Last Saturday, the FS entourage (made up of 31 committee members, 18 models, and a whole host of designers, hair and make-up artists, sponsors, photographers, bar staff and not forgetting the team of burly bouncers) took over St Salvatore’s Quad and lower college lawn for their twentieth annual show.
Even the archaic quad underwent a makeover: glitzed up into a swanky Alfa Romeo car showroom, where FS embellished and pimped-up cars were parked up on the usually forbidden grass. The show’s tent entrance had an odd Santa’s-grotto meets Valentine’s theme vibe, with an arrangement of leafy pines, rose buds and glitter lining the walkway – no doubt the first of many hints towards the show’s thematic concept of fashion ‘unearthed’.
In the midst of fashion-season-mania (Catwalk at the end of February, Paris Fashion Week starting today and DONT WALK still to come), the St Andrews Charity Fashion Show is billed as one of the most highly anticipated social events in the academic calendar. Notoriously proficient in their commitment to putting on a high calibre show, FS 2012 has been in the making for 10 months. No wonder then, that even as the show burst into action and the corks began to pop, a well rehearsed military operation (involving crowd control, schmoozing and time management) was underway and quietly managed by the show’s vast crew. `
As at most fashion events, the guests provided their very own style-spectacle before the catwalk show began. The off-stage effort stakes were high, with an army of sky-scraper heels, bronzed legs, designer gowns and quaffed manes that demanded admiration by all those sneaking a peek.
A U-shaped catwalk framed the VIP area and utilized the space to ensure that both the stadium and table seats always had something to see. Last year’s DJ-in-the-sky stunt was remodeled with a DJ-with-a-bar-below set up, unashamedly functioning as a private bar for VIP guests to stock up on the fizz.
Professional dancers opened the show with an innovative and beautifully choreographed ballet-focused routine, which set the tone for the models’ first appearances: all in black and blindfolded, they swooped in and out, leaving the hyped-up and fizzing crowd blaring for more.
Stand out collections included Milan based Ida Lundberg’s haute couture Grecian evening dresses, delicately built with billowing silks and sequins that glistened like second skins. Less ethereal and more masochistic was Julia Koistinen’s custom made collection that combined human hair (of the peroxide blonde variety), latex, plastic and patent leather to create the boldest look of the night with its air of regal kinkiness. Mimi Holliday underwear by Damaris saw female models wrapped up like presents – silk ribbons tied up at the back of the knickers to create oversized bows that added a slinky mischievousness to the otherwise bashful collection.
For men, 21st CENTURY KILTS meant that Scottish origins (and modern heritage tweeds) were not forgotten and a gentrified elegance was thrown into the mix. Chunky knitwear from the Norwegian menswear brand, Harald Lunde Helgesen, demonstrated an organic, home-grown feel, aligning itself most naturally with the ‘unearthed’ concept – perhaps a result of the designer’s inspirations that were discovered in ‘inherited pieces and vintage finds’. In case anyone missed a look or fancied checking out who was front row, the entire show was filmed live and projected back onto gigantic screens, magnifying the professional intentions of the FS team… as well as the voyeuristic secret glances of the vying crowd.