Ten months in the making, a pop-up shop, 1200 guests in attendance, 20 models, 720 gift bags, 40 collections, five Alfa Romeo student designer finalists, over 400 outfits… St. Andrews’ hugely anticipated Charity Fashion Show 2011 arrived last weekend. Did it live up to the hype?
In the ‘cheap’ seats
I bought what one VIP-goer described as a “bleachers” ticket (or what FS prefers to call a Stadium seat) to see what impact it had on my viewing experience. And despite feeling a little like cattle penned in behind the metal barrier erected to section us off from the swathes of More Important People, being up in the bleachers actually proved to be an enlightening experience. From way back in the stalls, us plebeians could appreciate the sharp, symmetrical routines devised to best utilize the unusual square-shaped catwalk in a way that the VIPs definitely couldn’t. The hooded model that opened the show looked particularly haunting from afar, a motionless figure in the midst of the mayhem of an overexcited audience. And the clothes – from PPQ to Biba to St Andrews’ very own mega-talented Emma Sherlock – shone. It was only really from a distance that the audience could appreciate the ethereal magic of Sherlock’s translucent mint green, floor-sweeping skirt, letting enough light seep through to look like a fashion forward mermaid, a siren casting some kind of magical spell.
But whilst the models looked uniformly slick with their simple and stylish up-dos from the back of the room, the VIPs had it better when it came to appreciating the details of the clothes and make-up up close – because, let’s face it, the only way a real fashion-follower in the stadium seats could have got their fix would’ve been with a pair of binoculars. So come the second half of the show, I slipped under the cattle-barrier and snuck to the side of the catwalk to cheer on the models, and in the end, I had the best of both worlds.
Smoke and Mirrors
So the “Fashion Show”, and more importantly the V.I.P Fashion Show experience. And ultimately the question on my and my wallet’s delicate lips: What did we get?
Well, the bright bulbs of the FS tents beamed glamorous and promising light upon the dull science labs on North Haugh offering everything that could and could not be expected from a circus of colourfully clad cads in bright trousers, ties and jackets formicating amongst elegant and promiscuous women. The scene was certainly one worth marvelling at.
Having seated myself at my table and enjoyed my champagne and gin courtesy of my seventy pound ticket, I stopped to acknowledge Trekstock, the charity which FS and I was in turn supporting.
The show began with resplendent triumph, pounding “grab-your-crotch-and-punch-your-fist” beats which circulated amongst the enthused audience. And so the skinny, strong, whey-faced and follically blessed strutted the u-shaped stage with rote professionalism, drawing us from our table right to their venerable feet. But, did “rapture taste” so sweet? Did I really “feel like throwing my hands up in the air”?
Of course, but I can’t help but feel that amongst the DJ’s thumping decks and the inchoate alcoholism, that everyone was excited not by the ‘Fashion Show’ but by seeing familiar faces and hearing familiar songs. And so whilst my truculence might appear aimed solely at the spectacle of the “Fashion Show”, I remain dubious about whether FS was indeed a “Fashion Show”.
Ignoring my own shellback querulousness, it still seems to me to be another event where a coterie of students extended their own wealth of thanks to their own cadre of friends, without regard to fashion or charity.