In the opening scene, models walked across the runway wearing brightly coloured swimsuits. In another, lingerie-clad women dance to “Lady Marmalade.” In a third, a group of students strut while wearing denim on denim. These three aesthetics might sound entirely different, but they’re connected by one thing: fashion that once symbolized revolution.
Last night at the London Convention Centre, The Purple Spur Society presented their annual fashion show to a sold-out audience of 600 attendees. "Revolt" explored empowerment through fashion, with each scene showcasing a different era when certain styles symbolized rebellion. Wearing community-sponsored clothing, models walked across the runway with fashion statements that once defied norms, including the sexual rebellion of burlesque lingerie to the edgy, punk rock looks of the '80s.
“We embody different social movements throughout history and how they changed fashion,” said Marcela Hernandez Gonzalez, the fashion show’s creative director.
The show started off strong, with swimsuit-clad models taking to the runway as a voiceover explained that bikinis were a sign of female empowerment and revolution in the '50s. The group of models showcased polished choreography that included dancing and snapping, inspired by the era's bops and jitterbugs. The scene, like many others throughout the show, paired retro influence with modern pop music.
Although "Revolt" did an excellent job of returning to its theme, there were moments when the theme took a back seat to choreography. One of these moments was in the formal wear part of the show, which promised androgynous fashion that defied gender norms.
“It’s assumed which piece will be worn by who," co-host Selena Romero explained, referring to gender-conforming clothing items like dresses and suits. "We hope to create acts of rebellion and break through these expectations.”
However, apart from three female models wearing pants, the scene showcased the norms it promised to defy: women in long gowns paired with men in suits. While the models' apparel was beautiful and the dancing was energetic, Spur missed the mark on rebellion through androgynous fashion during the formal wear scenes.
That being said, it's clear the night was an overall success and a big win for the Ontario Federation for Cerebral Palsy.
"The fashion show is new to us, but over the past four years it has raised over $100,000 for various charities," said Mark Watson, the president of Spur.
Stephen Beith, a representative from the OFCP, explained the positive impact Spur has had on the community.
“The proceeds from this show will enable the OFCP to further assist more than 34,000 children and adults with Cerebral Palsy in Ontario in a variety of ways,” Beith said. He explained that the funds would be used to provide access to assistive communication devices and improve cerebral palsy research and advocacy.
Spur's "Revolt" also pulled off a bigger production, filling a venue twice the size of last year's. Broderick Lomax, the show's executive producer, said last year's London Music Hall show had a capacity of 300, and tickets sold out in two days. Spur went bigger this year, which clearly payed off.
The fashion show ended with a scene that showcased community rather than rebellion. All 120 models ran onto the runway together in Western University attire, dancing to “Body” by Loud Luxury — a band created by Andrew Fedyk, a Western alum. From Western Dad sweaters to Western-branded Speedos, the scene reminded the audience of Spur’s mission statement: providing a sense of community to Western students.
Despite a few hitches, Spur managed to pull off an impressive show that highlighted rebellion and revolution though fashion. Through charisma and choreography, the student-run event took on a professional air while giving back to its community.