As the Tour races through the county, we team up with Harvey Nichols and Northern Ballet to celebrate French fashion at Yorkshire landmarks. Stephanie Smith reports. Pictures Gerard Binks.
Dior, Chanel, Givenchy, Lanvin … when it comes to style, no one does it quite like the French.
From pared-down minimalism to the flamboyantly, utterly outré, French designers have led and inspired fashion down the decades and across the globe. And so we decided to pay homage to the flair of France with a special shoot staged on the locations that feature on the first day of the Grand Départ, which sees the Tour de France cyclists set off from Leeds for the official ceremonial start of the race at Harewood House, before making its way through the Dales to end the stage at Harrogate Stray.
Harvey Nichols Leeds provided the designer clothes and accessories (French and French originated brands, of course), which were modelled by Northern Ballet dancers Sebastian Loe and Isadora Valero, while Sassoon Salon in Leeds styled the French-inspired hair looks and Yves Saint Laurent created the classic-meets-contemporary make-up.
The logistical problem of where the models could change was solved by the addition to the team of Ruby, photographer Gerard’s prized campervan (its German origins were ignored for this purpose).
The 10-hour day began bright and early at Harewood House, which provided a room for the models to be prepared before they stepped out to shoot the first two outfits amid spectacular gardens and scenery and the official start line at the front of the historic stately home.
Then it was full steam ahead to Kilnsey Park, fortuitously meeting Velofest organisers Tom Hawkins and Nina Welton, who were so stylishly kitted out in Tour de France style cycling gear, they simply had to feature in the shoot itself.
Hitting the road again, the intended big push to Buttertubs Pass was thwarted by a temporary “road closed” sign, so Ruby and the team parked up at a crag above Buckden, having spotted a handily placed yellow bicycle on the roadside – the most recognisable symbol of this summer’s Yorkshire Grand Depart.
Finally, it was back down in convoy to Ripley, to be greeted by Lady Emma Ingilby, who provided a fine room in the castle so that models Sebastian and Isadora could get ready in comfort. Then pictures against the 10m tricolor on Ripley Castle’s terraces and in Ripley itself, the only village in Britain to boast a French-style hotel de ville, built in the 1830s by Sir William Amcotts Ingilby, who was inspired by his French travels to build a model village based on one he had seen in Alsace Lorraine.
Lady Ingilby suggested the French rose-adorned stone cottages of the market square. “This will be a food square on the day of the Tour,” she said. “There will be boules courts and all our menus are going French, so we are all quite excited about it.”
The French and French-derived labels to be found at Harvey Nichols Leeds include Lanvin, which was founded in 1889 in Paris by Jeanne Lanvin, who began making beautiful clothes for her daughter; BCBGMaxAzria, named after the Parisian saying “bon chic, bon genre” (good style, good attitude) founded in 1989 by French designer Max Azria and combining Parisian flair with California-style, easy high fashion; Duchamp, a British label celebrating its 25th anniversary, although it traces its origins to France and the discovery by the founder of a cache of 10,000 vintage cufflinks in a Paris flea market in 1987 – the company is named after French surrealist artist Marcel Duchamp; Sandro, launched in 1984; Givenchy, founded in 1952 by Hubert de Givenchy, known for modern, lady-like styles, adored by brand ambassador Audrey Hepburn; Dior, founded in 1946 by master of shapes Christian Dior, whose New Look re-established Paris as the centre of the fashion world after World War II. Finally, Yves Saint Laurent, founded in 1961, and the epitome of French contemporary chic in fashion, fragrance, beauty and make-up, as provided here.
And so enjoy the pictures we proudly bring you here, showcasing beautiful French flair, fashion, style and chic against some of Yorkshire’s most stunning backdrops. And to today’s riders, we say “bon courage”.
• Northern Ballet will perform Dracula at the West Yorkshire Playhouse, September 5 to 13, 2014; The Great Gatsby at Bradford Alhambra Theatre, November 11 to 15; Cinderella at the Sheffield Lyceum Theatre, November 25 to 29; Peter Pan at Leeds Grand Theatre, December 11 to 20. Seb and Isadora will perform in all and are also involved in the creation of a children’s ballet, Elves & the Shoemaker, to premiere at the Stanley & Audrey Burton Theatre in Leeds from October 27 to November 1. Booking now, see www.northernballet.com
• All clothes and accessories from Harvey Nichols Leeds. Fashion editor and shoot production: Stephanie Smith. Photographer: Gerard Binks. Models: Sebastian Loe and Isadora Valero from Northern Ballet Theatre. Styling: David Rowley, head of personal shopping at Harvey Nichols Leeds. Hair: Conor Townend at Sassoon Salon Leeds. Make-up: Britney Dawson at Yves Saint Laurent, Harvey Nichols in Leeds. Fashion Assistant: Sally Cameron.
Locations: the Tour de France in Yorkshire Stage 1 route including:
– Harewood House, Leeds – the official ceremonial start of the race after the warm-up. Harewood House is hosting the Dare 2b Yorkshire festival of Cycling to July 6. See www.harewood.org
– Kilnsey Park Estate, Kilnsey, Skipton. Kilnsey Park is hosting the VeloFest Tour de France Campsite and Cycling Festival to July 6 (Toploader are playing). See www.velofest.co.uk and www.kilnseypark.co.uk
– Ripley market square and Ripley Castle, Ripley, near Harrogate, North Yorkshire. Ripley is a great place to watch the race and there will be parking, refreshments, children’s entertainment, and more. See www.ripleycastle.co.uk for details.