The return of glamour and going out means that glittering charity events such as the Leeds Fashion Ball are back – and so are its brilliant catwalk models, all real working professionals from Yorkshire’s business community.
Lisa Darwin, founder of FB Fashion Ball, is once again taking on the bold task of gathering together lawyers, accountants, finance directors and a host of other executives, and preparing them to take to the stage to show off new collection clothes loaned for the evening from prestige brands.
Dozens and dozens of men and women gladly swap their daily smart tailored suits for evening gowns and leisurewear to perform, and often dance, in front of their colleagues and rivals watching them from their dinner table seats. It’s all for the greater good, with the models and their companies raising money for charities of their choice.
“After such an uncertain time and navigating our lives and businesses through Covid-19, we wanted to plan a huge celebration and create a unique, fun event where everyone can glam up, let their hair down and have a much-needed catch-up,” says Lisa.
So there will be a glitzy drinks reception, a three-course dinner, the live fashion show, luxury auction prizes and a glitzy VIP after-show party.
Lisa says brands including John Lewis, Jigsaw, Harvey Nichols, Hawes & Curtis, RMUK Hair & Beauty, Accent Clothing and Ted Baker are set to take part, alongside new independent designers, with Yorkshire influencers also attending.
“We have missed everyone,” she adds. “FB will be such a unique experience with businesses and lifestyle brands coming together to celebrate local heroes alongside business leaders and their employees.”
The Leeds FB Fashion Ball takes place at New Dock Hall in Leeds on the evening of October 21. See www.fbfashionball.show and @FBfashionball
Here in a preview shoot for the event, Lisa joins five of the other business models taking part on the catwalk...
Lisa Darwin is CEO of FB Fashion Ball, Global Image Influencer Group and Lavish.
Lisa says: “I have organised the FB Fashion Ball for 24 years and cheered on hundreds of professionals strutting for their chosen charities. A few years ago, one of the fashion designers asked me to model for them and their charity, so I did and have continued to model for numerous charities. It’s so much fun.
“I lead from the front, proving that if I can do it, anyone can. I love clothes and being glamorous. Give me any excuse to wear sparkle every day. I love beautiful dresses, sexy jumpsuits and tailored blazers. I think a tailored suit with a pussy-bow blouse looks chic and I adore a tailored flared trouser suit with a cami.”
Justine Osmotherley, of Leeds, is a partner at Clarion Solicitors and makes her modelling debut at the ball.
Justine says: “I love all things fashion and it seemed like a fantastic opportunity to raise my profile, make some new contacts and have a bit of fun.
“As a lawyer, my dress code was quite traditional and was often a dress and suit jacket. Lockdown and remote working has changed all that, so I love a fancy dress, box fresh trainers and plenty of accessories. On a weekend, I’m more jeans and trainers, but only designer jeans and designer trainers.”
Alexandra Fogal, who lives near Wetherby, is associate partner at Ernst & Young.
Alexandra says: “This year I will be strutting for Business Beats Cancer Yorkshire, networking and being able to do something I love as part of the day job. The event is fun and there is nothing like it for the professional business community – the many connections I’ve made have now become some of my closest friends.
“I have been involved for over 10 years as a model, as well as supported Lisa with the choreography of the all-girl group. It’s a dream experience helping create fun routines for the catwalk.
“I love colour and feminine outfits, so it’s great to bring my own style to work and play. I do really like a smart dress for work to create that power outfit when meeting new clients or going into a pitch.”
Mel Fourie, of Rossendale, is a finance development director.
Mel says: “I’ve had cancer so when Lisa, my friend now, asked me, I thought why not, let’s empower ladies to celebrate their life.
“I’ve done promotional modelling when I was younger, and I was modelling at FB last year, but the pandemic prevented this, so I’m excited to model for my chosen charity.
“I’m a smart-casual person, more edgy these days. I love jumpsuits, classic trouser suits are my favourite and, of course, a glam dress. I love make-up and fashion but I am not a fan of having my picture taken.”
Aimee Willow, is director of Aimee Willow Connex.
Aimee says: “I have modelled in this amazing event for over 12 years. It’s a fabulous, glam event where I have built strong, long-standing relationships. The event is fun and brings out the best in everyone involved. “I love wearing smart and stylish suits, dresses and blazers for work. Going out, I’m all about jumpsuits, skirts or leggings, and crop tops and pretty much anything fitted! I can’t be without a good high heel for any occasion.”
Yasmine Holliday is business development director of Nucleus Commercial Finance.
Yasmine says: “It’s great to support a charity of my choice and make a difference while having great fun and making new contacts that become friends.
“I am passionate about styling, along with incorporating colour into my everyday wardrobe for work and leisure. I love a maxi dress, and anything glamorous as well as a tailored suit dress with heels or wedges.”