Many moons ago I became acquainted with a lovely shop in Northampton called Bohemian Finds. Now, for me this was quite an important place as not only do they stock all the large repro vintage dress suppliers, but they also do shoes, hats, bags and accessories.
It is so difficult to find a shop that sells clothes in my size that I can actually try on, rather than constantly ordering online and returning when they are no good.
The owner, Gretchen is a fabulous stylish lady who along with her team of Vicky and Anna have done some amazing things with the shop including live window models, dancing and other fantastic special events.
Now, she was about to celebrate the shops fifth birthday and what better way than to have a fashion show? And a charity fashion show at that.
I was kindly invited by them to take part as a model in their show, and so on Wednesday 27th September I headed over to the lovely art-deco style Picturedrome, based in Northampton.
We had been asked to be there around 2pm so we could try on our outfits and have our hair done by the amazing Lara Boot Hairdressing team.
I had to work in the morning so by the time I arrived at 1359, I was a bit of a hot sweaty mess. Vicky introduced me to the other models, of which there nine of us. I immediately apologised and said I would never remember everyone’s names. Most of the girls said the same!
We also found out that there would be some gentlemen modelling a few ranges too. They were nowhere to be seen to start with, so us ladies got on with sorting ourselves out.
We went to try on our outfits. Some girls had more than others, depending on size. I was lucky enough to have three dress changes and a lingerie walk too.
I tried all of my clothing on and it was perfect! I was in my corset and knickers but had left my robe upstairs. I genuinely couldn’t be bothered with putting my clothes back on so was going to walk upstairs in my undies.
Thankfully I saw sense and pulled my work clothes back on, as when I got back upstairs the four male models and so company reps were up there!! They would have had a shock and a half.
I had a stunning Dolly and Dotty dress to start, then a Hearts & Roses dress and finally a Voodoo Vixen occasion dress with a white fur stole.
The lingerie had all been supplied by Ann Summers and I was given the beautiful Mylah Chemise, with a lace kimono robe. I also had a paid of leather handcuffs and a hairbrush to pretend to use as a microphone.
So, we got ready in our first outfits and had a run through on the catwalk. At this point I had gone into mild panic mode. The room was quite big and the step from the stage to the runway was quite deep. I could see me toppling head over tails.
We were given some loose choreography and told to freestyle as much as we wanted. All of my clothing walks were with the lovely Tina and Demi so at least we could practice for all three sets in advance.
The lingerie set I was walking with Hannah and Lisa, so we also got together and had a little natter about what we were going to do.
We decided to keep it pretty much the same and then it was almost time for the main event.
I was lucky that I had both Baby Bear and my hubby there as support. They were, however sitting in the front row VIP section. No pressure then.
The wonderful Glamophones kicked off the evening with a selection of both vintage and modern tunes done in a old time style. They were fabulous to listen to, but by now I was really really nervous.
In someone’s wisdom, they had decided that the set in which I was wearing my first outfit was going to open the catwalk. Thankfully Tina went first, then myself and finally Demi. We had “Valerie” by Amy Winehouse as our first track which was very upbeat and “poppy” and got us all into the spirit of things.
I had a great red and black handbag as my accessory so I didn’t have to worry about what one arm was doing, at least!
The crowd were amazing. Cheering, clapping and whooping like we were One Direction (or whatever the hottest band is right now) It was such an amazing buzz and I came off the catwalk like I was walking on cloud nine.
Sadly, as we had to change for the next set, it meant we weren’t able to watch the other girls strut their stuff as much as I would have liked, but I did sneak the odd peep.
The gentleman also did their thing. In everything from Trickers shoes and boots, to Leather wear and Moss Bros Suits. They really did look amazing.
When it came to my next walk, I was repping Ann Summers. This walk was supposed to be with a hairbrush as a microphone, as we were wearing “nightwear”. The Bruno Mars tune “Treasure” was going to be playing.
I had also been given a pair of leather handcuffs which one of the guys asked if he could wear them on the stage with me. Well Lisa and Jane from Ann Summers were up for it, so a decision was made to drop the microphone idea and use the man instead.
He stripped down to his boxer shorts and shirt whilst I walked the catwalk with the three ladies before ducking off out the back.
I strapped the cuff around his wrist and dragged him onstage. The crowd literally went wild. He followed me down the runway in his undies and a fab pair of sunglasses from Sheinman’s Opticians.
When I go to the end of the catwalk I motioned him to get down on his knees. He hesitated. I gestured again with my pointed finger to the ground.
He lowered himself to his knees and the cheers were electrifying. I was thoroughly enjoying myself as I then pulled him back along the catwalk after me.
Then came more of the amazing models wearing some beautiful lingerie.
It was now half time and it gave the crowd a chance to get drinks, raffle tickets and to have a mingle.
Another performance by The Glamophones and then it was time for a really important segment.
The monies raised by the evening were going to the Northampton Rape Crisis centre. A representative gave a talk about how important the service was, and how the money raised would be used. A heartbreaking powerpoint brought home just how important the charity was. I sincerely hoped that people dug deep into their pockets and gave all that they could.
After that it was time to change, the first outfit was the gorgeous Hearts & Roses dress, with white petticoat and white hair flower. When I first saw the dress on the rail, I really wasn’t a fan of the print. I have no idea why, as it is really pretty.
Once I put it on, I absolutely loved it. And if fit like a glove. This was finished off with a gorgeous pair of sunglasses from Sheinmann’s again, which were beautiful.
Again I went up with Tina and Demi. As “Right Said Fred” sang, I did my little turn on the catwalk, again to raptuous applause. We had to walk to the great vintage song “Sing, Sing, Sing”. A sneaky vodka at half time had loosened me up a little and on the spur of the moment I decided to dance part of a Charleston stroll at the end of the catwalk.
I literally loved it and the crowd seemed to as well.
Behind the scenes was a little chaotic, however everyone had loosened up and there was a lot of banter and joking going on which really made the evening even better!
Off I went to get the last outfit change on. This one was my favourite, even though I swore I would never wear a black dress again. It was a heavily textured Voodoo Vixen dress with a satin ribbon embellishment across the breast area. I had a lot of stretch, and even better Pockets.
This was paired with a white fake fur stole, finished off with a sparkly diamante brooch, and a white petticoat. I loved this look and felt like a movie star. Tina was still trying to get into her gown, so a quick decision was made to have us escorted out by the gentlemen in their wedding/evening suits.
I have to say this ad lib idea was brilliant as it really worked so well.
I walked out with a gentleman in the most gorgeous morning suit. Grey on Grey with pink accessories, I felt like Mother of the Bride with her new Son in Law (after all I was old enough to be his mother, I think)
We walked together down the catwalk and back, before the gentlemen left us to do it again solo.
And that was it. My outfits were over which mean I could watch a little of the other walks before the finale.
The other ladies really rocked the stage and by the sound of the crowd it was very well received.
It was almost time to finish and all the models were asked back onto the stage for the finale.
Gretchen took to the stage to rapturous applause and gave a speech thanking everyone for attending, compering, modelling and helping out.
Then it was time to get out of the beautiful dress I was wearing and back into my own clothes.
Saying goodbye to everyone backstage, I went out to meet my family and head off home.
All I could think of was…
When can we do it all again?!?!?!
*****MOST OF THESE AMAZING PHOTOGRAPHS ARE COURTESY OF NILS VAN NIEUWENHUYSEN of FOTOPOSITIEF – WITH THANKS *****