Belfast Telegraph

Style in the aisle as Ulster University fashion students put on St Anne's Cathedral show

By David Young

St Anne's Cathedral had never seen anything like it.

As rock music pounded and gantry lights blazed, super-slim catwalk models sashayed their way down the aisle - some of them in outfits that could have been designed to bring a slight blush to a clergyman's cheeks, but were reasonably mild by most fashion show standards.

Hundred of fashionistas, academics and proud mums and dads packed the unusual venue as Ulster University's graduate fashion show got under way in the 100-year-old Church of Ireland cathedral.

It was the first time St Anne's had hosted a catwalk show, and the cathedral's Canon Denise Hutchinson - dressed in elegant blue clerical vestments - said it was delighted to do so, and to build closer relations with the university.

Earlier in the day as the models were rehearsing, the choir could be heard practising above them.

Asked if she thought the cathedral was a suitable venue for such a show, Canon Hutchinson said: "It's about the sacred and the community. It's about the religious and the community meeting together. I'm really looking forward to the show."

Janet Coulter, senior lecturer in fashion at Ulster University, said: "This is the perfect venue for the work the students have done.

"The cathedral won't have seen anything like it. I'm just delighted for the cathedral and delighted for my students."

She wasn't joking, and some of the regular church-goers may not be so sanguine about the level of flesh on display last night when they turn up on Sunday.

While the first half of the fashion show proceeded at a relatively stately pace, things began to heat up when some sizzlingly sexy designs by Swedish fashion student Siri Mattson hit the stage. But the biggest cheer of the night came when student menswear designer Andrew Smyth turned up the heat with his collection of barely-there menswear.

His chiselled male models sported bare torsos, cutaway leggings, once-piece drop crotch outfits, and something that looked like a kind of male burqa, concealing the model's face, but focusing attention on the parts we could see. There was a discernible fluttering in the audience as people began to fan themselves with their programmes.

This was a night at the cathedral like no other - but one that sent the fashion worshippers home with a smile on their faces.

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