Carla Yorukoglu and Sarah Smyth headed up to Birmingham to check out the 24th Clothes Show Live. From the front row, they offer the low-down on all the “celebrity” action, fashion trends and scantily clad male models… Hey, it’s a hard job, but someone’s got to do it!
The Clothes Show Live: an annual show featuring models and dancers showcasing the latest trends and collections by the likes of TOWIES’ Gemma Collins and Peter Andre (genuinely, he has a collection called ‘alpha [sic] by Peter Andre’). This year’s show, with tickets starting at a pricey £29, was an hour-long catwalk based around a day in the life of a fashion editor, showcasing 270 outfits by the models from Britain and Ireland’s Next Top Model. The event brought together 40 models and dancers who attempted to capture the glamorous life of working for a fashion magazine with segments including ‘Model Casting’ (cue men in their underwear), ‘A Photoshoot in Rio’ and ‘Fashion After Party’. Other attractions of the day included a large marketplace with vintage and high-street fashion stands, and beauty stalls offering demonstrations and master classes.
The show was presented by Henry Holland, designer, and Grace Woodward, self-proclaimed professional ‘dresser-upper’ and one woman show. Instead of starting off the show with a bang, it started with a whimper – these two have as much charisma as a wet dish cloth. Our advice would be for them to stick to their day job as both looked fashion-forward; Grace pulled off a red mid-calf lace dress, a difficult style for anyone without Alexa Chung’s legs to get away with, and Henry stayed loyal to his dapper roots wearing an embellished suit. One awkward moment passed to the next as the band Times Red kicked off the show with a performance. Whilst the teenage girls went wild, we watched on befuddled, wondering whether we’d seen them on The X Factor this year. Unluckily for us, JLS had performed the day before. Thankfully, Times Red limped off after one song, making way for the models and the dancers to begin the show.
The show’s magazine theme added a fun twist to the traditional catwalk. Each segment showcased fashion pieces that were inspired by the theme, and was intersected with high-energy dance routines that referenced pop culture – think Nicki Minaj and Gangnam Style. However, considering this was a fashion event, the A/W 2012 trends were gestured to rather than embodied as the focus of the show, as it concentrated on the dancers rather than the clothes themselves – it was Fashion Week Lite if you will. We would have liked more emphasis on the key ways of dressing this season because, considering this is a high-street-style event, there was ample opportunity to demonstrate how to dress on a budget. Furthermore, the trends that were referenced were often inconsistent in themselves. The ‘Photo shoot in Rio’, for example, featured a playful take on swim and beach wear, but ended with the models wearing underwear that wouldn’t look out of place in Fifty Shades of Grey. It was unclear whether this was part of the Rio segment or whether we’d moved on to the next one.
Our favourite look of the show was the opening sequence, ‘Model Casting’. The look was high glamour evening wear with short dresses, fur coats and sequins galore! The colour palette was dusky silver and pink tones, and the look was completed with red lipstick and a messy beehive – nonchalant glamour for the modern woman. Furthermore, this segment also included male models walking the catwalk in only underwear and body glitter, perhaps a nod to Robert Pattinson’s performance in a certain vampire film! The battle between vampires and werewolves might be undisclosed, but we can confirm that these models trump both of them in the hotness stakes. Please see the photo for full details.
Besides the main show, the event promised a fashionable marketplace with celebrity appearances, as well as clothes and beauty stands offering all the latest pieces and products. Even though we missed Amy Childs, Lauren Goodger and Katie Price, the ‘TOWIE effect’ continued to linger. On offer were fake tans, sleep-in rollers, teeth whitening booths, fake eyelashes and “books” claiming to reveal all about the Essex lifestyle. The clothes weren’t much better as they wouldn’t have looked out of place at a car boot sale. Although there were some recognisable brands such as ‘Punky Fish’ and ‘David and Goliath’, most of what was on offer was poor quality printed t-shirts, vintage junk and mass produced nylon dresses. Judging by the number of shopping bags that teenage girls held, this event appeared to be tailored to a younger audience who are more Primark than Portobello.
There was also a Graduate Catwalk and musical performances throughout the day. Our fashionable studded boots proved useful as we kicked our way through the stampede of thirteen year old girls to get close to the musical acts. With the level of hysteria suggested by the screaming, we thought the performer was the floppy haired one from One Direction but it turned out to be Danny Shah (no, us neither). We’re embarrassed to admit that we were mildly disappointed.
Overall, even though the event wasn’t as high fashion as we anticipated, we had a lot of fun, even if this was caused by the hilarity of the “stars” of TOWIE having their own fashion line. We managed to blag a few freebies and got our hands on some cheap beauty products, but unfortunately the shopping experience wasn’t as good as we had hoped. But how can we complain about an event where we sat front row at a show that had male models in their underwear? It’s all for the love of fashion, of course.