Acid Attack Survivors Kick Off London Fashion Week
Today is the first official day of London Fashion Week 2016. However, it was on Monday that things got off to a spectacular early start at The Waldorf Hilton Hotel as part of the Rise on the Runway charity event organised by the GMSP Foundation and British Asian Trust. The evening had been arranged to help raise awareness of violence against women and to support the trust’s ‘Give a Girl a Future’ appeal, and I was delighted to be asked to capture some images by GMSP Foundation’s CEO, Sonal Sachdev Patel.
After a drinks reception in the Palm Court, guests (including celebs Sonique and West Indian cricketer Carlos Braithwaite) were ushered into a room of chandeliers and corinthian columns in which a catwalk had been assembled, and the evening commenced with introductory speeches from representatives of both charities. In addition, we were all both moved and inspired by the words and actions of two incredible women. Laxmi Aggarwal was left with terrible scaring to her face, chest and hands when acid was thrown at her as punishment for refusing the advances of a 32-year-old man in Delhi who had been stalking her. She was only 15 at the time. As a sobering reminder that such horrendous crimes don’t just happen elsewhere, she was also joined by Adele Bellis. In 2014, Adele also had acid thrown in her face by an ex-boyfriend while standing at a bus stop in Suffolk! As a result, she lost an ear and the hair on one side of her head.
Laxmi delivered an inspirational speech on some of the awareness causes she campaigns for and both women joined the other models on the catwalk, challenging our perceptions of beauty and proving that it’s not only ‘skin deep’.
As the show began, I took my place alongside the other press photographers and video crews and did my best to keep up. It was my first catwalk fashion event and what a treat!! The show featured stunning designs and shoes by Raishma Islam (Raishma) and Lucy Choi (Lucy Choi London). Raishma’s customers include British Royal Family members and A-list celebrities Mel B and Goldie Hawn, and many of the stunningly beautiful and vibrant designs on show were from her couture and RAI evening wear collections.
Do please check out the links to the charities and featured designers that supported this event.
Miss Universe Great Britain 2014 Grace Levy and Raishma Islam before the show in the Waldorf Hotel, London.
Lucy Choi in front of a stall featuring some of her collection. Lucy’s celebrity customers include Denise van Outen, Tara Palmer Tomkinson and Darcey Bussell.
Acid attack survivor and campaigner Laxmi Aggarwal.
Holding a banner proclaiming “Strength”, UK acid attack survivor Adele Bellis defiantly leading the models out on the catwalk.
Designers Lucy Choi and Raishma.
Laxmi speaking on the Channel 4 News…