This is the most unusual review I have ever written. I have reviewed FS for 3 years now, I know what FS is capable of and I know what St Andrews expects of them. Last Saturday, the ultimate anti-climax occurred (at least in the fours years I have been here). FS was forced to cancel its infamous fashion show. The stories have been blowing all over St Andrews (excuse the pun) but just in case this issue passed you by, the FS marquee had to be evacuated of all staff and committee members as the Scottish wind refused to relent.
23 minutes before the first guests were due to arrive, an announcement was posted.
I was mid final lipstick application, when my flatmate screamed ‘stop getting ready!’ Endless angry emoji’s and comments followed the announcement, my favourite ‘will I be reimbursed for the fake tan I got for the night?’
With the highest level of professionalism FS kept their audience up to date with as much information as they could, eventually reassuring the masses that the show would be restaged on Tuesday the following week. In three days FS proved their professionalism and preparation and put on a show that worked as flawlessly as if it had been exhibited on Saturday. Guests were met with bottles of Veuve Cliquot on their table, set amongst the traditional FS colour scheme of silver and black. The music and choreography managed to infuse the audience with a buzz of excitement, despite the reduced number of guests. Please don’t assume the venue was empty, the crowds were noticeably thinner, with a net loss of 200 guests from the show and after party from the original 1400 guests due to attend on Saturday. Definitely not matching up with the rumours of 700 refunds flying around.
The models were beautiful as always, the subtle smoky make up and slick hair, was simple but effective. However, the show moved slower than usual and had limited variety, with the theme ‘on the pulse’ barely detectable. The elongate Jack Wills segment failed to hold the audience’s attention, and unfortunately 4 collections had fallen victim to the wind. Yet the second half still managed to deliver spectacular sequinned and feather ensembles, the green YDA dress by Aimee Paget was phenomenal.
The absence of numbers and heavy drinking became clear during the auction. A Fendi baguette and Oktoberfest table were among the items up for grabs. However, as the crowds dispersed to the bar, it was clear bids were running lower than the usual excited and drunk St Andrews audience would allow.
Arguably, the after party suffered a bit. With a poor reputation already, it was struggling to survive immediately after the show, however it did pick up much later during the night. The DJ Bodalia was booming out great tunes. The marquee was prepared for the decrease in numbers with black curtains angled in away that channelled guests towards the dance floor in the middle. Had they been at full force, the set up would have been genius, but on Tuesday it was a bandage holding together the few dedicate FS guests. Though there was a noticeable swell in numbers and continuing stream of guests arriving as I left before midnight (I had to get some sleep before my 9am on Wednesday).
Throughout the weekend I felt a degree of unease about reviewing FS. It is one of my favourite events, despite the events of the weekend, the 25th anniversary show remained head and shoulders above any other student fashion show in the country. Yet, the cracks in the concept of FS, and every high priced luxury event in St. Andrews, were brought into the glaring light this weekend. The solidarity shown by the fellow fashion shows for FS, was heart warming to see, but was also a wake up call. They urged students to rethink taking a refund and to ‘stand by your fellow students’ and that ‘this is a charitable cause, and there is more than just a show at stake’. A truly wonderful message, but a difficult rallying cry when you are up against a student body who have suddenly had two days to rethink why they paid £70 for an event, and deadlines due. Also, I have a sneaking suspicion that many guests, just like me, had no idea what charity FS was supporting until 2 days ago. That aside I think you’ll all be relieved to hear the St Andrews charitable conscious is alive and well. Many guests unable to attend took the option to give a portion of their ticket to The Brain Tumour Charity, it was not an FS dictated portion, but up to the individual, ranging from £20 all the way up to the full price of the ticket.
It was a good event, that made a miraculous recovery from a horrible situation, and I applaud the 27 students who gave up their own time to make it happen. Though I would like to remind everyone, including the committee, it doesn’t matter what the reviews say, your event remains a success if at the end of the day you are able to give money to a worthwhile cause.
All images courtesy of St Andrews Charity Fashion Show