Springing into summer at the cathedral show
RENOWNED designer Caroline Charles is using the stunning location of Exeter Cathedral to showcase a spring/summer collection.
Hot on the heels of London Fashion Week, a charity fashion show is being held in the cathedral's Chapter House on Tuesday, February 26, and will include a champagne and canapé reception followed by a preview of the vibrant spring collection.
Since the opening of Princesshay in Exeter, Caroline has spread her presence to the South West by opening a boutique in Roman Walk.
The spring/summer collection is described as, "stylish, desirable, functional, lasting, and made in small quantities with real emotion".
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Colours are lots of soft brights, magenta, violet, jade, and black and white. The cut is curves close to the body and in cotton tweeds, prints, embroidery, and silk prints on crepe.
Over the past five decades Caroline has developed an enviable reputation and client list, including Princess Diana, Lulu, Marianne Faithful and Cilla Black, as well as making special suits for Mick Jagger and Ringo Star.
She began her career in the world of fashion at art school followed by a couture apprenticeship and a stint as a photographer's assistant. Her lucky break came when she worked for Mary Quant. Inspired by couturiers as well as the youth culture of the early 1960s in London, Caroline's first collections were kooky and fresh and included a white cotton dress made from a bedspread.
Over the years Caroline has been a design consultant to major brands such as Burberry and Marks & Spencer, as well as design collaborations with major accessories and textile companies.
In the 1990s she designed the official scarf to mark the 40th anniversary of the accession of the Queen. When it came to celebrating her own 40th anniversary, Caroline was awarded an OBE for services to the British Fashion Industry.
Among Caroline's many career achievements is being one of the original designers to join what was later to become British Fashion Week. Her clothes have also been snapped up by many celebrities, and one of her regular clients is Emma Thompson who wore one of her designs when she received an Oscar.
Caroline said: "I've been doing this for 50 years and I've enjoyed every minute of it. It's a wonderful job for a woman doing women's clothing and I have a very good team.
"I don't specify my clothes to an age group. Instead I think of the women wearing the clothes and what their needs are, like whether it's for a party, workwear or travels, and that's one of things that makes it so interesting.
"I am also in love with fabrics and spend a lot of time sourcing them. As I have an appetite for very expensive fabrics it makes the clothes more of a special treat you save up for – but then you can wear them again and again. I'm the sort of designer who likes practical and multi-use."
Tickets for the fashion show, starting at 11am, cost £20 with all proceeds will go to the Cathedral Development Campaign. Booking is essential. Call 01392 285974 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org