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Heaven On Earth

Kinu Dadaille reviews the VS23 launch and afterparty.

An animated energy grips the models backstage. Stone-faced yet ethereal, they elegantly make their way down a dreamlike runway. It is paved with blue LED lights, with lamps in the shape of clouds which illuminate the space and hang overhead. A smoke machine emanates a vapour-like mist across the room giving the impression that one is gliding through the stratosphere. It is not just the decor which gives the impression that one is walking on cloud nine, as the audience members themselves form a part of the aesthetic. All attendees are required to dress in various shades of blue. While some dress strictly by the rules, others add “non-colour” clothes like black and white tops or trousers to mix and match the various shades of their azure ensembles.

In what can only be described as a pure pleasure to the eyes, the VS committee succeeded in cultivating a hypnotic blue dreamscape in the venue of one of St Andrews’ most popular nightclubs, the Vic. Priced at a lower rate compared to most other fashion show launch parties which were held this semester, VS23 is an event which shouldn’t have been missed.

Standing just by the top of stairs leading up to the Vic’s main room, I was lucky enough to watch the launch event unfold from a unique perspective. I was able to simultaneously experience the behind-the-scenes action of what occurred backstage and observe the audience's expressions as the models walked across the runway. The ecstatic faces of the attendees coupled with the frenetic energy of the committee members backstage displayed the immediate effort and reward in working to bring together an enjoyable, professional, fashion show launch.

To find out more about the inspiration and creative process of organizing the event, I spoke with the executive director of VS, Yasmine Morgan.

“The theme this year is Dream House,” she told me backstage.

“It's about exploring our imaginations in real life and wearing things we would only wear in our dreams. I think a lot of times we’re too scared to wear certain things in real life, and this year our aim was to be more inclusive compared to last year. I think a lot of the looks are a more androgynous… you’ll see the men wearing more feminine clothes, and women dressed in more masculine clothes”.

She described the fashion choices that were made by the committee, and how the models worked in collaboration to curate each look.

“Some of the pieces are my own design” she admitted, “but I also wanted to include some vintage pieces as well. There’s some vintage Louis Vuitton and then also your staple streetwear brands like Supreme and Stussy”.

Yasmine further told me about the artistic process of bringing each look together, and how the relationship between the stylists and models resulted in manufacturing an authentic streetwear look.

“There’s no restrictions, and they only wear what they’re comfortable with. Some of the clothes are their personal items which they wanted to bring to the show. It's a diverse collection of street styles and it's nice to see the personality of the models in the way that they wear their clothes”.

Many of the models' looks were casual and, at times, cheeky. Indeed, they did not conform to the typical streetwear style of the average St Andrews student. Not a trace of waxed hunting jackets or wellington boots in sight. Rather, there was an edgier vibe to the night, with a large majority of the models accessorizing with silver cuffed earlobes, various chain necklaces, and steel-toned rings. With low-rise denim skirts and crop tops which fell just under the bust line, the outfits were reminiscent of the hot summer weather we all dream of having soon. Meanwhile, many of the shirts worn by the men remained stylishly impractical, with quite a few constructed from material so thin that many would consider them to be practically topless. There was the desired aesthetic of an early 2000’s LA dreamgirl found in many of the looks: a distinctly different vibe from St Andrews’ typical streetwear.

After the show, an announcement was made instructing everyone to congregate in the main room to watch the debut of VS’ launch video. The short film is a collection of spoken word poetry interwoven with clips of the most picturesque spots in St Andrews. It's a combination of past meets present, as the models are filmed wearing modern white fits set against the thirteenth-century ruins at Castle Sands. The attendees cheered as the video ended and the commencement of the afterparty headed into full swing.

Whilst the fashion showcased in the launch video and the show itself cannot be described as particularly avant-garde by industry standards, it is certainly cutting-edge for a small town in Fife. Here, where the harsh winter weather forces us to dress by means of practicality, it was nice to experience a blend of alternative artistic styles.

Photos: Aadi Jain and Toby Lowenstein

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