News and Events – Fashion (Archive 2014)

Fashion Blunders

The Fashionistas ended the year with their usual panache by having a “fashion blunders” afternoon, kindly hosted by Mary Pudney. The idea was to bring your fashion faux pas along – something that was perhaps bought on the spur of the moment and regretted in the cold light of the following day! (This bearing in mind that one woman’s meat is another’s poison!)

The afternoon was well attended with most people bringing along at least one item. There was much seasonal jollification, aided by an ample supply of food and wine.

Several people tried on a slinky black number, which on most of us, appeared to be slashed to the thigh, causing a great deal of laughter! Several outfits did change hands and the local Mencap shop benefited from the remainder.

Many thanks to Mary and Ruth for a wonderful, entertaining and varied year. We are already looking forward to our next outing with eager anticipation!

Linda Beames

Tour of the Costume Department at The Royal Opera House

Have you been to the Opera lately? We have! The Fashion group spent three fabulous hours walking the back corridors of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden. The very colourful Morag gave us a delightful insight into what goes into a production, whether it is a Ballet or an Opera.

We began with the fabrics, bought and created, then met the talented John who explained how he was producing clothes that gave the appearance of being covered in dust. We met the ladies who painstakingly made all the wigs, then styled them before putting them into the oven to set. Also there was an amazing range of hats and headgear designed and made to complement the intricate costumes, with everything labeled orderly and hung on rails. Finally we saw the beautiful tutu’s, lace, beading, frills all sewn neatly and stacked in piles. We did have a really good time.

Thank you to Mary and Ruth once again for organising the day.

Mandy Dewison

Goldsmiths’ Fair

Another fabulous foray for the Fashion group in September – this time at the Goldsmiths fair at the Goldsmiths livery hall in London. Sparkling trinkets – all original artworks from talented jewellers and silversmiths, almost forgot to look up and admire the splendour of the hall and magnificent chandeliers. Coffee in the crypt of St Mary le Bow prior, and delicious après – shop lunch where the successful buyers showed their treasures, wonder if those silver Deco style candlesticks are still there?

A wonderful experience and thank you to Ruth & Mary for organising – looking forward to Octobers visit to the Costume department at The Royal Opera House.

In the Pink

On 26th August the Fashion Group gathered at Maggie’s house for our “In The Pink” afternoon.

It was intended to be tea in the garden, but as is often the case with our English weather it rained all day! Undeterred, all our fashionistas arrived looking very pretty in pink, bringing with them all kinds of “pink” food. There were some very interesting items, including pink hard-boiled eggs! Everything was delicious.

We had a brain-storming session giving all our members the chance to give us ideas for future events, and it was great that there were so many suggestions to help us arrange our programme for next year.

It was a very enjoyable afternoon and many thanks to Maggie for opening her home to us.

Mary Pudney

Visit to the V&S Museum

Tuesday 22nd July found 11 Fashionistas on the train bound for South Kensington, the V&A Museum our destination. On arrival we were fortified by tea (very un-Italian) cappuccino and ice cold water, it was really a very hot day.

The Glamour of Italian Fashion sponsored be Bulgari shows the transition from post war fashions to the luxury of today. Many American films were shot in Italy in the 50’s and 60.s and stars like Audrey Hepburn and Elizabeth Taylor became style ambassadors for Italian fashion showcasing designers Pucci, Valentino, Gucci, Armani, Fendi & Prada to name a few. The clothes were exquisite, the tailoring with attention to detail, the use of clever cutting techniques and fabulous fabrics all helped to make the words “Made in Italy” become the mark of style.

Off for lunch to Pain Quotidien (not very Italian) but very good. Fortified by Merlot and Prosecco we were on our way to Wedding Dresses.

From Victorian to no holds barred, Romantic to Glamorous. Even Camilla had a showing of her “wedding” coat/dress, all remarked on the size of her shoes!!
The show stopper was the purple shot taffeta dress made for Dita von Teese, only on loan and not part of the regular collection.

Glamorous Italian Fashion it was and our paparazzi photo shoot captured the feel of the day.


