The term “launch party” can be quite elusive. One wonders how much fashion will really be on display if any at all. Catwalk wasn’t badly priced at £3 a ticket with “all proceeds going directly to charity.” It seemed fairly reasonable for an event that was really just an excuse to go to the Beacon where there happened to be a few models walking about at some stage. The event took place in the Beacon Bar, upscale enough to feel like you’ve escaped the generic feel of Sandy’s, but not quite spenny enough to feel like you’re in rogue – although this didn’t stop everybody dressing up for the occasion.
Far from it, the dress code appeared to be an odd mix of a hall ball and the obligatory ‘nice dinner’ you have when family is in town. Everybody was somewhat dressed up, but not to an uncomfortable degree. The event had sold out, which isn’t awfully surprising considering it’s the Beacon, but it did mean it felt quite crowded at times. The crowd seemed to consist mostly of people there to support their friends, whether it be on the committee or as a model, and it resulted in a very friendly atmosphere, albeit a bit bougie.
The aim of the event was to announce the theme and model lineup. There was a big selection of portraits of the models stuck up on the windows which was quite nice, but I doubt many people noticed or cared massively. I wasn’t too sure how they would go about announcing the theme, but it was done rather unobtrusively with a series of balloons spelling out the word “PLAYTIME” (with a few of the letters backwards of course). In front of that there was a small paddling pool ball pit with a few inflatables chucked in for good measure. A nice setting for a barrage of pictures to be taken to flood Facebook with in the following days.
It being a fashion event there were many photographers at their disposal, whilst there may not have been a fantastic vibe, the photographers did an excellent job at making the event appear stimulating and the aesthetic of the event came through very well in the pictures. There were a couple dresses on display, one in particular being quite eye-catching – a generic form dress with pink cotton balls all over it, apparently meant to look like a pink sheep. I’m not quite sure how the costumes for the show can fit the theme of “Playtime” without being a bit dubious, but if the dresses on display were anything to go by, they’ll be very well made.
The use of the space available to them in the Beacon was done rather well, with a large coat rack at the entrance (although I must admit, I thought this was a selection of the costumes at first glance) and the main area just left as the generic Beacon Bar layout and the DJ, ball pit, and bubble machine off in the far corner with some tables pushed out of the way so the models could walk all the way through. There seemed to be enough room for everybody to get around comfortably.
When it was time for the models to go walk, some members of the committee came through the crowds and cleared out a path through the venue. There was no issue even then for space, but I imagine some people could have had difficulty seeing over the clumps of people. The lights dimmed and the music changed from the upbeat style to a thumping beat.
Once the lights were down and the crowd was hyped the models came out, each with a small bit of colourful face paint around their eyes. They were all dressed in dichromatic outfits, with white shirts and generic trousers or skirts with trainers and heels. I was initially expecting the models to be in some form of costume related to the theme, so I was somewhat disappointed. However, for a launch I believe this was a fair decision. The models came out in pairs consisting of a male and a female, walking from opposite sides of the room and posing in front of the bar for the many cameras and supporting friends. They then did a small walk around each other and left the room. This repeated a few times. Finally they all walked through single file dancing along as everybody cheered them on.
Overall, from what you could expect from a £3 event in the Beacon, it definitely delivered. I went from having zero interest in any fashion show that St Andrews has to offer (since there are too many to choose from) to getting keen for Catwalk. The display was quite entertaining and as much as I have my reservations about fashion shows due to elitism and poshness (not that St Andrews lacks either) the launch party put my mind to ease about Catwalk. If they could put on a half decent show in the Beacon Bar with a micro budget and no costumes, then I have high hopes for the full blown fashion show next semester.