Following the long-awaited return of the UCD Fashion Show, Donna Doyle analyses the highs and lows of the event
The UCD Fashion Show graced the O’Reilly Hall once again last week for its 25th anniversary after three years in absence. With an elaborate production, the show was run professionally and re-established itself as the biggest and best student fashion show in Europe.
The show’s theme was based on popular TV programmes that have influenced high street trends in recent years. Themes included a Gossip Girl, Mad Men and Twilight-inspired collection.
The show, run in aid of the Make a Wish Foundation, was organised by UCD Ents and sponsored by Spin 103.8, Stellar magazine and Assets Modelling Agency. The beneficial expertise of choreographer Kathy McGuiness and renowned Irish stylist Roxanne Parker was enlisted.
Dublin-born Parker acted as chief stylist for Prudence magazine and Confetti, a bridal fashion publication. The make-up for the show was by LA Make-Up Academy and was particularly impressive for the Twilight section of the night. Hair pieces by Dublin-based salon, Kazumi, also featured.
First to grace the catwalk were resident runway DJs, Daft Funk. Sporting a dapper tailored suit and customary cyber helmet, they descended the runway before taking over the music for the evening. Throughout the show, the UCD Fashion Show Dance Troupe performed on several occasions and put on an impressive display.
After a notably long interval, the Gossip Girl-inspired section began. Preppy New York style at its finest was modelled, featuring pieces from Tommy Hilfiger and Hackett’s. The girls wore knee socks, brogues and pretty dresses in bold colours, while the guys sported crisp, white trousers and blazers. The style of the TV show was well captured and the models were impressive. Without falter, they delivered well-choreographed struts with confidence.
The 1960s glamour of Mad Men was next in the spotlight. With a quaint vintage influence, Harlequin and Coast were included in the collection. Glamorous ladies descended the catwalk in a range of beautiful evening dresses, stoles and charming headpieces, while the select gentlemen suited up and gave the series’ star John Hamm a run for his money. With slick-backed hairstyles and leather briefcases, they certainly looked the part.
A montage of rehearsals and the models’ Lingerie Mile served as a brief interval, before Glee hit the stage. This section of the show was least effective. The theme didn’t stand up as well as those previous as the preppy trend associated with the show was already better represented in the Gossip Girl segment. The models opened the section with a Glee-influenced performance and although they must be commended for their choreography, the performance was cheesy and not on a par with the professionalism of the production overall.
Following the interval, the highlight of the night occurred: Project Runway. This section saw the final ten designs of the Young Designer of the Year competition take to the catwalk. A beautiful and varied display of Irish haute couture was displayed. Yvette Byrne’s 18th Century-inspired sequinned dress was a personal favourite, as was Heather Lynch’s high-waisted camel ensemble, from her collection La Vie en Rose.
The winner of the prestigious title, however, went to Umit Kutluk of Grafton Academy. His design was a unique and eye-catching black ruffled dress. Sported with a pair of sequinned leggings and feathered heels, the outfit was a triumph in black and gold. It was Kutluk’s model, Clara McStay, who was named Model of the Year. McStay will accept a year-long contract with Assets Modelling Agency and feature in a fashion spread for Stellar Magazine.
The final two sections of the show featured a provocative Desperate Housewives lingerie section and a gothic chic collection inspired by the Twilight sensation. The presentation of the lingerie was tasteful and it was only the inclusion of some questionable props that let the choreography down.
Otherwise the models were impressively confident and again, well-rehearsed. The fashion show came to a conclusion with the Twilight-themed run, where the gothic chic made popular by the movies was in full flow.
The UCD Fashion Show definitely returned with a bang and despite some last-minute sponsorship troubles, the show was a highlight on the UCD Ents calendar. The production of the show, from the stage and the lighting to the models and the choreography, was hugely impressive.
The show appeared flawless, with the exception of some prolonged pauses. With the inclusion of such influential sponsors and the success of this year’s return to build on, the show is sure to be an annual highlight for years to come.