapping one called John came from round the desk to ask if this was commercial work. It was a fair question and understandably provoked by the large lens on my camera. It is pretty big, a pale cream colour and expensive looking. Not many amateurs have kit like that, but I'm kind of very keen and enthusiastic and this particular lens makes really lovely photos with lovely out of focus backgrounds when used in a certain way. With assurances in place we took a few more photos and got ready to move on. I know photographers are often thought to be nuisance poking their lenses everywhere so I went to thank John for allowing us to take a few photos. We ended up chatting for a few minutes about London Fashion Week having moved to Soho and how it was a shame as Somerset House is such a beautiful location for the event. I gave John one of my contact cards so if he happens to be reading this, I'd like to say thanks again from both Georgiana & me. I love the photo we were able to take.
Back outside there is a large open area with tables and chairs left out for public use. Thinking about it now, I don't think there are many other places in London where seating is provided without a linked cafe and the implication that something should be purchased before sitting down.
Next we move to the back of one of the huge old stone buildings that line the Eastern end of The Strand where a stone bench seemed to make a nice place to lie down and read a book. It must have been cold but Georgiana was ok with my daft idea.
Finally we finished with some photos under Blackfriars Bridge. Although it wasn't a sunny day the light at the edge of the bridge shadow was quite soft. In photo circles it's usually known as open shade; a place where there is no direct light but diffuse light reflected from the surroundings. No hard shadows and squinting models. It's neither right nor wrong just different and I'm really happy with the look it has given the photos we took in this location.
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