Leeds RAG Fashion Show 2019: In Review

Last Thursday played host to the return of the highly anticipated annual Leeds RAG Fashion Show. For this year’s show, fashion editors, Elicka Ghahramani and Christy Bucklow, witnessed a worthy homage to leading artistic movements from across the centuries. 

Images by Milly Hewitt, @millysphotographs 

What were the standout moments of this year’s show?

Elicka: I personally loved the finale, when all of the models from different scenes came back down the catwalk but were allowed to drop their serious façade and just show how much fun they were having in the spotlight; it was heart-warming. 

Christy: I adored the transition from the more serious Romanticism/Impressionism designs to the more energetic and fun sections of the fashion show. The designs throughout were all gorgeous, but the energy of the models and the audience really just stepped up a notch when Blue Monday started playing and the models wearing Cubism-inspired designs strutted their stuff.

Images by Milly Hewitt, @millysphotographs 

What looks were the personal favourites? 

E: I’m not entirely sure why, but there was one look with this enormously  oversized red velvet, puffer cape, just settled on top of a modest polka-dot midi skirt, that really stands out in my memory. I’m not suggesting that I would wear it personally, but it was definitely memorable. 

C: I loved this particular dress in the Romanticism section which was a beautiful baby blue, sleek and elegant with a dangerously thigh-high split, and black short puff-sleeves. It was a really gorgeous combination of innocence and seduction.

Would you consider it worth paying for the VIP experience? 

E: Before attending the show, I assumed there couldn’t be much difference between the VIP versus standard experience, but after going I would definitely say there is. Not only did we get a snazzy gift bag (including vitamin-C tablets and an organic face scrub), but we got to enjoy inspiring talks from representatives of the charities beforehand in the VIP room, as well as live music and complementary drinks. Additionally, you get a front or second row view of the show which makes a huge difference. On top of all that, the proceeds of the ticket go to charity, so it’s a worthy cause.

C: Elicka has said it all – the VIP experience exceeded expectations. I would absolutely pay extra for the ticket, particularly since it all benefitted some really great charities.

Images by Milly Hewitt, @millysphotographs 

Did the show manage to incorporate as much awareness for the charity aspect as the fashion aspect?

E: I would say that it is easy to forget what the purpose of the annual show is when watching it and getting engrossed by the fashion, rather than the cause. However, the directors of the show, Tamika and Bella, made sure to remind the audience that it was predominantly a charity function, and it was clearly a matter close to their hearts.

C: Tamika and Bella clearly put a lot of effort into their pre and post-show speeches, which really reminded the audience of why they were there. They encouraged us all to donate using the QR code on our programmes or lanyards, which I thought was a really great idea to make it easier for people to give money to the great causes they were promoting. The great work that RAG does made watching the show and all the effort everyone had put in all the sweeter.

What would you have liked to have seen that was maybe missing? 

E: Perhaps more visual effects, especially for the first scene, as I didn’t find it as memorable as the following scenes which incorporated performance with the looks. 

C: I loved the energy of the latter sections, so it would have been nice to see the audience appreciate the models and designs of the earlier sections in the same way.

Images by Milly Hewitt, @millysphotographs 

Were there any little details or extras that really made the show exciting? 

E:  I loved the dance performances – I always enjoy when a fashion show incorporates more than just the fashion. I’m going to be completely basic and direct you to the Blair Waldorf quote where she states that fashion is more than just fashion, “it’s movement, architecture and design”, and a fashion show should represent that.

C: Fashion is more than just the clothes; it’s about personal expression and freedom to do whatever the hell you like with that. Like Elicka, the dancers really made the show for me. The ballet was beautiful and really captured the delicacy and innocence of the Romanticism era. The dancers during the Surrealism section really added a cool dynamic, and the Pop Art section was electric which was partly due to the pure sass of the dancers who opened it.

What did you think of the way they set up the venue?

Elicka: They did an amazing job – I have a whole new perspective of Refectory now. I would say that maybe the seating and arrangement of spectators could’ve been organised a little more, as there were large clumps of people viewing the show from standing point behind a pillar. 

C:  We were second row and could barely see the models until they were right in front of us, with a few heads still blocking the view. So I doubt many others will have been able to see very well – stadium seating would be more effective in making sure everyone got a chance to see the designs. However, I can appreciate that the LRFS team did a great job of setting up The Refectory.

Images by Milly Hewitt, @millysphotographs 

Do you think the show challenged boundaries and was inspiring as a whole? 

We both think all of those who contributed did an amazing job; it absolutely challenged boundaries and was so professional as a whole. A congratulations is in order to all of those involved, it was a great show and amazing fun to be there. To top it all off, they raised over £23,000 – a fantastic amount of money which will all go towards good causes.

By Christy Bucklow and Elicka Ghahramani

Images by Milly Hewitt, @millysphotographs