All copyright Angela Cliffe 2009 - 2011 (C)







A Blush of Rose


May & June 2011



Beauty, Grace & Style


Royal Ascot 300th Anniversary Ladies Day 16th June.


In it's tri-centenary year Royal Ascot put on a wonderful display of colours and pagentry. Ladies, Gentlemen and Horses especially where looking fabulous in the best English traditional style. 


Her Majestry Queen Elizabeth II, our leading lady, was wearing a beautiful Rose Pink ensemble in the manner that she prefers for these occassions similar to her late Mother. Here she is in the parade ring stepping out of her Landau to be greeted by Stoker Hartington (The current Duke of Devonshire) under the watchful gaze of Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh. In the background to the left of the picture is Mrs Carole Middleton, mother to the Duchess of Cambridge, the Queen's new Granddaughter-in-law.




To the right Her Majesty the Queen greets Mrs Middleton, who responds by making a curtsy to her Majesty.


As the Royal party gathered in the parade ring to see the runners of the first race lead out all attention was on the fashions of the Royal Party. The Queens dress was made by Stewart Parvin and her hat was made by Rachel Trevor Parvin.


Mrs Middleton's outfit is understood to be another beautiful creation from Catherine Walker the House that designed for the late Princess of Wales for many years. 

 All images (C) Angela Cliffe.





Images (C) Angela Cliffe.


Fashion plays a big part at Royal Ascot and always has done during it's 300 year history. This year there was a special celebratory catwalk show under the watchful eye of a beautiful Horse scultpure, below left and, a great crowd of fashion enthusiasts. Several desingers such as Vivienne Westwood and Georgia Hardinge took part in showing their pieces in the Catwalk parrade. If you weren't lucky enough to catch this there was plenty to see around the grounds.

A whole host of celebrities where out and about including Elizabeth Hurley in a beautiful Blush coloured Dress. At Ascot all the ladies shine brightly as Fashion Stars and here below are two ladies that I photographed looking beautiful in outfits they had assembled themselves.


The girls below right where part of a group who had made some extraordinary hat designs.

The first race of the Day, The Norfolk Stakes went off quickly after Her Majesty and her party settled into the Royal Box. I picked the Winner of the second race at 3.05, The Ribblesdale Stakes and the trophy for this race was presented by Supermodel and Chanel muse Stella Tennent after the win of Irish Horse Banimpire. This was a pretty good fashion link-up and couldn't have been more perfect for the 300th anniversary of the Races. Betwise I did pretty well through the day picking a few winners and each-way Horses. My lucky tip, either pick names or follow the tips of some older distinguished looking gents with impeccable tayloring. It seems to do the trick.


On the subject of Men's style there where some great sights from embroidered waistcoates to top hats and the return of Spatz. I like men's formal dressing and I have to say that the men at Ascot, especially the older generation do the nation proud in terms of showing off the best in male tayloring. 

The Chelsea Flower Show Press Day 23rd May 2011.


This year's CFS sponsored by M&G Investment was spectacular with more blooms, more happy faces and more well dressed celebs than ever before.

Lots of very positive messages at this Chelsea Flower Show from support of Ascot's 300th anniversary to environmental sustainability.


The Show's sponsers M&G Investments had the honour of hosting the lead garden that greeted the visitors as they entered the show. Following on from the costumed theme spectacular of the Spring they chose the Ballet film Black Swan featuring Natalie Portman and Mila Kunis as their inspiration.


Complete with costumed Ballerina, below, the garden designed by Bunny Guinness was created from the inspiration of the traditional Kitchen Garden combining both practicality and emphasising the importance of renewability and sustainability. Fruits, herbs, cut flowers and vegetables all find a happy place in garden.






























To bring even more life and colour into the garden Zandra Rhodes happily posed for photographs infront of the model ballerina with her equally brightly clad friend. Zandra's ever bright smile and zest drew a large number of photographers much to the delight of M&G.


Close by "A Monaco Garden"sponsored by the Principality, a first this year at the CFS ,drew in lots of attention and for me this was my favoutire. I loved the infinity pool and sence of immaculate tranquility that was created in the space. This was really a dream garden and as I imagined myself floating on the surface Prince Albert II walked into the garden with his aides and the garden designer Sarah Eberle. Like many people I'm captivated by the reflection of the light upon the water in Monaco and contrasting colours it makes set against the backdrop of the town. The Azure Blue is somthing that your eye never forgets.

























HSH Prince Albert was noticably pleased with garden and spoke with the designer as she showed him many aspects of the garden. It was nice to see a member of a foreign Royal Family joining the show this year on the day of the Royal preview. I think what struck me about this garden was that just as planned it did show the three main visual themes of Monaco that you see there, the water, the buildings and the ever present greenery covering the rocks and flowing down across the park scapes of the principality. 


Under cover in the main pavillion the Lavendar patchwork field was a great draw a always. You can smell it before you can see it. It's a cure for the sences and a feast for the eyes.


























The Rose Gardens at Chelsea are there in profusion. This year to celebrate the 300th anniversary of Royal Ascot 18th Century inspired English Roses heading for the races where taking the air of the gardens. The hats and outfits wehre designed by Vivienne Westwood and later shown at a fashion show at Royal Ascot.






















































Below I've pciked two baskets of Roses that took my eye for different reasons. The first was a basket composed in one of the presentation gardens that had a beautiful composition. The second was made in tribute to Natasha Richardson who passed away the previous year. Her sister Joley Richardson's friend Evgeny Lebvedev visited the display along with numerous others who appreciated the delicate pink colour.






















As usual there where Celebrities turing up at every corner at the CFS. ut this year I was focussed on what many of them where here to talk about. Auther Terry Pratchet was there to talk in detail about renewable and sustainable energy in a garden specifically designed to emphasise that function. The garden below left has a water mill that turns to give energy to the little home next to it and every care was taken in putting it together to maximise environmental sustainability.  


