Tweed is a major fashion trend for the coming autumn/winter, seen on the catwalks of Paris, Milan, London, New York and now … Harrogate.
On Tuesday this week, I was at the Great Yorkshire Show as part of my day job, specifically to watch, video and report on the annual fashion show.
Originally introduced around 40 years ago to promote British wool, the Great Yorkshire Show catwalk has become a highly professional and prestigious event, a platform for High Street giants, established independent designers and up-and-coming ones to showcase their collections and their work.
It’s a lot of fun too, a real spectacle and always full of admiring spectators, taking a break from farmyard prize animals and massive tractors.
There are four shows a day, with a wonderful 12-strong team of male and female models from Huddersfield-based agency Morton Gledhill The Fashion Team, whose beautiful boss Bernadette Gledhill puts the whole show together, from selecting and working with exhibitors through to choreographing the runway.
Each year, students from Yorkshire colleges and universities are chosen to showcase their work. Graduates from Harrogate College, Hull College of Art and Design and the University of Huddersfield took part this year, with hair and make-up by Harrogate College’s Artistic Team.
The University of Huddersfield presented beautiful designs from a tailoring project, using cloth donated by Abraham Moon & Sons. Hull College presented a special project on slavery to tie in with Hull’s year as City of Culture and Harrogate College gave us a weird and wonderful world of colour and exuberance.
But back to the tweed. A highlight was the Yorkshire Agricultural Society tweed collection, created by Keighley tailors Brook Taverner and woven in the YAS’s green and gold colours by Abraham Moon & Sons.
On Tuesday, stars of Yorkshire sport and screen joined the models on the GYS catwalk to showcase the range. Cricketer Ryan Sidebottom joined former Leeds Rhino player Keith Senior, Yorkshire vets Julian Norton and Peter Wright and BBC TV presenters Amy Garcia and Abbie Dewhurst to model the striking range. They clearly loved hitting the catwalk and were brilliant – I hope this becomes a regular feature of the Great Yorkshire Show catwalk now.
Celebrity couturier James Steward showcased his ready-to-wear collection (designed with his sister, Hannah Moody) of special-occasion designs named after local Yorkshire beauty spots – the Chevin, the Birdsall, the Lockton, the Cropton and the Malton, and more.
Wetherby-based James has created pieces for Kylie Minogue, Victoria Beckham, Katherine Kelly and oodles of soap stars for the red carpet and TV, has twice been Yorkshire Brides Couture Designer of the Year, and is a designer for BBC TV’s Cbeebies channel, interpreting outfits for reality series Marrying Mum and Dad. James also showed a bespoke collection of floor-sweeping gowns, including a wedding gown created especially for the show and incorporating Great Yorkshire Tweed.
This year’s Great Yorkshire Show catwalk also saw the debut of John Lewis Leeds, showcasing a beautiful range of autumn/winter 2017 daywear and outerwear looks, styled by the store’s personal shopping team with pieces from its And/Or, Kin and Loved & Found collections, and from Harrogate-based brand Pure Collection, which is stocked in the Leeds store.
It was an absolutely fabulous and brilliant Great Yorkshire Show catwalk. Next year, you must not miss it.