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Lucire: Fashion

Couture Oxford Fashion Week’s venues were superior to London’s, according to photographer Douglas Rimington


Oxford calling

Douglas Rimington attends the 2011 edition of Oxford Fashion Week, and is impressed by the venues. It also managed to draw in some big names



THIS IS the third year for Oxford Fashion Week and the first year for Lucire shooting it in person.

OFW benefits from one major advantage: its venues. The three shows we made it to were all set in great places, with the final Couture Show being held in the Oxford University Exam Schools on Oxford’s High Street.

The Concept Show

The Concept Show was held in the art-déco Regal in East Oxford. The show began with an assault of subsonic bass notes, samples and scratches. Lighting up the show in bursts of colour, with smoke machines and large neon signs displaying the mostly oriental names of the designers, this show felt like Blade Runner come to life.

Designers for Lady Gaga, Ara Jo and Yvonne Lau, returned for the 2011 show, and as the show’s director Adriana Blidaru commented, ‘This will be the most exciting and unconventional show.’


The Lingerie Show
The Malmaison Hotel, Oxford Castle was a very plush and perhaps fitting venue for the Malmaison Lingerie Show, which started with four models positioned in classic poses in various parts of the venue, while guests walked in and photographers snapped away. The show was aimed at celebrating women, through seductive, glamourous and theatrical designs. Designers ranged from Fred & Ginger to Pure Chemistry. Local designer Emelia Penny débuted her La La Loulou range.

Being the most exclusive show it could have been a bit longer with perhaps a more entertaining aspect, but not everyone wants to be Victoria’s Secret. Maybe this is how they wanted it, clean and simple.

The Couture Show

Despite the show getting off to a rocky start with its set-up being well behind, it all came together at the end. Glamorous gowns and garments from designers within Oxford, London and abroad paraded down the catwalk, garnering applause as the models stepped up to take their turn. Top Russian designer Valentin Yudashkin displayed his creations for the first time in England. There was a charity auction during the course of the evening, allowing lucky audience bidders the chance to go home with a couture memento.

Among the designers were well known Elie Saab, Nicole Farhi and Matthew Williamson, who showed off the gold sparkly cocktail dress he made for both Kim Cattrall and Miley Cyrus in the Sex and the City 2. Irina Higgins, co-producer of the Couture Show expressed her appreciation regarding the opportunity for the famous dress to be included in the show exclaiming, ‘The dress looks incredible in the film but it looks even better up close.’

This high fashion show was also very poignant in its role in supporting the Oxford Thinking Campaign, which was formed in 2008 with the aim of securing Oxford’s position as one of the world’s foremost centres of education, through the development of a strong philanthropic foundation.


OVERALL, the shows were an immense success, but the only real let-down was the quality of lighting. Each show was inconsistent in both colour warmth and brightness, with the occasional model coming out and walking in almost complete darkness. Other than that the producers of OFW 2011 must be eagerly looking forward to OFW 2012, where I am sure it will be even bigger and will attract more international attention. •


Douglas Rimington of Detune Photography regularly shoots for Lucire. Vicki Matias contributed to this article.



The Concept Show

The Lingerie Show

The Couture Show
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