In just a matter of hours I’m going to my first ever red carpet, fashion event. As a little (and not so little) girl I often dreamed of what it would be like to don a beautiful gown, slip on some Louboutins and generally look a million dollars smiling and waving to the crowds. It doesn’t help my shredded nerves at all that Daniel Craig and Rachel Weisz are reportedly attending! Eeeek.
My first taste of high-end fashion was when The Clothes Show came to BBC One, Caryn Franklin (Oh her silver streak!!) and Jeff Banks became my style mentors each Sunday evening and having to wait a whole WEEK for the next episode was complete torture! I spent my early years in Barnard Castle (in the glorious North of course) where I regularly visited The Bowes Museum with my mum and older brother. Even as a youngster I was fascinated at the old-fashioned clothes and toys on display, I’m still awestruck 25 years later at founder of the museum, Josephine Bowes’ pink taffeta ball gown which stands proudly along side regular exhibits from some of the worlds most famous designers. My love of fashion was born in those four walls.
I moved away to the big city (Liverpool) and studied Fashion and Textiles design at St Helen’s College with the most awesome bunch of friends and tutors a frustrated artist can ever hope to meet. From recycled fashion shows (I strutted down a catwalk dressed in shredded bed-sheets and a corset at one point) to cheering on fellow class mate, Kirsty Doyle in her Project Catwalk triumph I had endless fun learning pattern cutting, history of art, screen-printing and photography (to name a few components of the course) and learned how to charity shop like a pro. Life skills! Since my colourful college days I’ve worked in retail, merchandising, media and PR. I’ve had three beautiful children and chased off two husbands…..I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve moved house, dyed my hair and cleared out my wardrobe….things and people have come and gone. But Barnard Castle still feels like home and fashion is still very much my first love.
As a trainee fashion journalist I’m back in Barnard Castle for a few days as somehow I’ve been invited to the VIP launch of Yves Saint Laurent, Style is Eternal, the first exhibition in the UK to present a comprehensive display of the French fashion designer’s work and life…..at The Bowes Museum. I was tempted to write a piece on how much of a privilege it is for a museum in the North to host such a high profile event…….and while it is a major event I think it belongs at The Bowes, where Style is Eternal.
I’ve laid out my gown and carefully chosen my accessories ….no Louboutin’s for me just yet but I’d like to think Josephine would approve.
The exhibition runs from July 11th to October 25th so you too can fall in love with fashion. Tickets available here.