Why would Fine & Country Berkhamsted host a fashion show? This was the most asked question I had during the last 7 weeks, as we created the Fashion Show. Most recently during an interview with a local radio station to promote our event, the producer could not understand what possible link an estate agent would have to fashion and what our motivation would be to put on such an event. We have long supported the Hospice but this year we wanted to raise money by doing something different, something unexpected which would help us engage our local business with other local businesses, high street retailers and local people alike. With all the hype on social media about London and New York Fashion Week, this piqued our interest and The Fine & Country Fashion Show was born. Where better a venue than St Peters Church; a beautiful backdrop for the show, accessible to everyone and at the heart of the town.

Once we had secured the church as our venue, we knew we where on the path to creating an amazing night.  Working with a tight group of people, we began to formulate our plans – engaging an amazing production company was a huge tick for logistics. We contacted local retailers and several independent designers who were all very enthusiastic and thought it was a brilliant idea, loved the hospice connection. The fashion element complete, next we needed the models!  Our Glam squad came courtesy of Cecily Day Spa & Castle Hair and on a bright and sunny Saturday we began our models casting.  Our small team ready for action literally ran up & down the High Street dragging people into our office for a quick sign up form and a selfie!  We enlisted 45 models in the end, some friends some family and some complete strangers. We arranged several rehearsals leading up to the big day and our loyal models came rain, shine and late in their evenings to practice after a long days’ work. We could not have done it without them, they were amazing, trusting in our vision and come the big night were mistaken for professional models, the biggest compliment of all.

The local support was overwhelming, with the Hospice at the heart of our mission we began selling tickets like hotcakes. Everybody contributed and pushed ticket sales- the retailers were relentless spreading the word with posters, social media and wherever they could. Outside of our day job the hours were filled with fashion. The collections, the music, model rehearsals and pulling together the timeline for the days before during and after the show which was growing longer and longer by the minute. Attention to detail being paramount we had the red carpet to secure, gold chairs for the VIP’s, who would creatively dress the mannequins with flowers and making sure the timing of each collection down the runway was perfect. Much sleep was lost over planning the church transformation, moving pews, setting up the catwalk and rigging of the lighting, Steve Butcher and his team at Universal Event Production were amazing. Check out the behind the scenes video here and you will get an insight into the scale of work involved.

The day has arrived and thank goodness the weather has been kind to us. Early in the morning there is already a buzz in the air as the retailers begin to wheel their perfectly prepared rails of clothes & accessories into place.  The Church was a hive of activity, flowers being arranged, sound and lighting checks- the production team in full flow as we made the final transformation.  Our glam squad set to work on the mammoth task of styling hair and makeup for all 45 models-even the boys didn’t get left out. There was one last chance for a final run through before the church began filling up with guest taking their seats.  Lights, camera, action! As we came into the church and saw the amount of people seated (with only 6 tickets left to sell) it was at that moment our original vision was realised beyond all expectations. The pressure was now on to deliver a memorable show.

The night was an amazing success and incredibly well supported as proven by a packed after show party at the Gatsby where everybody got to let their hair down & relax.  Following the fashion show we have received so many compliments, but the biggest thrill of all is that we are about to present a cheque to the Hospice of St Francis for £7.5k -a brilliant donation towards this amazing cause.  To put on a charity event of this scale, you need a passionate and reliable team by your side. It has been a phenomenal journey and challenge and one we could not have gone alone without the unbelievable support of all the amazing people who have given up so much of their time to help us bring this fund raising event to fruition. With special thanks to the following:- Dee Dashwood, Susannah Fraser, Kate Lupton, Carol and Polly King, Mickaela Morgan, Steve Butcher and his team, Sarah Udall, Helen Reeley, Miscke Weinreb, Matt Windmill and The St Peter’s Church.

So back to the original question why Fine & Country and a fashion show ? Why not? We like to be different and this certainly was, we love challenge and the last seven weeks has been a huge one and we love our town, local businesses and people in it.

With special thanks to our retailers:- Abbelle, Lolly & Mitch, William Young, Billy White Bags, Hides Couture, Berkhamsted Sports, The Lace Collection, Your Image, Purple Menswear, Marc Cain, Amelie, Take Me With You, Brides of Berkhamsted Shu Shu Thank you for trusting in us to showcase your beautiful collections.