UCL’s MODO Fashion Society presents ‘Olympia’

UCL MODO pulls off another runway success with Olympia. A jolly good show… with gimps.

2011 Badia Al-Hussein catwalk Emma Wong Erin Saltman Fashion Lucinda Dimbleby MODO Nyrin Jahangir olympia Rhio Cory runway sexy show trend ucl UCLU


UCL MODO pulled off another runway success with Olympia, as it has done every year since 2005.

UCL offers no fashion courses, but this hasn't stopped its students from combining their passion for creative design with intensive degrees, ranging from Neuroscience to Economics. Co-organiser Tori Jordan – who now works at Vogue having read History at UCL, graduating last year – tells The Buzz “it's a testament to UCL students. That's the whole point of MODO”. The show highlights the dynamism of the student body, additionally drawing on the Photography Society, Make Up Society, and the Malaysian Society, who opened the evening with a vibrant, carefully stylised dance performance in monochrome outfits.

Drab by day, UCL’s North Cloisters was transformed by an impressive runway that could have easily looked at home in a professional show. The hard work and hours of intense rehearsal by all involved certainly paid off, as proceedings ran without a hitch from the outset, making it easy to forget that this was a 100% student-run production. The audience certainly added to the illusion as one gazed across the catwalk to see rows of bespectacled, made-up and well-defined-cheek-boned faces with the topknot hairstyles and willowy legs of models off duty.

Many pieces embraced the Olympic theme, notably Nyrin Jahangir's stunning gold dress with a cutaway section at the chest and matching headband, Lucinda Dimbleby's use of gold rings connected together as a belt for a flowing white skirt, and Rhio Cory's sheer maxi skirt with a stitched in Union Jack; a piece that doubled up as a patriotic cape. Make up was also inspired by the olympic colours, as well as the recent Anna Sui collections, which inspired the dot used under the models' eyes.

Erin Saltman's bold collection was so sultry it had a few male members of the audience shifting uncomfortably in their seats [insert erection joke here] and was a definite stand out of the night, combining catwalk with performance. An 'earth mother' in a flowing gown wearing a crown of leaves rode a strapping male model on all fours along the runway. This was followed by another manslave in gold leggings with neon green netting puffs led onto the stage on a skateboard. An ethereal 'bride' in a matching green veil guided him with a leash, before the roles were reversed and he carried her off the stage. “Fun, vibrant and sometimes risqué”, one audience member aptly summarized for The Buzz. Similarly sexy were Badia Al-Hussein’s San Tropez-inspired luxe beachwear collection and Emma Wong’s daring short-shorts. To put it mildly, this writer could see more than she bargained for from her seat in the front row.

The designers’ innovation and the talent of all involved – from technicians to make up artists to organisers – shone through in every collection. All in all, a jolly good show… with gimps.

Words by Katrina Russell and Ally Russell

Photos by Georgina Rutherford and Rich Kerr