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You have got your ticket, you have attended the show and even managed to get into the designer’s after show party, but what you really want to know is what happens behind the scenes at Fashion Week?

For those images you did not get to see in your favourite magazine, take a stroll down to the Catwalk to Cover: A Front Row Seat at the Fashion and Textile Museum. Pop music, bright lights and curtains, you would be forgiven for thinking you were at a show. It captures all the atmosphere of fashion week whilst including the politics, history and celebrity. The whole experience of walking through the exhibition is designed to make you feel part of the catwalk process. The ground floor enters you into where all the action happens at the front row, then you can strut (or walk) through to the catwalk in the main section, up a level into the exclusivity of the backstage, muse over model’s style and then finish with how catwalk fashion has converted onto the street.

A poignant moment of viewing the gallery of front row images is a snap of the late Heath Ledger at a Marc Jacobs. It makes you realise how many of these photographs on the walls are immortalised in fashion history. Everywhere you look you are given opportunity to gaze at another tantalising spectacle; images appear like models as they hang with fluidity yet with uniformity in the main room. Another key quirk of the exhibition is the quotations from the fashion pack describing their personal experience of a catwalk show. It is not all glitz and glamour, as you do come away receiving an education on the very first catwalk show and how it became the most sought after event in the Fashion calendar. Did you know that Fashion Week started in America in 1940 because it was impossible to travel to Paris to watch the shows?

A Prada montage show video plays on loop as you leave. It is a whimsical treat and like any good show it ensures that the feeling of lightness after being entertained is carried with you beyond the confines of the Fashion and Textile building walls. A place where you get to see a Kate Moss hologram, a shot of a bodyguard helping a model down from the catwalk and an archive Thierry Muglar image from 1983, what are you waiting for? Lights, camera, fashion, get ready for your close up.

Caroline Barnes

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