Catwalk: reviewed

Within the St Andrews fashion show family, Catwalk is widely recognised as the fun one; the favourite cousin who turns up to family dinners with a broad grin and a cheeky sparkle in their eye. In short, a good time guaranteed. This year, the theme was ‘Playtime’, and Catwalk 2020 most certainly did not disappoint. 

It was quite the departure from the usual St Andrews Wednesday night out. The 601 that we know and love was looking the best she ever has, filled with glitter and velvet and brightly coloured eyeshadow. And that was just the audience. As the models walked, the crowd danced and cheered and threw their hands up adoringly as banger after banger throbbed in our ears. As the show went on, I was struck by the level of professionalism, originality and variety that this year’s committee had achieved: the choreography was refreshingly diverse and dynamic, the models’ makeup was bright and fun, and the fashion was as eclectic as you could hope for. My favourite pieces were the kilts, designed by McCall’s in Dundee, and the Lady Gaga-esque cone-bra dresses, designed by Isa Hummelin, a graduate designer from Germany. 

Catwalk is one of the most affordable, and least pretentious, fashion shows in St Andrews: instead of taking itself too seriously, this year’s show focused on enjoyment: the committee were having a good time, the models were having a good time, and the audience was absolutely having a good time. It is also the only St Andrews fashion show that donates 100% of its proceeds. This year, the funds raised went to the University’s three nominated charities, as voted for by students themselves: Women for Women International, the Yard, and Calm.

Professional though the show was, it stayed true to its theme, and in their last few walks the models’ steely pouts melted into warm grins as they waved to their pals and danced together in a fantastic sartorial selection ranging from block-colour bikinis to hi vis workman jackets. As Areosmith’s “Walk This Way” blared from the speakers and every mouth in the room, the models trotted out en masse and exploded confetti guns all over the audience. Suffice it to say, we were loving every moment.   

Review: CATWALK Launch

The launch of one of my favourite events in the St Andrews social calendar certainly perked up my Tuesday evening this week. Taking it from the lows of the library to the buzz of Beacon Bar, I was greatly impressed by both the professionalism and sense of fun captured in this year’s CATWALK Charity Fashion Show Launch party. 

First, a dull but essential comment on housekeeping:  Upon entry I was greeted by some lovely ladies at a coat rail who ensured that everyone was able to find their North Face Puffer at the end of the night.  Pleasantly surprised by the absence of Mount Canada Goose and confidently handing over my jacket, I was in a good mood.  

Photography: Annie Pritchett-Brown

As a choice of venue, Beacon Bar worked well.  The room felt busy but not overcrowded and was tastefully decorated with pictures of the models on the windows and large golden balloons spelling PLAYTIME, the show’s creative theme.  This theme was somewhat less tastefully manifested in a blow-up ball pit filled with inflatable toys including a large doughnut. Other St Andrews fashion shows wouldn’t have been caught dead in that paddling pool, and that’s perhaps why I loved it so much. 

Photography: Henry Memmott

Indeed, the creative theme of Playtime is different from previous years of CATWALK and, I believe, from any other fashion show in the town.  In the dreary winter months, it’s a welcome dose of sunshine. 

Photography: Annie Pritchett-Brown

Director Isi Webb-Jenkins told me:

“We were bored of the serious noir themes that seem to dominate the student-run fashion shows of the town and thought it was time to embrace a more fun-loving side. That’s what CATWALK is all about, philanthropy and having a bit of fun and we just hope everyone enjoys it.”

The clothes aim to reflect this more light-hearted approach.   With a cupcake in one hand and a CATWALK “Refresher” cocktail in the other, I got chatting to Noemie Jouas, the show’s in-house student fashion designer whose collection is set to take to the runway next semester:

“I’m aiming for bright colours, with elements of childhood memory whilst not looking too much like children’s clothing. Big and bold, with lots of texture, I play with proportions a lot too, so the clothes appear almost unwearable. That’s sometimes exactly what fashion is.  Really, I just want to make everyone smile.” 

Noemie was also wearing a jumpsuit which she had made that very morning from some curtains, and she looked fabulous.  If that’s what she can do with a day and some drapes, I am dying to see what her collection for CATWALK has in store. 

Photography: Annie Pritchett-Brown

The floor was cleared, the lights dimmed, and the volume turned up.  The models, all in white shirts and black bottoms, were introduced through some impressive choreography, credit to the show’s choreographer, Charlotte Hoyle.  The professionalism of the event was perhaps best captured in this moment. The models’ walk was neither overly complicated nor too short or simplistic.  Their crisp white shirts combined with fun splashes of colour in their makeup complimented the theme, and the music went down a treat, the crowd seeming to greatly enjoy the spectacle. 

Photography: Annie Pritchett-Brown

Overall, CATWALK’s launch has left Owl Eyes excited for what the show itself has in store and hoping that the Union makes the “Refresher” cocktail a permanent fixture.