From stepping into the marquee first year, FS has always been the annual event I most look forward to. And after spending hours getting ready and finally popping open the bottles of champagne at pres, I, like the vast majority of St Andreans, felt utterly crushed when word got out that the twenty-fifth St Andrews Charity Fashion Show was cancelled due to weather conditions. While we got some hilarious memes out of it, my mind and heart were still set on attending the newly rescheduled event on Tuesday evening.
To those who thought it “lost the hype” and opted for refunds, I can’t even fathom it. As if those 9 am lectures on Wednesday had ever stopped a student from going out the night before! FS was and remains an event that is not to be missed in the Bubble.
When half six finally rolled around on Tuesday night, guests queued up outside the Quad to enter the phenomenally decorated marquee, posing for pictures at the entrance and heading off to find their tables and take a collection of blurry group pictures before the show kicked off. Looking back to last year at FS, when the lights were turned down and the music paused before models took to the catwalk, the beginning of the show this year was, admittedly, anticlimactic. Some guests didn’t even seem aware that it had started until the crowds started cheering and crowding the massive runways spread across Lower College Lawn.
Regardless of disappointment on the part of guests and the impossible situation the FS committee was faced with last Saturday, Tuesday night brought forward the perfect spectacle of a true St Andrews event. The swift action taken to refund, resell, and upgrade tickets, the quick reorganisation and rescheduling, and the incredible success of the night all show the true talent and passion behind FS, which has proven year after year to be not only the most professional, but also one of the most incredible events put on by students in the UK.
While crowds did not turn into the usual mobs and the marquee was not overflowing with black-tie clad guests, the still-massive crowd of over 1000 attendees had a phenomenal time as they watched the incredible models walk the runway, all in the name of charity.
I’m sure many in the crowd were ultimately thrilled with the change of dates, which allowed standard guests to upgrade to the much sought-after spaces in VIP. The collections that were displayed over the course of the evening had crowds cheering all night, despite the smaller variety and slight disconnect with this year’s theme of On the Pulse. However, if you didn’t go to critique the actual fashion being modelled, or if the theme wasn’t the main draw of your presence for night, then the show was certain to be as phenomenal as always.
Considering the debauchery of last year’s auction, I hadn’t expected for anything quite as wild as £15,000 bids for a trip to Italy to go at this year’s mid-show auction. Noticeably, the smaller crowd and lack of rowdiness brought slightly less to the table in terms of high bids for Oktoberfest tables, Fendi bags, and magnums of champagne. Regardless, any student that can afford to throw a few hundred pounds around for a pom Fendi charm to accessorise their purse was certainly in their element. The fateful after-party was still filled with happily dancing crowds, and those who streamed in later in the evening had a cracking time dancing to DJ Bodalia as the Veuve Clicquot continued to flow.
Overall, I must commend the entire team behind FS for standing up to the unexpected challenges faced this year and ensuring that the show did indeed go on. A year without FS would be devastating for many, and as it is first and foremost a night used to raise money for charity, the effects would have been far wider spread than just a large number of bitter students who wasted a face of makeup or a bottle of Moët.
This year, FS paired with The Brain Tumour Charity, a group that works to fight brain tumours through medical research, increased awareness, and providing support for victims and families. With such a worthwhile cause, some guests who opted for a refund of their ticket chose to donate a portion of their ticket (from the range of £20 to the full £90) to the Brain Tumour Charity. The charitable nature of events in St Andrews is usually an unimportant side note for most guests in attendance, but at the end of the day, the high prices that are synonymous with big events are certainly worth it in the long run.