Cheltenham Fashion Week - September's Success!

After eighteen months of planning, Cheltenham Fashion Week (CFW) began on 17th September.  As many readers will know, I was appoin...

After eighteen months of planning, Cheltenham Fashion Week (CFW) began on 17th September.  As many readers will know, I was appointed Fashion Consultant to the team in 2011 and I was privileged to be involved in all aspects of the first-ever fashion week in Cheltenham.
With fifteen events over the course of the week and scheduled in the middle of London Fashion Week (thanks Milan!) to say I was busy was an understatement. However, as soon as Burberry Prorsum delivered their metallic finale, I dashed back to the Cotswold's.
During the week I was asked to be on the judging panel for the Student Showcase at Gloucestershire College. This was one of the events which was enormously inspiring. On the judging panel was head judge, George Davies, the man behind Next, the "George at Asda" range and the Per Una collections for Marks & Spencer until 2008. George's daughter, Emma Traynor, previously Creative Director at Per Una. Also, Stuart Holmes, Hair stylist to the stars and owner of the stunning "Stuart Holmes" Cheltenham salon.
The student showcase received so many entries from schools and colleges in Gloucestershire, mannequins were required to showcase some of the designs.  B&Q kindly sponsored our Primary School category allowing children 11 and under to create paper dresses from wallpaper.  When the first school child entered onto the catwalk, to applause and cheers from classmates and a sell-out audience, it was a wonderful moment I shall never forget. Congratulations to all the finalists and winners.
The second CFW highlight was my career talk at Gloucestershire College, I spoke to fashion students and potential fashion journalists about my career to date and offered some advice I have learnt along the way.  Inspiring the future of fashion is incredibly important to me, more so in my home town.

Read Gloucestershire College's article about my talk.
The last highlight, 'For one night only' at Cowley Manor, our Charity Gala, was my CFW baby. A project which I produced over the last six months.  I had the opportunity to choose the name, plan the evening, choose the lighting, pick the music, select the models and most importantly handpick designers/brands from all over the country.  I am lucky to have enjoyed the pleasure of working with many designers throughout my career. I opted for a varied selection of designers, from couture eveningwear to daywear, from up and coming designers to renowned. 
Over 50 looks were sent out on the catwalk to dinner guests including Elizabeth Hurley and her cricketer finance, Shane Warne, including television stars and celebrated fashion designers. The evening featuring music by the exceptional jazz singer, Julez Hamilton, was better than anything I could have imagined. 
CFW 2012 was a non-profit charity organisation, all of the team volunteered their time, supported in every aspect by the most fabulous Director, Sam Bawden. There were lots of 6am bedtimes, a reduced social life, lots of travelling and a nightmare scheduling CFW amongst a hectic day job BUT I would do it again in a heartbeat and I am very proud of what we achieved.

Look out for a review of Cheltenham Fashion Week by Sam Bawden in the November Issue of Cotswold Style, also including my latest shoot, styling Eternal Elegance.

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