A festival of fashion in St Albans

The catwalk show in St Albans Cathedral

The catwalk show in St Albans Cathedral - Credit: Archant

Last year’s inaugural St Albans Fashion Week was organised in just four intense months. So what can be expected after a year’s planning? Ethanie Jackson Turner gets the inside scoop from event director Ellena Ophira

The Dressing Room catwalk show

The Dressing Room catwalk show - Credit: Archant

This month sees the return of St Albans Fashion Week and, with more on offer, this year’s spectacle from October 27 to November 2 looks to emulate the successes of world-famous shows such as London, Paris, Milan and New York.

Hertfordshire’s festival-loving city – already home to celebrations of film, food and, this year, books too – will be taken over by a platoon of fashionistas for a week that promises to outshine last year’s inaugural event.

It took festival director Ellena Ophira just four months to put on the well-received 2013 show, ‘It was certainly tight last year,’ she admits. ‘This year feels completely different.’

Ophira’s small, close-knit festival team consists of designer Tim Hinks, beautician Karen Snook, photographers Jeanette Lendon and Michelle Becker and intern Vicky Taylor, who have planned a series of events across the city and beyond ranging from the small and quirky to the large and spectacular.

Porsche Centre Hatfield lingerie show

Porsche Centre Hatfield lingerie show - Credit: Archant

‘We’ve given ourselves a lot more time and gone about improving and building on the best parts of 2013’s event while adding a whole host of new fabulous things for this year,’ Ophira says.

Last year featured a catwalk show with what has to be one of the best backdrops in the fashion world – the interior of St Albans Cathedral. The highlight will again take place on the Friday night, but this year the line-up also features another stunning venue, Hatfield House, for an exclusive wedding show, plus the Porsche Centre in Hatfield for a 1930s-inspired lingerie soirée. Impressed, right? And rightly so.

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Ophira’s vision for this extravagant affair in her local community – which she credits as the driving force behind her hard work – is something to marvel at. She thrives on creative spontaneity, but her detailing is also second to none. Her unique style is prominent in this year’s promotional campaign, which depicts the festival theme ‘Lose yourself in the fairytale of fashion’.

‘My vision for all the shows is that each one will be a spectacle in its own right, with its own unique style, atmosphere and ambiance,’ she explains. ‘I want to showcase the incredible fashion and beauty and the young and local talent that we have on our doorstep and bring a week to St Albans that people will never forget.’


St Albans Fashion Week highlights:


October 27.

John Lewis will be holding a clothes styling seminar with high tea at St Michael’s Manor, St ALbans. Learn which shapes, cuts and colours suit you best. From 4pm.


Porsche Centre will be opening the doors of its stylish Hatfield showroom for a 1930s inspired evening. Guests will be treated to a live swing band, martini bar, and a host of looks from cocktail dresses and tailored tuxes to sophisticated lingerie. TIME?


October 29.

Hatfield House will host a luxury wedding event that promises to harness the relationship between wedding dresses and fashion. Exhibits include bridal wear, tailoring, bridesmaid attire, guest attire, flowers, jewellery, shoes, beach and swimwear. A post-show reception will allow guests to mingle with retailers and service providers. TIME


October 31.

The return of the iconic St Albans Cathedral catwalk. Look out for some further afield retailers including Boltons, Mint Velvet, Oui and Purple Menswear from Harpenden and Welwyn Garden City’s John Lewis.


Other events throughout the week include a pop-up barbers and bar for gents, styling seminars in local indie boutiques, beauty treatments, an awards ceremony and more. For full details go to stalbansfashionweek.com. Event tickets are on sale at allaboutstalbans.com

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