Harrods’s Helen David On How She Survives Fashion Week

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With eight years at the store that is befitting of London-landmark status, David now has a fine-tuned understanding of how to expertly conduct the season and to select items that not only feel right for her, but the diverse Harrods customer too.

“New York started the season off with a bang of colour with red and pink continuing to saturate the collections”, David shared with Vogue. However, as she explained, it wasn’t only in the colour palettes that femininity could be found. “Athleisure still rules our American brands but there has been a distinct shift back to feminine eveningwear with a focus on long gowns.” Her New York highlight? A visit backstage to see the “true old-school glamour” of Dennis Basso up close with the man himself.

Fast forward to the city in which she works and David found that eveningwear still dominated the London catwalks. “Theatrical dressing was the order of the day. From the over the top ‘daywear’ at Ralph & Russo’s debut ready-to-wear collection to a host of after-hour options at Peter Pilotto and Fifties elegance at Erdem, the mood was polished and feminine, and not at all understated. The usual quirk of London was replaced this season with glamour and polish. Natasha Zinko was my overriding favourite show of the week; I thought her first runway shot was an absolute hit and each look stronger than the next.”

From Left: Helen David, Roksanda Illincic, Peter Pilotto and Christopher De Vos

The colourful mood also landed in Milan, which David explains “started off with a very high note” at the spring/summer 2018 Gucci show. “Nothing thus far this season has felt as right and as so joyous as Alessandro Michele’s Gucci collection. Versace owned Friday night, with Donatella’s dedication to Gianni being a stunning retrospective show that had us all hoping we can all wear the Nineties printed shirts again. Dolce & Gabbana rounded out the week with a slightly quirkier than usual, but romantic as ever show, solidifying the pastels, florals and intricate embroidered trends that we have seen across the cities thus far.”

Of course, with Paris Fashion week continuing, this whirlwind city dash isn’t over for David so it’s important that she and her team bring out the fun side. “We work hard but do have what I would consider to be some of the most enviable jobs on the planet; if we can’t enjoy sitting in the front row, writing buys for the hottest collections, and working with a myriad of talented and interesting people, then something is wrong. It is important to have a laugh.”

As David explains, there’s not even a need to wait for the first show to start before the fun can begin. “I always create a new playlist before the season starts. They’re an essential as we listen to them in the car when going from show to show, and they’re particularly useful for the early starts when we aren’t quite ready to speak to each other!”

With Harrods as her wardrobe, it’s no surprise that she struggles to streamline her fashion week luggage. While some are precious to only take over-head baggage, David instead goes the opposite and is a “big believer in having choices in the morning.” Her thought process for this? “You never know what will strike your mood so I always over pack”.

As a truly seasoned show-goer, David is in a position to offer advice to those that will mark spring/summer 2018 as their first season of visiting the international designer presentations. “My four don’ts are: Don’t try too hard. Don’t show up too early. Don’t show up too late. Don’t have an attitude”. Sounds like sound advice to us.

With downtime being as precious as the gems you might find in Harrods newly refurbished Fine Jewellery Room , David has her time well mapped. Snacks take first priority, then emails, checking in with her team and lastly a sprinkling of retail therapy. World-renowned shopping destinations don’t run by themselves you know.

After four weeks of back-to-back, how does David return to an equilibrium? She promptly books a holiday to a location where sun and sand are a given, all before the couture shows commence just a few weeks later.

Follow Helen David during London, Paris and Milan Fashion Weeks on Harrods’s Instagram page.
Shop now at Harrods.com



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