The seventh Niche Fashion Show, put on by Lesley Farrow, who owns the delightful boutique in Cinque Ports Street, was to benefit the Rye, Winchelsea and District Hospital and the Community Transport Scheme. The Mayor, Councillor Jonathan Breeds, allowed the use of the lovely and historic Town Hall free of charge, and the Hospital fundraising committee helped with all the front of house activity. Thanks are due to Jennifer Grenfell and Stephanie Faulkner Smith for leading the team. The Town Hall chamber made a beautiful setting for the event, and especially for a lovely spring /early summer fashion show like this. It has become one of the regular happenings in the Rye calendar, almost without anyone noticing!
A glass of Prosecco, donated by the Bell Inn at Iden, greeted the audience on arrival. Gratefully received on a gorgeous sunny spring evening, spirits were already high on the first day with any warmth in it since last August. The fashion show that followed lived up to its promise, with the sound system working well courtesy of Reg Marchant.
The models, all real people, led by Jane Conlin, who also did much of the organising of the show with Lesley Farrow, led the way, to be followed by Gemma Lister, Jeannie Hawkes, Lauren Page, new to the modelling team and presenting a younger image to the audience, and Tia, Lady Ampthill. They made truly lovely models and the hats supplied by Herald and Heart were an enormous success.
Talking of the hats, there was a clever one to fold up to pack and a copy of the original cream and black number used in the film “Four Weddings and a Funeral”. On chatting to the milliners later, it was this that apparently started the whole story of the Herald and Heart business, based in the High Street. They make one off bespoke hats as well as having an amazing stock of headgear for both men and women.
The hair and makeup complemented the outfits, courtesy of the Rye Retreat in Cinque Ports Street. This is an Aveda Lifestyle Hair salon and spa for anyone interested, with a very comfortable air conditioned salon. Their expertise could be seen in full view on all the models.
Then the outfits! Cleverly accessorized with the hats and a range of beautiful scarves and bags, it included bright corals and blues, and loose jackets and fitted and flowing trousers. Gemma appeared in a black jumpsuit, which she assured the audience was very comfortable, and Tia had on a particularly smart striped linen dress with buttons up the back. Jane, as always modelling for the smaller lady, looked stunning in a range of outfits that included a loose cut trouser suit with a cleverly cut jacket and a kind of chain mail material top underneath.
Lauren, young and beautiful, modelled shorts, tops and other clothes to appeal to young audience members, and managed it all with poise and elegance. Jeannie, amusing as ever, suited the neat shorter trouser and flowing tops. The whole silhouette of the clothes was unstructured, casual and a pleasure to wear. Of course, the finale brought the hat mentioned above and more fitted clothes, as can be seen in the pictures, but the highlight must be the clear yellows and acid greens of some of the linen dresses and the hats that topped them all off!
An auction was held of a very smart little black head piece, modelled by Lauren, to finish off the proceedings, raising another £60.00, finishing with the giving of a bouquet to thank Lesley for the hard work that had gone into putting on this extravaganza.
All the funds raised, £1,000 in ticket sales and £275 in the raffle, are to be equally divided between the Rye, Winchelsea and District Hospital Friends and the Community Transport Scheme.
Photos: Stephanie Faulkner Smith