Postcards from the Edge of the Catwalk – A review

by Katie on October 19, 2010

During London Fashion Week, I came across a much lauded name from my PR past:  Iain R Webb.  Iain’s new book, ‘Postcards From The Edge of the Catwalk’ (ACC Editions) was promoted on the walls of the press tent.  Myriad coloured postcards featuring Steven Linnard, Boy George, David Holah, Stephen Jones, Isabella Blow and Hilary Alexander as well as various designers, models and fashion types past and present, were strewn across one large wall.  This, I had to find out about.

Iain was a super talented writer and stylist, previously fashion director at Elle, Harpers and Queen and the re-launched Riva magazine to name a few, as well as starting his career at Blitz magazine, where I first came across him and the wonderfully stylish Kim Bowen.
Those were heady days in the ’80’s.  It seemed like anyone with energy, talent, vision and creativity could just go out there and ‘do it’ with no stipulations.  All you needed was individualism, true talent and a yearning to make a difference.  Street style and attitude came from the ground up and you learned on the job as a photographer, journalist, art director, stylist or PR.  You actually had to have ‘it’ though.  No time for fakers or hyper connected media wannabees, back then.  Maverick PRs such as Lynne Franks, Jean Bennett and Marysia Woroniecka had all the best clients and the hottest, hippest, trained PR staff, back when PR was understood by the populace as giving away leaflets in bars and clubs.  And boy, did we work.  We were constantly on the job.

Clubs and bars were are integral to London media life as working in a creative environment:  On the heels of Blitz club and Taboo, the young movers and shakers hung out at, at various times at The Criterion, Soho Brasserie, Freds, Dive Bar, Legends, RAW (run by Oliver Peyton), Kinky Gerlinky, Heaven, The Fridge in Brixton, Groucho, 192 in Westbourne Park Road and in various clubs as incarnations underneath The Westway.  I remember a huge and infamous Pet Shop Boys party held there where dreams merge with reality but that’s a whole other story… Anyway, I digress.


Iain was a permanently affable, humorous and polite, blonde haired man with a penchant for partying almost as much for styling and writing.  What can I say?  Back then, there was very little difference between socialising and working…you simply merged from one to the other and back again.  Friends had positions at Blitz, The Face, i-D mag as well as Vogue, Harpers and Elle or worked in designer stores like Jones or Paul Smith.  And yet, it was the most creative, exciting and stimulating time of our lives.  We all had no idea what we were actually doing – breaking boundaries, taking on the establishment and turning the fashion industry on its head.  Were we really part of a movement?  Looking back, I thank God for being part of it all for the mentors and friends around me, many of whom are still in and around the industry.  We all still run into one another and acknowledge what a special time it was.  The irony is, we’re all now presenters, writers, editors, business men and women, top PRs and consultants.  Not so bad for a group of weirdly dressed youth with attitude, eh?

Iain’s newly released ‘Postcards from the Edge of Catwalk’ is a must for anyone who lived through the 80’s, 90’s and lately, noughties London fashion industry as well as for those wanting to catch a glimpse of bite sized pieces of fashion history from that period. 
What makes Mr Webb’s book so captivating and charming is the forward by Italian Vogue’s Anna Piaggi, Iain’s personal recollections at the book’s beginning as well as the hundreds of excerpts from international catwalk life.  It catches the verve and vitality of the moment as well as the various celebs and fashion figures who all helped to make it happen.  Just flicking through the book gives you goosebumps as you re-live shows or catch a glimpse of well known fashion figures off guard.  The energy contained within them is inescapable as is the compulsion to go from cover to cover and search for stories within these.  Designers, muses, fashion journalists, celebrities, models and mavericks share pages with one another as well as this wonderful fashion life.  The lesson truly is, if you don’t love it and live fashion, get out of it.  Leave it to us.  We’re still all that passionate.

Postcards from the Edge of the Catwalk by Iain R Webb is released in October.  £24.95 (ACC Editions).  To order a copy, call 01394 389977 or go online at www.accpublishinggroup.com
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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Team Chutzpah October 19, 2010 at 8:00 am

I was born 10 years too late *sigh*

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That's Not My Age October 19, 2010 at 8:06 am

Iain is a lovely man, and I can’t wait to read this book!

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Katie Chutzpah October 19, 2010 at 9:09 am

@TeamChutzpah, “are you inferring I’m aged etc etc.”

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Team Chutzpah October 19, 2010 at 9:24 am

Hahaha no. I’m saying that, if I was born a decade earlier, I *might* not be up here folding napkins 🙁

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The Very Simon G October 20, 2010 at 12:33 pm

Fabulous! I might need to buy! x

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