Why strutting in lingerie through Oxford Circus for London Fashion Week was a feminist moment
Deni celebrated London Fashion Week by stripping off for the Bluebella Dare To Bare catwalk – right through the middle of Oxford Street.
It was one of the boldest and bravest moments I can remember, and we all felt it. This powerful female energy.
Nineteen of us strutted across Oxford Circus wearing strappy, sexy Bluebella lingerie (and nipple stickers where necessary), as part of a stunt for London Fashion Week.
Police officers came to check out what the fuss was all about, but not only did they not arrest us, but they posed for photos, joining in with an increasing fanbase watching the event unfold at the busy junction.
Men and women praised us with words of support such as, ‘Who run the world?’ And I think we all felt a little Beyonce.
The stunt was part of Bluebella lingerie’s Dare To Bare campaign, a bold show of female confidence, getting everyday powerful women to rock badass lingerie – whether a man will see it or not.
Models including artists, actors and admin assistants were all scouted from Instagram after they applied through a call-out on the Bluebells page.
I was so happy – and a bit nervous – to be selected together with a host of awesome real-life role models of all shapes, sizes and backgrounds.
Many women were already super-confident Queens, some wanted to beat anxiety issues and others wanted the experience to boost their body-image.
All of us ended up feeling hugely uplifted. We were all Bluebella fans and delighted to be involved in the event for London Fashion Week.
We got ready together at Dirty Harry’s bar off Oxford Street with the help of a hair stylist and MUA (and some procecco) early on Sunday morning.
Lexie, 26, (redhead) had lost two-and-a-half stone after suffering from ulcerative colitis, which is similar to Crohn’s. People around her said they were worried she looked so frail, but since putting weight back on, and taking part in the catwalk, she says her confidence is rising.
She said: ‘This is a great way to get some confidence back. I was a little nervous but it was brilliant fun.’
The youngest model was Chilli, 18, (cropped ginger hair) who said: ‘I’ve loved Bluebella for a long time – it all about empowering women and its models always have strong, unique looks. It was a lot of fun and people’s reactions were great.’
Notting Hill Carnival troupe dancer Cheyanne March, 24, (centre) actually told me she got no sleep the night before – but there was no way she was going to miss this. The medical PA from South East London, said: ‘I wanted to challenge my inner naughtiness. I was nervous but excited.’
For me, this was a fantastic way to celebrate female body confidence.
The experience of wearing jaw-dropping lingerie in the busiest London location pushed us all out of our comfort zones. I think we all felt a little nervous at first and a little tired halfway through but taking part in the public catwalk was an incredibly brave thing and like nothing I’ve ever done before.
The public were in awe of us and the girls all supported each other and we embraced our diversity, and our individual and collective beauty.
We owned our fierceness and our confidence rocketed, and we all made a new set of sassy and inspiring female friends.
Bluebella’s CEO and founder Emily Bendell is an awesome eight-months-pregnant, Oxbridge graduate rock n’ roll chick who started this business alone and came up with the idea for the London Fashion Week event.
She said the Dare To Bare campaign was a fun way to celebrate her brand’s unique approach to life and fashion and celebrate the city of London.
Emily said: ‘We put out an appeal on Instagram and were amazed at the response with many of the women posing to overcome body confidence issues.
‘We have the best police in the world. The officers had some initial concerns about the safety of the models, but once they knew we were being sensible they were good fun.
‘All the women were amazing on the day. We only had 26 seconds for each take while the green man was flashing, so we had to be super quick. We had a brilliant response from the public who were cheering all the girls.
‘We have a history of shoots demonstrating both our commitment to celebrating diversity in beauty and of celebrating the city around us and this was the most exciting yet.’
Emily picked Oxford Circus for the shoot because the diagonal paths on the crossing are similar to a catwalk: ‘We are very much a London brand and are constantly inspired by the city around us and this is an iconic London landmark, so it seemed like a great fit.’
Katherine, 28, (with purple hair) said she ‘wanted to try and make myself more confident. It’s highly scary but good’ while Caroline, 30, (with short brown hair) who is originally from Chile, said it was a ‘great way to show off the beautiful different shapes.’
Sam, 20, (with long brown hair), said it’s ‘all about seizing the day. Life is all about adventures and challenges.’
Bluebella organised the show early in the morning to minimise congestion ahead of London Fashion Week in September.