The Spur Fashion Show took over London Music Hall last weekend to a sold out crowd of friends and family. Showcasing more skin than fashion, the production played out as one big party dripping with Western pride, proving that the show was more interested in parading the finest Western students compared to the finest garments available in London.
This year's theme was Mirage, playing off the idea of optical illusions and varying atmospheric conditions. Considering that the show needed to achieve this theme in every scene, it was clear that the concept was too vague as there was little to no cohesion in the lookbook, let alone each number. But before the show began, opening messages from hosts Connor Malbeuf and Olivia Keast warmed up the audience for the next two hours of sitting.
Their jokes were shady and scandalous, making them great reoccurring faces while adding much-needed organization to the show.
After their opening dialogue, they highlighted that this year's funds were going towards Motionball, a non-profit organization offering athletic opportunities for special olympic athletes. Chairman and co-founder of Motionball, Paul Etherington, spoke about the beginnings of the cause and thanked Spur for generously picking them as this year's charity. The show raised upwards of $25,000, marking a personal best for Spur and the highest contribution to Motionball by a university.
Without any more delays, Spur finally started with an anticlimactic scene of models lining the stage, doing acrobatics, then leaving. The music did not drop, the dancing was short-lived and audience members looked around wondering if the transition to the first scene was missed. It was a bland beginning for the yearning crowd.
Greek Gods turned this confusion into a joyous day at the tennis court as models lined the stage with their white activewear. It was an upbeat number that brought back the energy lost in the opening scene and also overshadowed the following scene, Sirens. Models walked the runway in their bathing suits and although their bodies were toned, nothing truly happened. Sirens came and went with the bat of an eye. The acrobats were cool though.
Apocalyptic followed and showcased the best clothing of the show. Modelling a Yeezy aesthetic, the streetwear number had hype outfits and music, but the choreography was a mess. Models did not know their counts and the dancing was stiff — something that became very apparent as fellow models looked frustrated at each other.
This was one of the many points where the show lacked in execution. Throughout Spur, models were spotted peering out of the wings to see their cues as opposed to listening to the music from behind the curtain. Whether this was a product of few dress rehearsals or models failing to practice, it was a noticeable flaw in every scene and distracted from who and what was on the runway.
The two best scenes of the show took place before and after intermission. Witchcraft, also known as formal, was ethereal and captivating as Lana Del Rey's "Dark Paradise" set the scene for devastation and drama. Two models embodied the theme with their elaborate lace veils that draped their bodies and although they looked like witches they were also the only black women in the scene, generating questions of racial coding and witchcraft. Black women have a history of being negatively portrayed as twisted and untrustworthy beings and whether this was an accident or not, it was a shortsighted creative decision.
To everyone's excitement, Vikings answered the much-anticipated scene of lingerie. Male models welcomed the audience back to the show with a steamy lap dance scene and left the crowd buzzing with excitement for the upcoming number. Beyonce's "Six Inches" added to the tension as male models returned to the stage and welcomed the curvy dominatrix who strutted her stuff down the runway. This by far was the cleanest choreographed scene. Everyone knew their counts, the dancing was classy and sexual and quenched the audience's tangible thirst. It was clear that this was the scene everyone waited for, and to much avail they knocked it out of the park.
Nymphs, the modern number, came and went with fashionable ensembles reminiscent of music festivals. But the standout performance of Spur was the Motionball athletes.
Performing a carefree scene filled with charisma and charm, each athlete walked down the runway to the audience's claps and cheers. The scene was a fan favourite and finished with a standing ovation. It was an incredible moment where everyone saw who their money was going to and made the perfect prelude to the final scene of school apparel featuring all Spur models draped in Western garbs.
What was clear about Spur is that students were not primarily there for the fashion, but rather to witness some of the most attractive people Western has to offer. When it came down to the actual fashion show the execution dramatically faltered.
However, most of the problems with the execution are at the fault of the executive team as opposed to the models. Spur ultimately held small, disparate fashion shows within it due to the lack of cohesion from the unclear theme — the only scenes that truly complimented each other were Sirens, Witchcraft, Vikings and Nymphs; everything else fell at the wayside and compromised the overall aesthetic. Students showcasing what their body had to offer became the overriding factor of the show, essentially making the production an auction for afterparty goers and who they wanted to flirt with.
Nonetheless, Spur still contributed a whopping $25,000 for Motionball and offered students a space to applaud each other on a public stage. Moving forward, Spur could learn the importance of a cohesive theme that can be illustrated in seven scenes. With this, they have the potential to generate more revenue in the future and and produce a show of higher calibre.
Editor's Note (March 29, 2017):
Additions were made to the ninth paragraph of this article post-publication after a few sentences were omitted due to an editorial oversight.