Fashion Show Madness!

Darling Buds

Fashion, Art and Music Show

– May 4th 2012 –

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(Sabine Gruchet, Martin Purdy and Kate Blackett)

WOW – what an amazing time we all had at the Shooting Star Chase, Children’s Hospice Charity fashion show in Richmond Surrey.  It was certainly a night to remember with so much going on and so much crazy fun that it will be hard for me to sum it all up in one little blog.

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(Heidi Grant in luscious lemon)

But as you know my dear blog readers,  I am a bit of a waffler when it comes to writing about events – so let me bore you with all sorts of behind the scenes gossip about what really went on! The official side of proceedings I will leave for my news page!  Let me give you an insight into backstage with some behind the scenes snaps.

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( Maddy Havell – I can't help but wonder what she was looking at?)

To start with, the whole event was a real undertaking to organise. As those of you who have been part of a charity event will know, it takes hours and hours of work,
 co-ordinating with vast numbers of people who are all doing different aspects of work to pull it together.

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( Emma Nash and Lucy Moore )

The last week before an event is always so crazy that one goes into another world with minimal hours of sleep being had. In fact, when I came too the following morning after the show and realized that the real world was still going on, I discovered that Boris Johnson had been voted back in as mayor, (when and how did that happen?)  that I had lost approx 2 kilos in weight – from merely forgetting to eat and there were over four hundred emails sitting in my inbox waiting to be answered. It was all a bit of a surprise!

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(Carolyn Holmes)

You see chaos reigns for days before a big fashion show. You know what it is like girls – imagine you are going to an important event, you have to work out what dress you are going to wear, what shoes and handbag go with it, not to mention jewellery and other accessories. Times that by forty five and you will understand what we were up against.  Forty-Five outfits to work out and co-ordinate and have ready for ten models. It is no small task.

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(Danielle Evans, Olivia Campbell, Carolyn Holmes and Krissy Lee)

We had nearly finalised all the forty five outfits and a spanner was thrown into our work!

Picture this –

It is the day before the show – Thursday the 3rd of May –

5pm in the afternoon.

There are three of us in the studio, tired and exhausted from working solidly for two days sorting out all these outfits. On the floor are literally dozens of hats and fascinators, shoes, boxes of jewellery, and bags. Racks of clothes have been set up around the room to hang each model's outfits and forty five stacks of accessories are laid out ready to go.

There is nowhere to walk, nowhere to move, nowhere to sit. The studio looks like a bombsite.

Then out of the blue the doorbell to the studio rings. We look at each other in horror, who on earth would be arriving now. I opened the door to find a cheery faced young lady standing there who announced she has come to buy a dress.  I think shock must have registered all over my face. What now I think – oh no surely not!!

She sallied forth with great determination, she knew it was late, but she urgently needed an outfit for a wedding this Sunday. With lists in hands and armfuls of clothes we somehow made a little track through the mess to the racks and showed her our range of dresses, many of which were featuring in the show.

An hour and a half later after trying on a great many outfits a very delighted customer left with a dress, fascinator and vintage jewellery – that were all going to be worn by model number 5 in our ‘wedding’ scene at the fashion show.

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(Lucy Moore)

Our customer was as happy as anything that we had the whole look completely on hand that she could buy in one go. We however, fell into an exhausted heap in a small space on the floor, unable to gather up the energy or mental creativity required to work out a replacement set for the poor model who had now lost her entire wedding outfit for the show.

  (If you read this dear lady – we loved having you here and know you would have looked fabulous at the wedding. We hope you will come again, when the studio is not such a mess and we are not so tired!)

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( Mellissa Laycey)

By Friday evening everyone involved was running on adrenalin. We arrived at the London Welsh Rugby club with enough boxes and bags to fill a small truck – for not only were there clothes, there were boxes of props, not to mention boxes of champagne glasses, champagne and food for all the models, make-up artists and hairstylists, dressers and other staff.  The make up artists and hairstylists arrived similarly armed, as did the menswear people. It is a huge undertaking. And did I mention bringing a bicycle?

