About Me

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I'm an arts journalist & PR consultant living and working in Scotland. I've been a journalist for more than 25 years. I write a regular column for Scottish quality newspaper, The Herald. I deliver a PR service with an arty bent and work on a consultancy basis with arts organisations, including Scotland's leading creative industries festival, XpoNorth & broadcast support body, ScreenHI. I am currently co-writing a book about the celebrated Scots artist, George Wyllie, with his daughter Louise. Instrumental in making a celebration of his life's work happen in 2012. For more information, see www.georgewyllie.com When I'm not being a mum/working, I talk to my dog. He laps it up. Contact me on janpatience@me.com (All work © Jan Patience)

Tuesday, 22 June 2010

Riviera Bags, Gladrags and Glaswegeratti

Top, Fashion Icon of the Year Paulo Nutini - for it is he and my Riviera Bag plus Matching Shoes (complete with hot ticket)

Occasionally this blog daunders into areas other than art, although fashion is a close cousin, so has a right to be here...

I attended the Scottish Fashion Awards on Sunday night at the Glasgow Science Centre as a guest of Glasgow: Scotland with Style, also known as The Glasgow City Marketing Bureau.

This is the fifth year that the Awards have been staged and the first time it's been held in Glasgow.

It's the first time I've been asked (at £250 a ticket, it's safe to say I wouldn't be paying for one myself) and the invitation sparked a huge wardrobe crisis. Glasgow is a natural home for such an event as Glaswegians LOVE getting dressed up.

I, on the other hand, feel starchy and uncomfortable in best bib and tucker. I think it goes back to the days of having to get dressed up for church on a Sunday when I was a child and being desperate to get home and get changed.

I still love to see stylish people in their finest raiment walking the walk... who doesn't?

So there I was, hovering outside the Science Centre, after a last minute change of mind as to what I should wear on an uncharacteristically sizzling hot midsummer night to the fashion event of the year in these parts. (Two year old Monsoon silk - black with patterned brown/cream/black panel on the top part, teamed with my pointy black suede wedding shoes, white silk cardigan bought for a fiver in a vintage shop the day before and a Riviera Bag - bought in the same shop for £10. Since you ask.)

Suddenly, it all felt quite scary. A handsome black man in a bow-tie opened my cab door before I'd paid the driver. 'A bit premature, is he no' hen?' observed my bemused taxi driver.


The tartan carpet awaited. I hovered some more, thinking I might see someone I knew to chum me down the carpet. It all felt so, well, un-Scottish. The photographers were scanning for big names and Tessa Hartmann, statue-esque founder and organiser of the awards was pointing them to a slightly dishevelled chap in a crushed suit and trainers. It's now or never, thought, and hurried in, unrecognised, even by a couple of the photographers who I knew.

Inside, at the champagne reception, it was pretty quiet. Just a few guests in gladrags, looking as wary as me. A nice young couple took pity on me. It turned out they were the genuine article, Sonia Ambrosano and Lachlan Munro, designers up for an award, Textile Brand of the Year, for their innovative cashmere blankets and fashion accessories sold under the name of Roam (www.studioroam.co.uk).

It was a great start to the night, as they were very down-to-earth and full of industry chat, pointing out various fash superstars, such as the be-trainered guy in the suit who was hogging all the attention when I darted down the tartan carpet. Step forward designer Markus Lupfer - much beloved of Gwen Stefani apparently and designer of a hugely successful range for Top Shop.

Lachlan then pointed out Rachael Barrett, the Edinburgh College of Art graduate who is lady Ga-Ga's new favourite designer. I was beginning to warm to the evening (and very warm it was too under the glass panels of the Science Centre...), especially when Lachlan nudged me to say Dolce & Gabanna model David Gandy was standing at the next champagne podium

He did a good job of describing him but I was none the wiser.

By then, the room was filling up. Mostly with sequins, precipitous heels and ladies with very straight blonde hair who had gone a bit daft with the sunbed/bronzer. Oh, and a lot of tartan. By then, we'd been joined by Fiona Best, who I know from my tabloid days. Fiona was one of the original Tennent's Lager girls from the 1970s and is famed for organising fashion shows and shoots with precision and poise. One classy lady.

We were joined by TV presenters Angus Purdon (who I remember from his modelling days when he wasn't called Angus..) and Jean Johansson, looking resplendent both in Ralph Lauren. I have to admit, I wouldn't have known but for the fact Jean told me they'd been clad for the occasion by Lauren, which now has a store in Glasgow.

She looked stunning in a floor length yellow halter neck style gown. A beautiful girl. I reminded her that in our previous lives - me as editor of a Scottish wedding mag, I Do! and she as a model - we body painted a wedding dress on her for the front cover. V cutting edge in its day and most definitely NOT what the advertisers wanted to see on the front cover!! I didn't last long in that role...

Lachlan also introduced me to another knitwear designer from the Borders, Jo Storie (www.jostorie.co.uk) and we had a good chat. No bronzer or sequins for the real deal fashion designers.

The evening was a fabulous exercise in people-watching and visual overload. It was genuinely uplifting to see designers and creatives being celebrated for their work in what can be a punishing industry. I confess though that I felt trepidation for the young unknown would-be model, Terri McGlone - a 16-yr-old from Dunfermline - as she tottered down to collect her gong for being Scotland's New Face and I smiled wryly as Paolo Nutini collected his award for being Fashion icon of the Year (as he did too, it has to be said...)

But, credit where it's due (even if my new best friends Sonia and Lachlan from Roam didn't win in their category), there was a lot of positive energy in the air, along with all the mwaa-mwaa kisses. Maybe it was the Champagne...

Despite my reservations, it was a great night. After the formal awards, there was a big sit-down dinner. The Glasgow With Style table was stuffed with a clutch of journalists, looking resplendent one and all. I sat next to fashion blogger Kirsten Read (www.saskiethesalsafairy.blogspot.com), Anna Burnside, who until recently was with the Sunday Times and Catherine Brown, news editor of GMTV in Scotland. We had a good old natter about old and new media.

Across the table hostess Moira Dyer, senior manager of public relations with the Glasgow City Marketing Bureau, relived her envelope opening trauma earlier in the night. Awards ceremonies are not all glamour, though Moira - in a figure hugging black dress looked as glam as the six-footers on the catwalk to come.

The shortbread and creme brulee had barely touched the sides when the music cranked up and a catwalk show by glitzy jewellery brand Swarovski sashayed through the hall.

Suddenly, before you could say 'goodie bag' it was midnight. The After Show party and singer Alex Gardner (sorry, haven't a clue) would have to wait. My taxi was waiting. Nobody opened the door for me this time. Story of my life.


  1. Hello Jan, was great to meet you on Sunday, it was a lovely evening!
    Thanks for the mention in your blog post ... feel like I relived the whole night... and I didn't have a clue who Alex Gardner was either ;)

  2. Yes, great to meet you too. I think I know what you're meaning with the java script/html thing. Will give it a go tonight! Once I'd posted it I remembered standing on Michelle Mone's dress as we came out of the awards. Or was it MM? The place was choccer with tall blonde women with flowing gowns!

  3. Ha ha, what a claim to fame, standing on MM's dress!
    Not quite as bad as me standing on your toes in the Imax before I got a chance to say hello - SO sorry.

    Let me know if you still have trouble with the html widget and I can see if i have anything that gives better instructions.


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