Jonathan Gibb reviews the St Andrews Charity Fashion Show 2015, the largest and most successful student-run event in the UK, which raised money for the Edinburgh-based charity It’s Good 2 Give. 

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Before I can even begin to write anything about FS this year, I have to admit how stunned I was throughout the evening that it was a student-run event. The amount of planning, communications, and choreography that went into executing such a flawless show is truly difficult to summarise in a single article.

Is there anything that comes quite close to it? No, not hardly. Having attended FS last year, I was even more impressed this time around by how the committee managed to capitalise on the space within the marquee; with its ridiculously generous proportions, trying to fill it comfortably seems daunting. However, that is exactly what they managed to do – it never felt too crowded nor overly spacious during the show.

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Especially when coupled with the new-age projections on the screen, this year’s theme – ‘Eyes Wide Shut’ – could not have been a better fit. Being quite the Kubrick fan, I was both excited and rather confused about how exactly the theme was going to be tied in; however, the opening to the show was flawlessly relevant. From the spooky masquerade masks to the jet-black lingerie, everything felt so in place. And this introduction could not have been achieved so well without the musical accompaniment of Joe Jones’ cover of Paul Mayson’s Ivory, combined with some stellar lighting and mixing. If you can’t quite get enough of the soundtrack, you will be glad to know that it is available on Soundcloud, which is truly the icing on the cake.

I was impressed by the quality of sponsors this year, though it is FS, after all, and guests should always come with high expectations.  A bottle of Lanson White Label and some interesting Bacardi combination decanted into a wooden chest were featured on each table. However, as always, shady characters seemed to steal the complimentary alcohol from neighbouring tables before oblivious guests arrived. Initial table service, albeit a logistical nightmare to arrange, would have easily solved this problem. I’m usually suspicious of the Union bar at such large-scale events, but I’ve never witnessed such a smooth and professional performance on their part.

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Let’s not forget the charity behind the event. Throughout the years, FS has raised frankly ridiculous amounts of capital for some truly inspirational charities, and this year was no exception. The fact that they managed to put on such an impressive event without sparing any expense, while still raising impressive sums for donation, should make FS the envy of anyone planning an event in this town. Fashion and philanthropy (as so eloquently stated in their post-show press release) is no doubt a winning formulation they have perfected over the years. I do hope It’s Good 2 Give receives their continued support.

I have found it difficult to evaluate the after party, however. After enjoying the excellent show, I quickly ran back home and by the time I returned the after party was in full swing – another benefit of having the event in Lower College Lawn. I found the juxtaposition of the show and after party a bit bizarre in a rather unpleasant way, and there was definitely much need for a central dance floor or some re-organisation of the space available. Though, this no doubt would have compromised the gargantuan catwalk, which would not have been a worthy sacrifice. FS is really all about the show.

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All in all – as predictable as it sounds – FS is not something to be missed. It’s completely over the top and outlandishly decadent. Why does it continually do so well? It’s the levels of professionalism behind every aspect of that truly sets it apart from the rest. Bravo, once again, FS.

 

 

Jonathan Gibb

 

Photography courtesy of St Andrews Charity Fashion Show (http://www.standrewsfashion.co.uk)