Simply Ladies step out for a very stylish show

Carron Cummings of Simply Ladies.
Carron Cummings of Simply Ladies.
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The Simple Ladies company staged its first fashion show in Leeds to help empower women. Abigail Turner was on the front row.

“I could have sat and cried or I could have done something with my life,” says Carron Cummings, who set up her company Simply Ladies, following the death of her partner, Joshua.

Lorina Gumbs, artistic director of Anony Mas.

Lorina Gumbs, artistic director of Anony Mas.

She set up Simply Ladies to be a place for the women of Leeds to come together to support each other and showcase their talents. At Banyan in the city centre last week, Carron hosted her first fashion show, with models aged between 13-63 wearing local designers’ clothes.

The whole show was full of energy and positivity, with a prosecco reception and white runway. Carron had curated the space herself, choosing to place two white cherry blossom trees hanging over the runway and the letters S and L in bright lights just behind.

It was modest, elegant and fun, from bespoke wedding couture from Drunk in Love couture to the manic rush of colour and glamour from Anony Mas, which specialises in bespoke festival and carnival wear and accessories. Lorina Gumbs, artistic director of Anony Mas, said that she was really happy to be part of the show and that it was a great experience. She said one outfit can take up to several hours to make and that the brand usually caterers for 100-130 people during carnival season.

For Simply Ladies, Lorina brought six outfits of embellished bralettes and briefs with feathered headdresses. These styles are perfect for festival season and carnival. Coupled with a small young festival range from Pretty Little Thing, exhibiting an orange transparent raincoat, the coldness of winter was forgotten.

Rosie Courtney,  DJ Tom Zanetti's sister, modelling to promote the show.

Rosie Courtney, DJ Tom Zanetti's sister, modelling to promote the show.

Berenice Gilmore, of Drunk in Love Couture, was bursting with excitement after the show. She brought a range of alternative bespoke wedding dresses, and in particular a black gown with gold trimming caught our eye as did an ivory mini dress with a splattered multicolour cape. Her Drunk in Love Again label showed denim jackets, all of which were hand embroidered. The one that sent everyone into frenzy was embroidered with the words “We are the granddaughters of the witches who didn’t burn.”

The main purpose of the fashion show was to emphasise the individual woman and all her qualities. The models were real women of all different shapes and ethnicities. Carron said: “You plan your life around milestones. But when you have a young baby and you start to think about everything that is going to happen in the future… I wanted to give him everything that I could.”

This fashion show demonstrated that those who have been through all that life can throw at them can come out the other side smiling. Fashion isn’t just about what is trendy; it is the armour that we put on to face the day. Carron said: “I have included young girls in the catwalk. These are the girls of the future and they need a positive attitude. You need to experience positivity everywhere around you.”

Carron herself wore a bespoke dress by designer Jordan Wake, with a blush pink sequin off the shoulder bodice with a chiffon dipped hem skirt.

Jordan Wake, designer of Wake Ltd, said: “Empowering women is amazing. I want to make everyone feel good, especially those who lack confidence; it really matters to me how they feel in the outfits that I make for them. I don’t just want their money, it’s more than that for me.”

The Wake evening collection was chic and versatile, featuring a black jumpsuit with chiffon cape falling from the shoulders and a white cord wide leg two-piece.

Watch out for Simply Ladies’ award show in the next few months.