A series of debuts by luxury brands has ensured that this year’s Great Yorkshire Show fashion runway is the most prestigious to date, with internationally acclaimed labels lining up to showcase their new collections to packed audiences, writes Stephanie Smith.
In a catwalk coup for the popular annual event, corsetiere to the Queen Rigby & Peller opened yesterday’s inaugural catwalk show with a stunningly exotic collection of Brazilian-inspired swimwear, as the lingerie retailer celebrated its 75th year and marked the opening this year of its Harrogate store, the first Rigby & Peller boutique in the North.
Also making its debut was world-renowned British countrywear brand Barbour, celebrating its 120th anniversary, with its new autumn/winter Waterways collection by Boroughbridge designer Julie Dodsworth, featuring prints inspired by her narrowboat Calamity Jane. “For somebody that’s an out-of-London designer, it’s really lovely to be invited here today, and we’re flying the flag for Yorkshire,” she said.
British prestige High Street label Hobbs, which launched in Bloomingdales in the United States in March and is a firm favourite of the Duchess of Cambridge, chose the show to present its new collection in collaboration with preservation charity Historic Royal Palaces. Hobbs creative director Sandy Verdon said: “We have been able to take inspiration from the ceremonial dress collection at Hampton Court.” Hobbs retail director Alana Mazza, who is from Huddersfield, added: “This is our fourth year. Both Sandy and I are from Yorkshire and Sandy and her team work with Yorkshire mills, so it’s exciting to be part of this Yorkshire show, which is so important to the region.”
Another show first came courtesy of luxury fashion label Weekend Max Mara – which has stores across the globe, but only one boutique in the North of England, in Harrogate – presenting an Italian-designed collection of elegant, easy pieces, while Cleckheaton-based evening wear designer Alexia showcased ultra-glamorous, floor-sweeping, statement gowns aimed at the increasingly lucrative prom market.
Menswear was provided by Keighley-based Brook Taverner, whose classic-with-a-twist looks ranged from coloured shorts and jaunty striped jackets through to formal wear and beautiful tweed suits, featuring fabrics from Abraham Moon of Guiseley and Johnston’s of Elgin.
But this is not a show just for high-end brands, as the Great Yorkshire Show prides itself on the platform it offers to talented young designers from the county’s colleges, including Doncaster College, Northallerton College, Harrogate College and Hull School of Art and Design.
Principal of Harrogate College, Debra Forsythe-Conroy, said: “This is a wonderful opportunity to showcase, and the fashion show has become such an embedded feature of the Great Yorkshire Show.”
There are four shows each day of the Great Yorkshire Show, taking place in the Skipton Building Society Fashion Pavilion and co-ordinated by Morton-Gledhill The Fashion Team.
Read a full report and see pictures from the 2014 Great Yorkshire Show in Thursday’s Harrogate Advertiser series of newspapers.
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