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(Kate Blackett opening the show with my old bicycle)

In a lovely big spacious room with views out over the rugby fields and Kew Gardens the final preparations took place. Ten beautiful models had their hair teased, crimped, curled and pinned. Faces were carefully made up – eyelashes glued on and lipstick applied.  The results were gorgeous and relative peace reigned. That was until the boys arrived – Two big rugby players and one very cute professional model.

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( Triple trouble arrived ! – Martin Purdy, Clifton, Edd Thrower)

How can three male models cause such havoc- very easily let me tell you! With monstrous egos and quick wit, the place rapidly fell into chaos, with lots of giggling, flirting and cheeky banter.

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(Olivia Campbell)

Having once upon a time been into writing and directing plays, I had decided that a straight forward fashion show walking up and down the catwalk was not really going to suffice, so had rather optimistically written a far more complex catwalk scenario with acting and groups of models all interacting together.

The girls were fine, the boys however were another matter, particularly the villianous Edd Thrower – the handsome fullback who took it upon himself to give me as much grief as he possibly could! He quickly turned me into another role I once had – that of an old battleaxe teacher in a boys’ school and he a naughty teenager. 

The rehearsals turned into a battle of wits – rugby player versus fashion designer determined to have a show that was polished, professional and up to standard. Did it happen? – well yes, to a certain degree, for with only an hour to practise – and a naughty boy to cope with things sure could have been better, but we got there in the end.

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(Interviewing the vivacious Marie Truelove from Truelove Lingerie, between one of the catwalk scenes!)

Four Fabulous themed scenes were presented to the audience.


 Casual wear – ‘ A picnic in the sun’.

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Event wear – ‘ A day at the races’

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Wedding wear –  ‘ A beautiful Wedding’

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Evening Wear – 'Hollywood Awards Night'

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Interspersed with the four ranges of clothes from Carolyn de la Drapiere were swimwear and lingerie scenes from Truelove Lingerie and the amazing Shelle Luscombe sang a selection of songs also wearing some of my clothes. It was all simply marvelous!

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(Shelle – our fabulous singer having her hair done by Jayne)

After the final scene I raced backstage to find out what state everything was in. It is always my great concern, for often there are piles of clothes dumped everywhere with bits of jewellery scattered about the room. To keep everything together and not lose anything is a major undertaking as the changes between outfits are often down to minutes.

Great hilarity abounded, with relief spilling over that we had pulled the show off. The boys were strutting about as proud as punch with their first ever fashion show, the girls were all in a state of giggles with tales of mishaps of what they did and didn't wear and the champagne flowed.

One model was incredibly tiddly however, and had apparently been very difficult to dress and undress – she'd over imbibed on the wine early in the evening – which I have to say gave her far more courage than was necessary when it came to flaunting herself in lingerie on the catwalk – giving the host of photographers on hand far more than they had ever hoped for when it came to getting a sensational shot!

(And no, I am not putting it in my blog!)

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(Backstage after the show with a few of the models) 

 I will leave the more formal news for the News section – where I shall tell you about the worthwhile charity we raised a good sum of money for and the two mayors who were in attendance. There will also be fabulous photos from the catwalk.  Keep an eye out in the next few days for it to appear!

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No more fashion shows for me for a few months. I am afraid to say it takes some time to recover after such an event. We are now having to concentrate on the huge pile of orders we have for outfits for Ascot, weddings and summer balls. The summer is alive with activity and with it comes the need for glorious dresses…so back to work for us!

Thanks to all the models, makeup artists and hairstylists,dressers,and all my other assistants for giving your time to raise money for this worthwhile cause.

A big thank-you also to Gavin Chapman and Dave Jackson for these fabulous photos.

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(And no amount of kisses from Mr Edd Thrower will get him back into my good books!!!)

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