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Cathedral catwalk for fashion show a first at St Anne's in Belfast

By John Porter

Published 28/05/2015

Dean John Mann
Dean John Mann
St Anne's Cathedral

St Anne's Cathedral is set to strut its stuff on the catwalk as the historic Belfast landmark prepares to drop the Bible to get into Vogue - for one night only.

The Ulster University's School of Arts Graduate Fashion Show will take place in the 116-year-old venue tomorrow night.

In place of the aisle will be a 60ft long, 4ft wide catwalk for the 21 emerging fashion designers as they show off their final year's work.

It's the first time the cathedral has staged an event of its kind.

Those behind the show, say they will be respectful to the historic and religious setting.

Tracey Hall is producing the show alongside the students.

She said the stunning backdrop will be the star of the event.

"It's such a beautiful setting we did not want to cover it up in any way," she said.

"Normally we would have a screen right across for the models to walk out from, but on the night they will just walk on out past the lectern and onto the catwalk. We didn't want to take anything away from the cathedral."

Tracey said every part of the show has been managed by a committee of students who have kept in mind the sacred venue for their end-of-year bash.

"They have been very careful to consider the church," she added.

"All the music was approved by the Dean, but we just made sure to use the radio edit of the songs.

"And all the clothes have been designed with saleability in mind - so there is nothing that will cause concern.

"The students have been very careful, but nothing in the show has had to be changed because of the venue."

Tracey was also involved in the Derry City Fashion Fest which took place in St Columb's Cathedral last year.

She added: "That was my church and as vestry secretary I was very careful to make sure the venue was respected.

"I was able to show Dean Mann pictures from it and how much of a success it was and I think that's what convinced him."

She added: "My Style Academy offices are right opposite St Anne's and I would often call into the cathedral for services through the week.

"For the past 10 years I have been wanting to do something in it.

"I was delighted the dean said yes and I am delighted to have been involved.

"We are hoping - and praying - it all goes smoothly, because I want to be back."

Parishioners have said they are looking forward to the event.

Mary-Christine Armstrong, a regular at the church, said she was very happy with it taking place.

She added: "If it is something which helps bring more young people into the church, then it has to be a good thing.

"The Dean has said he has had assurances there will not be anything vulgar to do with it and I think it is great that those in the church have allowed it." Dean Mann said careful consideration had been given to the event prior to it getting the green light.

In an interview with this paper last month, he said: "We would not want anything very revealing or lingerie or anything like that. It has all been talked through.

"I think it should be a very nice event and people will like to have it there."

The event takes place tomorrow night.

Tickets will be available to buy on the doors, which open at 7.15pm.

Belfast Telegraph

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