TELEVISION PRESENTER Anita Rani took to the catwalk yesterday at the Great Yorkshire Show to champion the best of British fashion and design.
Dressed in a statement red gown by John Lewis, the Bradford-born star of Countryfile and Strictly Come Dancing stepped out for the Kuoni Catwalk celebrity VIP fashion show accompanied by a stylish troupe of Yorkshire celebrities.
“I think this is more nerve-racking than Strictly,” she said, just before her catwalk debut. “I’m absolutely terrified. Hopefully I won’t fall over.”
Ms Rani explained that her parents, who had been due to accompany her to the show, were unable to catch her runway performance, as her father had broken his foot. “Dad, look what you’re missing out on,” she said.
Later on the catwalk, she looked every inch the professional model, joined by soprano Lizzie Jones, who was dressed by James Steward, the Wetherby-based red carpet and special occasion designer who has created show-stopping pieces for celebrities including Kylie Minogue and Victoria Beckham.
Meanwhile, Olympic show jumper Graham Fletcher demonstrated how a catwalk should be walked while wearing Barbour. Completing the celebrity model line-up were Yorkshire ITV stars Jon Mitchell, also dressed by Barbour, and John Shires, modelling Brook Taverner.
The Great Yorkshire Show catwalk has become an increasingly popular and prestigious platform in recent years for British and Yorkshire fashion, with renowned high-street names choosing it to showcase their collections alongside both established and emerging local designers and talented students.
As well as a preview of John Lewis and Barbour’s autumn/winter collections, this year also features a special sartorial tribute to celebrate the 160th Great Yorkshire Show, with designs by up-and-coming designer Joanna Rishworth, a graduate of Harrogate College. She has researched and recreated what people would have worn to the very first Great Yorkshire Show, held in York in 1838, using cloth from Abraham Moon of Guiseley, tailored by Keighley-based menswear brand Brook Taverner, which also showed its autumn/winter menswear range, including its new Minster tweed collection.
Another first for the fashion pavilion is Shepherdess, a collection of tweed tailoring by Yorkshire hill farmer Alison O’Neill, while new lifestyle brand Huff Equestrian also made its debut yesterday on the Kuoni Catwalk with its chic range of clothes and accessories designed to be worn both on and off the horse.
Showcasing emerging designers has become an important aspect of the Fashion Pavilion and yesterday saw another Harrogate College graduate, Berenice Gilmour, show Drunk in Love Couture, her first collection of alternative wedding dresses, while Barnsley College students brought their Egyptian-themed designs to life on the Kuoni Catwalk for the first time.
Not to be outdone, the Great Yorkshire Show itself has launched a range of T-shirts, polos, rugby shirts and caps, while the YAS tweed collection, hugely popular since its launch last year, and featuring jackets and caps, was also showcased.
Recognising that there are many stylish visitors to the Great Yorkshire Show, organisers are asking visitors to take a picture of their outfit while at the event and post it on Twitter or Instagram with the hashtags #kuonicatwalk and #GYSfashion.
The winner will be treated to a John Lewis Experience for two at the Leeds store, dressed by the personal shopping team.
The Kuoni Catwalk Show takes place four times a day at 11am, 12.30pm, 2.30pm and 4pm in the Fashion Pavilion each day of the show. It is organised by Morton-Gledhill: The Fashion Team, presented by Claire Montgomery and with hair and make-up by White Rose Beauty Colleges.