City Woman: Reading Arts Week set to dazzle
June 18, 2012
Hot fashions, dazzling headgear and a bra-vellous boost for charity will herald Reading Arts Week.
Corset designer Lyndsey Clark and milliner Adrienne Henry, both based in Reading town centre’s Harris Arcade, are joining forces for two catwalk shows to top and tail the fourth annual showcase.
The week, between Friday, June 22, to Friday, June 29, is a shop window for local artists and craftsfolk to show off their paintings, sculpture, photography, textiles, videos and more – and you don’t have to be a professional, just nutty about art.
All events are free to attend.
Around 30 models, including getreading news editor Sarah Hamilton, are due to strut their stuff on Friday, June 22, at pentahotel, in Oxford Road, Reading town centre, at 7pm, also due to be attended by the Mayor of Reading, Councillor Jenny Rynn, and then on Friday, June 29, in the stunning grounds of Caversham Court Gardens at 4.30pm – part of the week’s Big Art Picnic day.
The showstopper on both days will be a stunning ballgown made from old and unwanted bras, which is to be auctioned for the Against Breast Cancer charity.
The designers have kept a collection box in Adrienne’s shop and donated bras are helping traders in Africa put bread on their family tables by selling textiles locally. BCR Global Textiles gives £1,000 to Against Breast Cancer for every 9,000 bras collected. Boulder-holders beyond wear have been used by Lyndsey, who specialises in sustainable and recycled fashion, to make a unique ballgown.
Lyndsey, from Emmer Green, is a fashion and textiles graduate who previously volunteered at the Oxfam Reworked shop in Harris Arcade, giving a new lease of life to donated materials. She now has her own business and shares a retail space with Adrienne.
She said she was looking forward to their first big fashion show, describing the launch event at pentahotel as ‘glamorous and ambient’ while the second in Caversham is a more laid back, late afternoon show.
The 23-year-old former Highdown School pupil, whose creations have steampunk/alternative influences, said: “We’ve had things feature as part of a bigger fashion show but this is just us, it’s a much bigger deal and in this one we get to call the shots including make-up and hairstyles.”
Of her creations she explained: “I get a lot of materials from charity shops, car boot sales and I love eBay for weird stuff. I try where possible to use recycled materials – nothing’s wasted.”
Meanwhile, Bramley woman Adrienne, a former maths teacher and then at St Anne’s Primary in Caversham up until a year ago, makes bespoke millinery and her work has graced the heads of Buckingham Palace garden party guests, recipients of MBEs and OBEs and Ascot races ladies. She has made a collection of exciting hats for this year’s Ladies’ Day at Ascot for her and her friends.
The designers complement each other with burlesque and theatrical influences obvious in their work and with Lady Gaga named as their dream client, audiences to the fashion shows can expect a spectacle.
Other events during Reading Arts Week include a two-day public art exhibition at the pentahotel on June 23 and 24, plus:
- Artists’ Place, Wednesday, June 27, 1pm-6pm, Market Place (outside Nino’s), Reading town centre. Outdoor art fair and gifts.
- The Big Art Picnic, Friday, June 29, 2pm-8pm, Caversham Court Gardens, Church Road, Caversham. Live music, dance, art, crafts and sculpture. Free boat trips to Caversham Lock to see the arts week mural (noon to 6pm) – a 20 metre-long mural by Helen Brady which captures Reading celebrating the Jubilee, Reading FC going up to the Premiership and the 2012 Games.
To find out more, go to www.reading.gov.uk/artsweek, facebook.com/rdgartsweek, Twitter at @rdgartsweek or call organiser Chris Brant on (0118) 937 2373.