Jean Paul Gaultier Exhibition

Not a bicycle, beret, striped top, or a string of onions were in sight for our latest fashion related outing. Mon dieu! Sacre bleu! Mange tout Rodney mange tout!
Lots of clues there… yes we the Fashionistas, were visiting the french fashion designer Jean Paul Gaultier’s Exhibition at the Barbican in London.

Ten in number met at Leigh station and on the trains arrival all clambered into a carriage (not the quiet zone) for obvious reasons! It was decided to travel to Fenchurch St. Station and go by foot to the Barbican.

After a drizzly walk taking in all the fantastic architecture of our fabulous city we went into the Crypt Cafe, now called The Cafe Below of St. Mary Le Bow Church in Cheapside. A very atmospheric place with arched pillared walls that amongst other features housed a table for two in a tiny little alcove. I squeezed in to sit for a minute .. very special.

Shortly after, we arrived at the Barbican. An interesting building with quadrangled gardens, ponds with walkways and Al fresco dining… Al wasn’t there at the time though, we found him interloping in the indoor cafe trying the fabulous cakes on offer like chocolate & beetroot which l was very tempted by but l held my nerve… we were booked at the Cote restaurant nearby for lunch, but l’ve a date with that cake another time!

Photos were allowed at the exhibition but no flashes so off we went into the wonderful
wacky world of Jean Paul’s imagination.

I was fully aware of his take on the conical bra and corsetry made famous by Madonna, his skirts for men and the matelot styled designs but what was waiting for us was beyond any expectation of mine and I think most of us.

The actual layout of the exhibition was wonderful with various mannequins on a moving conveyor belt to give the impression of a catwalk. There were themed static displays, punk, ethnic, elegant & romantic, edgy and fetish. Lots of clever tailored constructions with a group of us trying to fathom out how you would get in to one outfit and of course out of it! There was tartan, pleated with gored sections of velvet, lots of flowing materials, ribbons, lace even a skirt made from gents ties. Filmed facial features were projected onto some of the mannequins blank heads which seemed to respond to us, talking and one even smiling and licking his lips… amazing but a bit spooky!

After approximately two hours l don’t think I’ve ever seen such a large variety of imaginative creativity, design and painstaking workmanship. Magnifique Jean Paul…Magnifique!
A fabulous meal followed at Cote with a walk back to Fenchurch St. Station in time for the next train home.

We all managed seats together l think probably from fellow passengers anticipating the need for a wide berth. With our show & tell en route with ipads etc. I think they made the right decision!

Chris Cain

Exhibition at Kensington Palace May 2014

Due to illness, holidays and other commitments we were a small but happy group meeting at Leigh station May 6th for a trip to Kensington Palace to view a collection of dresses worn by HM the Queen, Princess Margaret and Diana.

By the time we arrived at Kensington it was decided that a coffee break was a priority after which we had a leisurely stroll through the park to Kensington Palace .

We were able to visit the state rooms and various state apartments all of which were most interesting but obviously the purpose of the visit were the Piggott Galleries where the photography, film footage and digitally manipulated images, were absolutely amazing , taking us back through the decades. A very nostalgic trip, bringing back memories of past fashions which we all wore.

The display showed the changing fashions of the dresses worn by the Queen , Princess Margaret and Diana from 50s through to the 80s, to various state occasions and designed, amongst others, by Norman Hartnell ( the Queens favourite designer) Hardy Amies and Christian Dior. The the Queen and Princess Margaret wore the nipped in waist line of the 50s which suited their small frames to perfection as did the short hemlines of the 60s and 70s.

The 70s and 80s produced sparkles and big shoulder pads by Zandra Rhodes and Bruce Oldfield, designers favoured by Diana . Although there were not a massive amount of gowns to see the exhibition was delightful and gave an insight into how the Royals were as keen as `the commoners` to keep up to date with the latest fashions.

After leaving the palace we made our way to a very pleasant restaurant for lunch , then time for some retail therapy before leaving the hustle and bustle of London and back to the calm and peaceful Leigh on sea.

A lovely day out for the Fashionistas.

