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Red block dress by Masato
Red block dress by Masato
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The new collections are hitting the county’s catwalks and stores. Stephanie Smith has tips on where to find statement dress inspiration.

Fashion is about far more than clothing, footwear and bags. Fashion is about art and culture, about form and fantasy, about intelligence, exuberance and the sheer wonder and joy of life – plus looking fabulous, obviously.

And if you like your fashion presented with passion, creativity and a massive dose of talent, we really are very lucky in Yorkshire.

This is the time to start looking for a statement dress, one that’s going to stop traffic on the way to winter events and parties. Local catwalk shows are often the best place to start looking. Throughout the whole county, from renowned chain department stores to tiny independents, there are fashion shows taking place, with models both professional and amateur showing off the new collections.

I go to many of these shows, some in lavish, especially hired venues, some in small boutiques, with an area cleared to make a runway. Either way, I am endlessly amazed and impressed at the expertise, ingenuity and love that goes into these events.

Earlier this month, Harvey Nichols Leeds presented its autumn/winter fashion show – dubbed “THE fashion event of the Yorkshire calendar” – to hundreds of fashion lovers and watchers in the beautiful wide aisles of the Victoria Quarter. Those in attendance included business people, office workers, students and Emmerdale cast members, who queued and then assembled to marvel and whoop as models presented an array of beautiful clothes styled with flair, and walked to a sizzling soundtrack. No matter that you couldn’t meet the price tag of many items – this was inspirational heaven.

This coming Friday, Leeds Town Hall hosts Leeds Fashion Show’s Dress Me Beautiful MMXIII event, sponsored by Trinity Leeds shopping centre. More than 600 guests are expected to attend to see this annual show, now in its eighth year, which is held as a platform for budding designers and models to showcase their talents before an audience that includes style experts, retailers, consumers and the media. Designer Masato Jones will debut his spring ‘14 collection to open the show, while Bo Carter and Joana Almagro will also show ranges. Entertainment will be provided by the Scala Performing Arts School and the charity Bethany’s Smile Foundation, which supports the care of children with life-limiting illnesses, will benefit.

Last Sunday, Robinson’s of Bawtry held its 21st annual fashion show, at China Rose in the town, in aid of Yorkshire Cancer Research. To date, the store has raised more than £260,000 for the charity.

Tickets for Friday night’s Dress Me Beautiful event at Leeds Town Hall are available from Trinity Leeds Customer Service Suite, Leeds Town Hall Box Office, Accent Leeds and online at

Twitter: @yorkshirefashQ