Autumn means Fashion Week. You know the roll call – Paris, London…Salisbury. Wiltshire’s annual celebration of style kicked off on Sept 25th, but where were the style bloggers, vloggers and Vogue? Who the hell was covering it?
Moi, that’s who. Sadly, I missed the Launch Night ‘Musical Extravaganza’, because it didn’t kick off until 7.30pm, and I was in bed with Lucky Santangelo. (Like all good women, I’d greeted the news of the death of Jackie Collins with shock, sadness, and an urge to re-read Chances).
However, I did make it to the Cathedral Fashion Show on Saturday. Label-wise, I was wearing St Michael, New Look and J Sainsbury. My style companion, daughter Poppy (aged 9) was wearing neon pink shades and a sensible coat from John Lewis that her Grandma had bought her.
I’d like to say we cut a swathe, but no-one was fussed. Salisbury fashionistas don’t care who nabs the front row, they just want to find their ticket, and locate the loos. That’s not to say the predominantly female crowd wasn’t glamorous – but it was the sort of middle-aged glamour you’d associate with a good drinks party – or Harvest Festival with the Bishop coming.
When I did spot a bloke, I got excited he might be a Top Fashion Photographer, until I realised he was just taking a pictures of his wife, who was Excited in Per Una. And why not? She looked great, as did he: the sort of mid-fifties couple that are definitely STILL DOING IT, hence the zip running down the back of her tight, tight dress. (Only a vigorous lover could get it up again. Or a maid).
As we queued to hand over our tickets, the cloisters rang with live music. If this had been Paris Fashion Week, I’d have expected one of the Ronson siblings on decks – or Idris Elba. It being Salisbury, we got a cellist and soprano doing ‘Fields of Barley.’
Lovely they sounded too, as we were ushered to our designated table, beautifully decorated with a white damask cloth and pink rosebuds. Upon each chair hung a goodie bag – just like at Lacroix! Except our sponsor turned out to be a local optician, so we got a biro and gels for eyelid hygiene.
On the plus side, a waiter in fantastically tight trousers bent over to top up our Bucks Fizz, while we admired the sun falling on the magnificent cedars in the medieval courtyard. With the cathedral spire soaring overhead, the scene was set for A Show to Remember.
It never arrived. It took a good hour before the first models appeared, by which point crowds were restless, bottoms cold and champers flat. Unfortunately, the walkers appeared every bit as uncomfortable as us sitters. This was a shame, as the best thing about last year’s show had been the models – all fresh-faced, soft-smiling local girls – real women with bosoms and bottoms, curves and curls perfectly suited to the vintage fashions they were showing.
This year, however, something seemed to have gone wrong. Whatever had caused the delay, the girls came out looking stressed (and a couple close to pissed-off). Bright eyes were buried under thick kohl, bosoms had lost their bounce, and the somewhat sombre fashions were few – and far between.
It being Salisbury, however, we all cheered up enormously when the tea, jam and scones came out at the end. Poppy and I shared our table with two lovely women, with whom – in true fashionista style – we debated Hot Topics of the Day, namely ‘Will Daniel O’Donnell last the distance on Strictly?’ and ‘Is that waiter going to come round again with the urn?’
In terms of the fashions, themselves, I’m far too unhip to comment. However, the Voice of Yoof (Poppy, aged 9) said the heels were too high, “that jacket’s still got its label on it”, and “strawberry jam is DELICIOUS”.
So there you have it. Salisbury Fashion Show…WHERE CAKE BEATS CLOTHES
Find out more about Salisbury Fashion Week on their website