Looking to the East the Rothschild bank garden was housed around a beautiful Marque covered in a rainbow of Orchids. Lit up with Chandelliers the light danced around two young ladies dressed a brides holiding their wedding bouquets. Three candels where lit above each bank of flowers that was mounted on a table and the two stood watch and posed for photographers as they awaited the guests of the evening.





Working on a dual theme of the tranquility of the Garden and the vibracy and dash of the races. This show garden cut a dash with the two becoming one. The jockey's Racing silks made up of a burst of colour drew attention again to the excitment of the racing season. With an emphasis on the fences and the chase this Black horse was clearing everything in style with the flowers in the garden looking on as it zoomed past.

Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen and his wife Jackie both avaid gardeners and designers attended the show with their usual gusto and Joie de Vivre. They have two young daughters and live in the West Country in a beautiful listed home. Jackie isn't often seen in front of the cameras as much as her husband but she was on hand to support him and brought a lot of light into the Chelsea Gardens.

The world comes to Chelsea and this year there was a beautiful Japanese mini garden next to the Post Office garden. Below is a picture of the msuician giving her traditional music and songs to the guests walking around the show. She smiled almost constantly as she was playing to the delight of everyone around her.


The vibrant Magenta skirt that she wore off-set peffectly the traditional two collored jacket that she wore.





























To the right in Australian Garden a young girl was wearing a beautiful Yellow dress crowned with Yellow flowers and White Feathers. She looked so light and free strolling through the garden and beding down by the flowers. It's the carefree attitude that everybody loves and knows Australia for and I think it's the perfect image to paint of the landscape of the country.




































Shifting the look once again to ethical and renewable materials these two dresses where made with an emphasis to sustainability. Bamboo is grown and harvested to make these clothes and I found it fascinating that fahion and gardening where meeting in such a head-on way this year at Chelsea. Bamboo fabric has a great amount of elasticity about it and it's also veyr light to wear. I think it should be in the running for fabric choices for amny Summer dresses for brides and everyone else. These two dresses where captivating so silky-smooth and elegant in the way that we all dream of.


As China and the East are booming and coming into focus I thought this was a very interesting addition to the global fashion tapestry. The more way that flowers can grow into fashion the better. It gives more life and energy to clothes. 


The Catherine Walker Blush Fashion Show - 18th May 2011, One Mayfair.

Said Ismael and The Haven celebrate Catherine's life and work.



Six months after his wife's death Said Ismeal put on the first catwalk show of his wife's work. It was both a retrospective of the last 30 years of her work and the debut of the House's new collection. Catherine's clothes chime with me in a way I can't descibe and I'm sure for many of you out there you have the same or similar feeling. During Catherine's illness she and her husband Said laid down the foundation of a new philosophy for the House, in her hand writing with hand picked team to pick up her work. This was a rare public glimpse of the direction that the brand is moving in. 


HRH The Prince of Wales patron of the Haven provided the welcome of the event and emphasised his support for the work that they do and his honour of Catherine's memory.


Friends, family, and admirers of Catherine's work gathered in a Beautiful Church in Mayfair to celebrate Catherine's life and work and raise money for the Haven cancer Charity. I walked into the event with David Frost and his wife the Lady Frost. She was wearing a beautiful suit and he was relaxed as always and chatting away. This was a one-off event that brought together an ecclectic group of people. Many figures from fashion came but compared to many fashion shows this was more about the clients, the friends who supported Catherine and her house through and through.


In the wake of the Royal Wedding the obvious correlation was with the continuation of the patronage of the Duchess of Cambridge's mother following the late Princess of Wales and many other members of the Royal family to Catherine Walker. Gabriella Windsor and Ladies Helen Taylor and Paola Windsor have all commissioned pieces from her and been part of her loyal base. Beyond the public eye there are many, many women who admire the excellence of Catherine in private with many treasured pieces of her couture.



Far from a sombre event the evening was full of fun. I spoke with several ladies who had been clients of Catherine's before the show. Sir Julian and Lady Emma Kitchener-Fellowes lit up the party with warm chatter and lots of smiles. I think I bumped into Julian for the second time in One week but managed to stop myself from asking questions about the forthcoming Downton Series. 


After a welcome from Vassi Chamberlain, the catwalk show itself was breathtaking. For me this was the first time that I had seen a collection by Catherine as her pieces are never shown in this way. She was a traditional private couturier who looked to the client and the attention that her pieces duly deserved came from that if worn in public, or in private applause if worn in private.


There where many, many dresses here that I loved flowing and close cut. Pale hued and bold in their colours. My favourite would be a simple Black dress.The whole catalogue of pieces where here from every stage in her career.


I belive that fashion and colour have a great connection with regeneration and this event was in sync with my belief. Following the catwalk show with all that beauty walking before us everyone was chilled out to the max and ready to raise some serious cash for this very worthy cause support of the Haven. We had a great variety of things to choose from. I bid on an internship with the studio but was outbid - hey I already have a job - why not be generous.There was a chance to work for Storn Model Agency and star in The Chronicals of Narnia, A luxury South African Experience,  



The Haven is a place where sufferers of illness can go for respite care to give their families a break but also to gain a new perspective ont heir treatment, find new paths forward and discover some new joys during the time of their illness.


As a humble writer I did love the idea of covering this show leading with the theme Blush in the same Magenta Colour scheme that I use for A Blush of Rose and I was very greatful that Catherine's office where happy for me to cover it. I met with one of her daughter's after leaving the show and thanked her and all of her team for a wonderful event.


(C) Angela Cliffe 2009 -2013.