While most events in St Andrews don’t deviate from the formula, one never knows what to expect from the DONT WALK Charity Fashion Show. I was already scratching my head when picking up my press pass – on it was simply a rotting rib cage, in the shape of a butterfly. I was told it was part of this year’s theme: Progress and Regress. I’m never a person to turn down a good night of PR, particularly as this one was out of town, billed to be a fifteen-minute drive to Cambo Estate – making a welcome change from Kinkell or blasted Lower College lawn.
Squelching through the mud as we trawled out of the busses, I had only one thing on mind: when one’s gotta go, one’s gotta go. They had anticipated my urges: plopped directly at the entrance and completely exposed, there was nothing quite like DONT WALK’s open air urinals. Admittedly, there is nothing quite like making eye contact with a ravishing madam fifteen metres away as you wee on plastic… I suppose I did find it quite liberating, and it is in character with DONT WALK’s provocative ethos.
An enormous white marquee, fantastically shaped and featuring various entrances, made us feel like we were entering some sort of avant-garde circus – and a circus it bloody well was! The show began unusually with a trio of violinists, who played for about thirty seconds, and were largely inaudible – wasted on the rowdy crowd. But then, announced by the DJ’s trembling bass, emerged the models.
Always unique about DW is the interaction with these sculpted creatures. It is far more personal than FS: The models are evidently human, contrasted to the haughty FS models deigning to grace the catwalk in the presence of mere mortal spectators. Juicy model Ludovic Meaby, greeted by the squeals of adoring neo-Belieber fans, swaggered past wearing a rubbish bag, or whatever piece of haute couture he happened to be wearing. He would continually stop mid-walk in front of me, and slip me some bric-a-brac. By the end of the night, I had accumulated quite some booty – various glasses of champagne, a bottle, a half-eaten donut, and a bouquet of tropical palm leaves, all clearly indispensable fashion essentials.
The auction was cracking: Ashton Squires, looking remarkably manly despite being cloaked in a delicate and rather revealing white fur coat, completely outperformed the Sotheby’s auctioneer at FS, as he charged energetically up and down the catwalk presenting a selection of pompons, bags, and hotel packages, alongside a running stream of excellent bad jokes.
And while FS usually holds a reputation for ripped bods, Frenchman and fellow crepe-maker Alex Rochal had the guns and steel to give Cyrus Danesh a run for his money – a beast! The girls, wearing body-hugging collections, or better yet, some spicy lingerie, certainly had me say my Ave Marias in guilt – I didn’t know where to look! I certainly spilt various glasses on myself rather absent-mindedly.
This was a night like no other. After frenzied dancing, a profusion of Jägerbombs and champagne, and various litres of sweat, the lights went on, and we grudgingly dispersed. Armed with two delicious orders of Toro Tapas’ excellent fusion nachos, we clambered onto the busses back to our Bubble. DONT WALK didn’t merely deliver again, but outdid itself considerably in redefining student events – my one regret is that I didn’t have a final go on the free-range pissoirs.