CSW really celebrates the quirkiness of Cambridge, and all its shapes and styles. They have been gradually perfecting the formula of mixing up catwalks from bigger brands in the city, alongside carefully chosen talented emerging designers. This has really enabled CSW to carve out a strong identity, which sets it apart from other fashion events in its own right. This year we were treated to even more acts and performers in between collections, that fit alongside the themes of each show. This really helped to round each event off perfectly for me.
The location this year was at the Quy Mill Hotel, which is situated just outside of Cambridge city centre. First impressions certainly make a difference, and the Quy Mill Hotel really rose to this challenge. Visitors were greeted with fire lanterns lighting up the red carpet, as well as a champagne reception whilst they browsed pieces from local designers before and after each show.
Obviously being in the DJ booth, I had a fantastic view of the catwalk, though for this post I've used photos from the paparazzi present (credited of course) who were situated in the perfect position at the front of the catwalk to capture all the action.
I DJed for two out of the four shows this year. Here were my own personal highlights!
Jose Hendo: Fresh off the catwalk at LFW, Jose Hendo was certainly the perfect choice for the opening of the first show this year. Jose Hendo's motto is 'reduce, reuse, recycle' which she certainly does in imaginative ways. As a big fan of sustainable fashion, I absolutely loved the way that Jose Hendo took to the stage and talked us through the background and context to her work, explaining her innovative use of bark cloth in her collection. Jose uses off cuts in new and exciting ways, and works with unusual materials to play with texture and pattern. I particularly loved the dress below, the arms of which opened out in a crotcheted, billowing fashion. Jose Hendo's work is clearly inspired by the wider world, and her experiences come across in a very distinct way.
|Charles Davis Photography|
The catwalk also featured collections from Dogfish and Cloudberry shoes, Boudoir Femme (a firm favourite local boutique which dazzles the catwalk year after year) John Lewis, Cambridge Market Traders, Kairee, and Triumph, a lingerie brand which certainly got everyones attention to say the least!
|Triumph Lingerie UK|
The show was also supported by singer Kez Miles, who warmed the crowd up beautifully.
I chose a few songs that I thought would compliment the designs, including some house hits like Mat Joe, Betoko, Oliver Heldens and Natema to ensure a strong beat on the catwalk.
For the more vintage inspired brands, like Boudoir Femme, I opted for artists such as Tube and Berger and the Gotan Project which had a slower, sexy beat.
CSW Catwalk Show, with the Ottoman Empire
The second show was unlike any other I'd ever been to before, with special guests including the Turkish Royal Family themselves!
For the first half of the show, I chose upbeat house and dance songs like Max Manie, Imany and a Philip George remix of 'Dancin' to match the individual colourful, bright designs.
I-Unique: I loved the range of jackets on display from I-Unique, each one tailored differently to suit different sizes, all of which absolutely oozed individual style, through the use of various textures and patterns.
|Image taken from CSW|
Leigh Rawlins: I loved seeing Leigh's work on the catwalk, not least of all because I realised I'd met her four years before, when I organised a fashion show at The Junction in Cambridge, and we featured her work as an Anglia Ruskin fashion student! She was always one to push the boundaries then, and it seems her designs are even more bold and interesting than ever before.
|Image taken from CSW Twitter|
|Image taken from CSW Blog|
There was also fab jewellery on the catwalk in the form of KFD Jewellery.
The second half of the show was absolutely fascinating to watch. It featured the Fashion School of Turkey which had some absolutely incredible, intricate designs, which really emanated the exotic vibrancy of Turkey and it's colourful and artistic culture. The show opened with a Turkish dancer, who whirled and glided around the stage to Mercan Dede, so much so that I couldn't take my eyes off him. I nearly missed my cue! It was also accompanied with entertainment from various classical musicians.
We chose Turkish music to accompany the second part of the show with a slower beat, matching the solemnity of the designs whilst still being powered by a powerful drum, resonating and highlighting the bold patterns.
|Images taken from CSW website|
In terms of the catwalks themselves, the models were just on point this year. The backstage manager, Kim Able, and the rest of her team did a fantastic job of making things appear seamless (despite how crazy things must have been!)
I had a great time this year and can't wait for CSW 2016. The Director, Nicky Shepard, is absolutely clearly so passionate about what she does, and this comes across in all the hard work and attention to detail that goes into every show. In fact, it's not often you come across such a dedicated team of people in general, and CSW just delivers on this every single year. If you didn't go this year, put it in your diaries for next March! You honestly won't regret it.