On Thursday evening, the Lingerie Show kicked off the run of black-tie events which make up the much anticipated Oxford Fashion Week. With pieces from a whopping eighteen designers, the show was certainly not lacking in variety. From snakes to Minnie Mouse, I initially thought the mismatch of looks was an odd choice, but the runway directors, Emma Appleton and Tiffany Saunders, intended the show to be “a playful exhibition drawing out a woman’s alter ego”.

Upon arrival at the impressive Malmaison hotel, a fantastic location, I was met by photographers snapping everyone as they went up to the Visitors Room in this converted prison. After being jokingly told to put down my “plastic Canon”, I half-reluctantly, half-pretending I was Olivia Palermo, stood in front of the OFW screen. After this impromptu pap moment, I was greeted with a welcome glass of bubbly by the bartenders in the intimate room where the show was to take place.

Despite not being on the FROW (front-row, what were in those goodie bags, I wonder?), I secured a modest seat on the second row, managing to, quite literally, elbow my way to the front of the photographers just before the show started. Think this is an appropriate time to give a shout out to the guy whose drink I nearly knocked out of his hand… sorry about that.

Just before the show started, Katherine MacAlister of the Oxford Mail, explained how “beauty and acceptance” is the key, claiming that “we are all self-conscious” so need to “celebrate our diversity”; a very encouraging and positive message indeed. It was undoubtedly refreshing to see models of all shapes and sizes walk in the show. Their confidence was inspiring.


Starting off with pretty baby dolls and pastel colours from designers such as Nearer the Moon and Dreamgirl, the show gradually got more risqué and abstract. The pops of colour from Silk Cocoon and Emma Stubbs were welcome additions to the varied programme of the show. The audience was surprised half way through as the lighting was dimmed and lingerie designed by Electric Styles was paraded down the catwalk, literally glowing. Another surprise was the snake, carefully carried by the show’s models-cum-directors, Emma and Tiffany.


However, a personal highlight for me was Madame Fantasy’s Carrie-esque runway look: a pair of sparkly panties and bra! Overall, despite a clichéd and unorganised soundtrack (including a mixture of M.I.A the Arctic Monkeys and Lana del Rey…!) the show was innovative, eclectic and full of the unexpected; it even included an appearance from Minnie Mouse!

I look forward to what the rest of Oxford Fashion Week has in store for those lucky enough to get tickets.