Undercover at: Catz Ball

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The first thing about Catz ball is that it is very, very far from home. Many girls braved the walk tottering in heels and shielded themselves against the wind in as much faux fur as their uni wardrobes could muster, but for most of us, this meant pre-booked taxis, leggings under the maxi dresses and even, oh the horror, flats. But once the white marquee walls have accepted you into their warm embrace, you realise that none of these details matter, because unlike other college balls, Catz holds no pretence to grandeur; they just want you to have a good time and don’t care much about the glass of wine you just spilled down your bejewelled front.

In fact the predominating feature of the outfit landscape of the ball was that no one was afraid to experiment, and that really anything goes, (as long as it comes somewhat under the vague ‘black tie’ title obvs). I saw lots of multi-coloured hair, some avant-garde facial decorations (lip transfers are a must-try girls), and a surprising inclination to eschew the traditional glittery fluffy princess look for jumpsuits, co-ords and more minimalism. Talking to a few people it also became apparent that the high-street is in, and the designer dress that costs more than your termly battels is most definitely out. Dresses from ASOS and boohoo in particular abounded, and the insane variety that online-shopping affords meant that there were hardly any awkward situations where you realise that the girl next to you in line for the pizza stand was clearly browsing from the same Topshop sale rail as you last month.

But what was most exciting about the fashion at the Ball was actually the guys. I was expecting to have to write maybe a small side-note on whether it was shirt sleeves hidden or slightly peeking out from beneath the jacket as the predominating debate, but oh how I have underestimated the sartorial consciousness of Oxford’s boys. Of particular note is the floor-length fur adorning one guest; under that excellent coat he could have been wearing his pyjamas and still would have got a mention purely on the basis of panache-points. I was feeling somewhat outdone in my understated accessories by the myriad of paisley bow ties and jazzy cravats on display.

By the end of the night though, the paisley, the glitter, the velvet and the satin were indistinguishable from one another, as one too many lychee-vodka concoctions meant everything was a bit of a kaleidoscope of colour for me.

All images by JRDunbar Photography