Scarf Tying 25th March

Do you wear scarves but often look at how others wear them and wonder how they manage to tie them so effortlessly and stylishly? So did we, the members of our Fashion Group.

We invited Teresa Webb from its mycolour to give us a demonstration on scarf tying.

It was a full house at Pamela’s for the demonstration. Teresa had bought with her a Victorian style dummy and a selection of colourful scarves for us to practice with. We each chose a scarf and the demonstration began.

Teresa tied her scarf and we tried to copy her movements! There was no sitting in our seats as everyone became involved. We learned to use different knots;to twist over and under and vice versa; we twisted the full length of a scarf for dramatic effect;we used the scarves corner to corner for additional style;we formed a kimono style wrap and each one of us found a favourite style.

Eventually it was time for tea and cake and a thank you to Teresa for a most informative afternoon.

Isabella Blow Exhibition

To all ‘Fashionistas’,

We had a lovely day out on Tuesday, 25th February at the Isabella Blow exhibition at Somerset House – we certainly blew away the greyness of the day when viewing the colourful and extravagant designs exhibited, but as Isabella was quoted as saying, ‘Fashion is a wind-up, don’t take it too seriously!’ As fashion director of the ‘Tatler’ and fashion editor for the ‘Daily Telegraph’ she was the muse of many and able to pluck emerging talent from graduates of the Central Fashion College of St Martins and promote the favoured , such as Philip Treacy, milliner and creator of fantastical hats, Alexander McQueen, Anthony Price andJulien Macdonald whose work was much in evidence in the exhibition.

There were shoes by Manolo Blahnik, Alain Tandowski among others – elegant strappy numbers and whacky teetering heels in wonderful colours and materials with numerous embellishments, including Swarovski crystals. The hats by Philip Treacy were amazing concoctions of every conceivable shape and size from huge ‘statement’ styles as in the model of a sailing ship, influenced by the sea, land and sky to nifty little flying saucers with a long single feather adorning, in beautiful jewel colours and soft velvet swathed, turban-like creations. His Castle hat was said to be influenced by the house of Hammer Horror! Then there was the Hellraiser Mask and the Pop Art Red Lips hats, all very whacky and imaginative and great fun as long as you didn’t have to actually go out in them!

As for the dresses, there were amazing creations for evening, ballgowns and smart day dresses and suits of geometric design, leather and velvets and a most unusual dress, cotton based with iron filings in soil, ingrained with a rusted patina and magnets sewn into the hem to ensure a natural drop. There were lots of lace and silk dresses and sheer gossamer silk blouses and dresses – some were designed for a model shoot in Naples, headed ‘See nipples and die’! One sheer pink silk was designed in the style of a Burka for a Christian Dior Couture show, with printed teddy bears – very non-Muslim!

As the muse of Givenchy, Christian Dior and others, Isabella Blow had her own idiosyncratic style and was recognised for having ‘the eye’. She was able to indulge her passion, having access to such leading designers and appearing in many of these when attending various fashion events.
A member of the privileged society and with eclectic taste, moving in the higher echelons, she committed suicide at the age of forty-five as did Alexander McQueen latterly, what a waste of talent.

To round off our wonderful day, we had lunch at Bill’s, just off the Strand which was delicious and much appreciated by all, so many thanks again Mary and Ruth for yet another great ‘Fashionistas’ outing!

Jill Britton

Textile Museum

We had a great day out on Friday 10th January. We visited the Textile Museum in Bermondsey St. London where they were holding an exhibition of the designs of Belville Sassoon. They made outfits for members of the Royal family including over 40 designs for Princess Diana, some of which were on display. There was a cabinet with many photos of the outfits she wore and her own notes on some of the sketches of the designs, which were really interesting and we all said that we remembered nearly every outfit in the pictures! She was such a fashion icon.

Then we walked through the main gallery where so many beautiful day and evening dresses were displayed form the 60s 70s, 80s and 90s, such gorgeous colours and all very glamorous. It was all fascinating and beautifully displayed, we even saw David Sassoon walking through the museum!

This was followed by lunch at The Garrison pub a little further down Bermondsey St. Also very enjoyable!