Ah, spring … when thoughts turn to romance and the possibility of rediscovering the excitement of new love.
Whether it’s a fresh affair or a rekindling with your long-term partner, a trip to one of the UK’s most stylish cities offers the perfect opportunity to find each other, learn about each other, dress each other (well, if there’s a little shopping involved, so much the better).
The splendour of the Victoria Quarter in Leeds provides the perfect backdrop for our “Spring Affair” fashion shoot, showcasing the new collections chosen from VQ stores including Ted Baker, Karen Millen, LK Bennett, French Connection, Pretty Green, Ugg, Jigsaw and Reiss.
We were allowed up onto the balconies and bridges of this stunning building in order to stage our romantic story. It was a fascinating experience; it’s eerily serene, high above the bustling crowds.
The Victoria Quarter has its own story to tell. It was around 1900 that theatre architect Frank Matcham, responsible for the London Palladium and Coliseum, was commissioned to create two streets, an elaborate arcade and the Empire Theatre (now the site of Harvey Nichols), which he did using rich marbles, gilded mosaics, handsome cast and wrought iron, as well as carved and polished mahogany.
By the late 1980s, the area had fallen into decay and restoration began, cleverly blending old and new. Key features are Brian Clarke’s stained glass roof, which runs the full length of Queen Victoria Street – featured in the Guinness Book of Records for being the largest stained glass window in Britain – and three mosaic floor panels by Joanna Veevers in County Arcade. As one of the original shop fronts remained in pristine condition, designers were able to use it as a blueprint to recreate the mahogany frames and gilded art nouveau lettering which now grace every shop.
Romantic, historic and fashionable – the ideal location to begin your spring affair.
• The Victoria Quarter is holding a special Spring Fashion Fix event this Thursday, 12 noon-8pm, showcasing the best of the spring/summer catwalks and featuring workshops, presentations and beauty advice, plus lots of competitions and offers. See www.v-q.co.uk for details.
All shot at the Victoria Quarter in Leeds.
Photography: James Hardisty
Concept and styling: Stephanie Smith
Fashion assistants: Farah Lakoues, Suzanna Bain, Victoria Bartram, Emma Stanham.
Models: Anna Crecraft, Sean Hopwood, at Face Agency in Leeds.
Hair: Karla Ancliffe-Smith and Ainsley Walton at Russell Eaton Salon in Leeds,
using GL Apps tape-applied hair extensions from the Great Lengths Fastrack service, using real hair and lasting up to four weeks, to add colour, length and texture in minutes. see www.greatlengthshair.co.uk.
Make-up: Emma Worral at Illamasqua in the Victoria Quarter, Leeds.