Remember the new London women’s networking group, WeAreTheCity? Their launch event was a huge success: hundreds of women queuing around the Monument branch of House of Fraser, all anticipating a free makeover, champagne, a fashion show and a prize draw with some excellent gifts.
Two glasses of champagne and two fairy cakes later (the main trays of canapés tantalisingly out of reach every time they passed by), I was seriously tempted to invest in another handbag from the great selection on the first floor, but fortunately my bank balance was saved by the announcement over the tannoy to take our seats for the fashion show.
I don’t remember the last time I went to a fashion show, although I’m sure I went to one when I was at school. The theme was ‘desk to date’ and the models appeared in pairs – mainly wearing the same outfit with different accessories to turn a workwear wardrobe into an outfit for a night on the town. This seemed to mainly involve putting on the highest heels imaginable. One model looked like she was holding on to her male escort so she wouldn’t fall over, and she had trouble with the steps at the end of the catwalk. Still, they weren’t professional models, they were House of Fraser store employees. Having said that, two of carried themselves as if they were professionals, with the little swaggers and poses.
Hannah Mercer, leading stylist and store director, announced what each model was wearing and there were some incredible outfits and beautiful dresses. It was interesting to see the same dress on two completely different sized women, just to compare how it looked (different, but not bad). There was one outfit that you wouldn’t catch me dead in, at desk or on date, and I said so more loudly than I realised at just a quiet point in the music – don’t you hate it when that happens? Luckily the women next to me agreed, and that broke the ice.
It is difficult to meet new people at this kind of event, but when Vanessa Vallely gave her opening speech of thanks (after a mysterious power cut that took out the lights, computer and sound system had been resolved) she urged everyone to take away the business card of at least one other person, otherwise it would have been a wasted opportunity.
I did just that – I saw Christina Ioannidis and one of the SEO Chicks in the crowd and went to speak to them. Christina is running a course I’m attending in November – more on that at the time.
The next WATC event is lunch with Nicola Horlick, hosted by Morgan Stanley on 16 October. It’s a pity I can’t make that one, but I’m sure there will be some notes about it on the WATC website, and if the launch party is anything to go by the next events will be fab – these city girls know how to let their hair down after work!