From Backstage to Showtime, the low down on Nor Lisa's AW '12 Catwalk Show!!!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Most of the time when attending Fashion Events, i'm sitting FROW, watching the models strutting down the catwalk in this season's most covetable designs!

However there are time's when i'm involved backstage or even hosting the show, and I can honestly confess that from the vantage point of the hallowed FROW, you have no idea of just how much blood, sweat & tears goes into producing a great catwalk show!!

When Nor Lisa Designer Lisa McCabe approached me to come on board to help with organising elements of her show as well as stepping in last minute to host the event, I couldn't wait to get involved!
Having watched this designer grow and evolve from her debut merely a yr ago, (as well as us becoming good friends) i've seen her grow from strength to strength, always staying true to her own personal design asthetic!

Known primarily for her hand printed, custom made prints, strong use of colour & her trademark "Spitfire" motif, her designs are instantly recognisable. For her first stand-alone show she wanted to create an intimate, Parisian couture salon feel, where audience members could feel they were getting a privilaged peek into the decadent world of Nor Lisa.

Cafe Vaudeville fitted the bill perfectly, with the show taking place in the sumptuous surroundings of it's V.I.P. "House of Champagne", the Arabian decor acting as the perfect backdrop for Nor Lisa's latest collection.

Throughout the day, Cafe Vaudeville was a hive of activity, with myself & our backstage crew setting up, whilst Make Up Artist Nuala Campbell & Hair Stylist Lee Stinton, along with their team's worked their magic on the gorgeous models!
Lee's creative hairstyles amazed us all & I for one couldn't wait to have my hair done by him! His first concept for me was a straight style, uber glossy and sleek, however one look at the dress I was wearing as Host, changed all that! Instead he opted for a more vintage wave look, complimenting Nor Lisa’s vintage style, royal blue lace dress I was lucky enough to be wearing!

Nuala's make up looks were very autumnal, concentrating on strong eyes, balancing the strong impact of Lisa's designs! It was amazing to watch already beautiful girls being transformed into catwalk queens before my very eyes! Oh how I wish I could have Nuala around everyday to do the same to me!

Every aspect of the show had been thought out by Lisa in advance, with the opulence of Cafe Vaudeville's VIP area, perfectly blending in with the lace, silks & flocked fabrics of her designs. However lots had to be done, from preparing downstairs for dancer Carly Boyle's performance, lighting and sound checks, catwalk run throughs to setting up the West Coast Cooler drinks reception & setting out The Sugar Room's amazing Nor Lisa inspired cupcakes! Before we all knew it, 7pm had arrived & the countdown to showtime had begun!

After guests mingled at the West Coast Cooler reception, the evening began with a breathtaking dance from dancer & gymnast Carly Boyle. The audience watched in awe as she gracefully moved across the floor, seamlessly moving from one amazing postiton into another!

Backstage was as fast paced as ever......a blur and before I knew it, a mircophone was placed in my hand & I was ushered to the Vaudeville's SHOWTIME!!!

Lisa dressed me in a stunning full length, royal blue lace dress! It was a dress fit for a princess, with a full sleeved lace bodice & daring low cut back.....the skirt was full length, with a train, as well as a risque high front spilt, causing it to flow gracefully behind me as I walked. This was indeed a total "Red Carpet" dress & one I never wanted to take off!!

The show itself was a complete success, with the underlying theme of the collection being anti animal cruelity, manifesting itself through her use of abstract animal prints, which included scales, dragonfly, eagle wings & antlers! In simple shift styles, these prints worked perfectly & for anyone who couldn't afford a dress but still wanted the look, they were also available as scarves.

Lisa is known for her show stopping dresses and building from last season's black lace dress she introduced new versions in red & blue, as well as showcasing a short sleeved red version!

Of course the label is synonymous with her iconic "Spitfire" print and this appeared in a new green/blue version, both as a scarf and dress, the cool undertones working well for A/W!

However the night wasn't without it's surprises, with new fabrics such as a red flocked dress & silver sequin dress complete with draped chiffon panels making a welcome appearance, as well as an opulent gold and maroon lace dress, proving that Lisa is far from a one trick pony!

But it was her finale dress which caused the biggest stir, Diona Doherty, (finalist in Britian & Ireland's Next Top Model) looked every bit the modern goddess, in a striking black lace & burnished gold dress, complete with custom made vintage headpiece (again created by Lisa) & tribal feathers! The perfect end to a fabulous collection!!

The outfits were perfectly complimented by talented jewellery designer Melanie Bond. Honestly, we were like kids in a candy store when Melanie first appeared with her pieces earlier in the day, and it's no surprise to discover she's even been advertised in the hallowed pages of UK VOGUE!!

For us the night was over, but all the hard work was worth it as we heard the excited reactions from the crowd as they exited from the show!

For anyone who missed the show, please check out the Nor Lisa website ( or facebook page for more information, and don't forget Lisa's fabulous designs will be gracing the catwalk once again at West Coast Cooler FASHIONWEEK'S N.I. Designers Catwalk Show, on Sat 20th Oct. Check out for more details & how to buy tickets!

Massive thanks to everyone backstage, the fabulous models, CMPR, West Coast Cooler, Sugar Room, Lee Stinton, Flying Dreams Creative Photography, Melanie Bond Jewellery, Cafe Vaudeville, Pop *Creations & last but not least, Nuala Campbell, not only for her make up skill's but for her delicious buns that kept us all going backstage!!
But most of all thanks to talented Lisa for asking me to get involved!!!
I may have needed to sleep for a week afterwards, Zzzzzzzz.......but I had a total blast!!
Can't wait for next season!!

All photographs courtesy of Stephen Potter; Excluding photograph of myself, taken by DRB Photography.

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  1. You were the hostess with the most-est! Well done you. Avril x

    1. Aww you are so kind to say that, thanks so much Avril & thanks for all the support! xx

  2. Fantastic blog yet again! You were an amazing host! Gina x

    1. I'm so pleased you enjoyed readng it Gina & i'm so glad you enjoyed me hosting! Thanks so much!! xx