Behind the scenes at The Julien Macdonald Fashion Show

23 Oct 2018

On Wednesday 21 November, the National Osteoporosis Society is holding an exclusive fashion show to raise life-changing funds and awareness. Featuring the ‘King of Glamour’ Julien Macdonald OBE, the show is taking place at former Royal Palace Lancaster House, and hopes to raise £250,000 to support people living with osteoporosis.

Bethany Howson, National Osteoporosis Society Special Events Manager, tells us more about how the event is going to help our work, and shares what goes in to organising such a glamorous occasion.

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We are thrilled to be holding this event at Lancaster House, London. The Julien Macdonald Fashion Show is set to be an unforgettable evening of glamour, fashion, food and - most importantly - fundraising. (Visit for tickets.)

Julien Macdonald is a Welsh fashion designer and a former judge on Britain and Ireland’s Next Top Model. He has worked with well-known celebrities including Beyoncé, Jennifer Lopez and American fashion model, Gigi Hadid. It is a massive honour to be partnering with Julien for this year’s event, and we hope that many of Julien’s high-profile clients will be attending the evening, helping us raise more awareness of osteoporosis.

Julien Macdonald OBE in his studio

Planning for the event started at the end of 2017, and it has been quite a journey, with many ups and downs along the way.

Here at the National Osteoporosis Society, we’re working very hard to make the event a huge success. From production planning and catering, to invitations, auction prizes and the event programme, there’s a lot to arrange.

It’s not the first fashion show we’ve held in such a magnificent location. In 2017, The Bruce Oldfield Fashion Show – also at Lancaster House - was a huge success and raised over £125,000. We also held similar events in 2016 and 2015. And we’re drawing on all our previous experience planning these high-profile events to make this year’s the best one yet!

Lancaster House

The fashion show will be held in the grand surrounds of Lancaster House

But we have had a helping hand along the way. We could not hold this event without our wonderful fashion show committee, who donate their time, connections and expertise to support the charity and our vision.

Our committee, chaired by Nadia Rodicheva, includes former Daily Telegraph editor and Britain’s Next Top Model judge, Hilary Alexander OBE, Marilyn Fry, The Hon Diana Heimann, Rasha Khawaja, Sarah Owen, Heather Porter, Christine St George and Alex Tollman. Together, they have been securing impressive auction items, designing the glamorous invitations and programme, inviting high-profile guests and deciding what delicious food is to be served on the night. We are so thankful for their generous support of our work and people affected by osteoporosis.

HRH The Duchess of Cornwall with Nadia Rodicheva

Committee Chair Nadia Rodicheva welcomes National Osteoporosis Society President, HRH The Duchess of Cornwall, at last year's event 

Securing Julien Macdonald OBE was definitely the biggest highlight of the planning process so far. Hilary Alexander, award winning fashion journalist and member of our organising committee, approached Julien on our behalf. We were absolutely thrilled when he confirmed! It means so much that such a high-profile fashion designer is interested in the work of the charity and wants to help us do even more.

You can’t hold an exclusive fashion show without an equally exclusive invitation that makes a great first impression with all invitees, so seeing the final version of the invitations was also a highlight. The bespoke laser cut design was even more stunning than we could have anticipated, and we're sure it can help us get as many people at the event as possible.

Fashion show invitation

The beautifully intricate fashion show invitations, designed by The English Group

We're determined to reach - and exceed - our fundraising target!

Aside from tickets sales, silent and live auctions are helping us raise even more funds on the night to help us support people with osteoporosis, and find a cure.

The live auction is being hosted by Jeffrey Archer, and the silent auction is taking place online in the lead up to the event. Jeffrey auctioneers for charity in his spare time and estimates he has helped raised over £50m for charity. We are thrilled to have him as part of the evening.

We have an amazing selection of auction items on offer, all generously donated to the charity. Prizes include a Julien Macdonald made-to-measure signature knit couture gown, kindly donated by Julien, dinner for 10 with Earl Snowdon at the famous auction house Christie’s, a Lutwyche bespoke men's suit, two VIP tickets to the Nutcracker ballet performance with luxury hotel stay and chauffeur, a signed book and photograph from acclaimed photographer Don McCullin OBE, a Mulberry bag, Afternoon Tea at the Dorchester, Dinner at the Fat Duck, a Private tour of St Paul’s Cathedral to name just a few.

Afternoon tea at the Dorchester

Afternoon Tea at the Dorchester is just one of the fantastic auction items on offer

Anyone can get involved and bid in the silent auction, so even if  you can’t join us at the event, you can still take part in this night to remember. Visit from 1 November to see the selection of prizes and place your bid. The auction finishes at 22:30 on the evening of the event and successful bidders will be notified shortly after this.

The event isn't just raising money - it's raising vital awareness too.

In addition to raising life-changing funds, the event is also helping us raise awareness of osteoporosis and the devastating impact it can have on daily life.

Our aim is for every guest to learn about the condition and how they can help us in our quest to find a cure. We also want everyone who joins us at the event to start taking action for their own bone health, by ensuring they have enough calcium and vitamin D in their diet, and by undertaking plenty of weight-bearing exercise to keep their bones strong and healthy.

To help us do this, we will be sharing a short film created by film maker Tony McGee. The film will explain how osteoporosis can affect people in many different aspects of their lives. Suzanne Hewitt, a former model and a longstanding member of the charity, is playing a key role in the film. Suzanne was involved with the charity’s first fashion show in London, back in 2015. Unfortunately, she was unable to attend the event last year as she broke her wrist, and we are so pleased she will be able to join us this year. We’re really excited with how the film is coming along – it’s going to help us make even more of an impact.

Having such a well known fashion designer working with us is helping to spread the message about osteoporosis and the charity even further.

In celebration of The Julien Macdonald Fashion Show, jewellery designer Tessa Packard London has developed a special bracelet, with 20 per cent of proceeds from sales of the bracelet helping to support the charity’s work. This is the first partnership of its kind for the charity and we hope it will be popular with guests and those unable to join us.

Tessa Packard London Alphabet Bracelet in collaboration with the National Osteoporosis Society

The Alphabet Bracelet, designed by Tessa Packard London in collaboration with the National Osteoporosis Society

And thanks to Sarah Owen, one of our committee members and owner of PR agency Pumpkin, we have secured some press interviews with Julien next week... so watch this space!

The Julien Macdonald Fashion Show is going to be an unforgettable evening of glamour, fashion and food.

Find out more

Or please contact our Special Events team on 01761 473122.

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