Inspired by a 1949 film, a team of Hebden Bridge businesswomen created a fashion shoot to welcome the Tour de France. They tell Stephanie Smith all about their teamwork.
There’s a kind of magic when a plan comes together. And so it was when a group of women, all with businesses in Hebden Bridge, decided to collaborate on a fashion shoot to celebrate the coming to Yorkshire of the Tour de France.
But first, they needed inspiration – a cycling theme – and they remembered that there had been a film called A Boy, a Girl and a Bike, which came out in 1949, starring Honor Blackman, Diana Dors, John McCallum and Patrick Holt. Most important of all, it had been shot in Yorkshire and featured many local beauty spots.
Deborah Wilkinson, of Zeitgeist Hair in Hebden Bridge, explained: “A few years ago Honor Blackman came to Hebden Bridge as part of the arts festival, and they showed it then. Most people in Hebden Bridge went to see it because it was filmed round here.”
Zeitgeist created the hair looks for the shoot, while Chrissie King, of Hat Therapy, provided the beautiful hats and headgear. She makes and sells all her hats at her Market Street shop and studio, from everyday cotton and rain hats through to big occasion hats, including ones for those being bestowed honours at Buckingham Palace.
Of the film that inspired them, Chrissie said: “These were Northern mill town girls, who worked in a mill but they belonged to a cycling club and they were out cycling one day and they were knocked off their bikes by this guy. It was set in the late ’40s and we thought we could come up with the backdrop of Hebden Bridge on our doorstep.”
The seed was sown, the plan was hatched. Deborah approached Shelly Mantovani, of Toast Photography in Leeds, and a number of locations around Hebden Bridge were selected, including the steps of Hebden Bridge Picture House, the Crown Street chip shop, the old bridge by the Stubbing Wharf pub,the Milk Bar, the station waiting room and Blazing Saddles bike shop, which allowed the shoot team to use its tool shop.
“We were trying to capture the spirit of youth culture, combined with the bike and the outdoors,” said Deborah. “Each business is trying to encourage each other creatively.”
Three young local models were found – students Eve Ferguson, Florence Hutchinson and apprentice Jacob Jones.
The womenswear was provided by Amelia Womenswear in Hebden Bridge, which stocks Avoca, Charli, The Masai Clothing Company and Nougat, among others. The menswear was from Dynamite of Hebden Bridge, which specialises in ethical and British-made men’s and women’s clothing, with brands including Patagonia, Seasalt Cornwall, Howies and Peregrine Knitwear. Kate Grant, of Dynamite, said: “It’s a lifestyle shop, so the clothes are very much tailored towards living in West Yorkshire and Hebden Bridge, so practical, utility, but also stylish.”
The weather was kind and the results of the shoot stunning. Deborah said: “We managed to recreate some classic scenes but with our own, modern and quirkily Hebden Bridge slant.”
The whole project, added Chrissie, was a perfect example of the creativity and friendliness of Hebden Bridge and its businesses.
“It was great fun, with a lot of laughing,” she said. “And because we are all mums with children at school, we have to be very organised.”
Model Eve Ferguson said the whole day has been “an absolute ball”, adding: “We hope this shines through in the images we created. Roll on the Tour de France.”
• A Boy, a Girl and a Bike will be shown across Yorkshire, along with other films featuring cycling, as part of a movie programme to celebrate the Tour de France. See www.cineyorkshire.co.uk