Tag Archives: Sarah

Country People Fashion Podcast: The Royal Wedding What we Think of the Dress, the Rings and the Hats

3 May

The growth of a foetus depicted through fashion, Helen and Katie Storey’s updated 1997 Primitive Streak collection in Sheffield

18 Apr

 Fashion meets biology in a creation of 27 dresses artfully depicting the key developments during the first 1,000 hours of human life.

Originally designed and made by two sisters 14 years ago, the ‘Primitive Streak’ collection is the art work of artist/designer Helen Storey and biologist Kate Storey. Together they made a collection which stylises the intricate processes each of us went through in the womb.

Talking to BBC’s Radio 4 Helen said that it was difficult at first and she felt paralysed by the project. But her sister saw it as “an extraordinary thing to be able to convey this process to as many different parts of the community as possible…I had a very unique opportunity, with Helen working in the fashion industry, to reach a completely different audience.”

With new pieces, including the ‘Lung Dress,’ a sample of them went on tour. They were showcased in Sheffield, Newcastle and London and have previously been to eight countries since 1997.

1) From day one. The ‘Sperm Coat’ represents, as the name suggests, fertilisation. Helen said she, “had to wait for biology to show me what to do.” This led to 105 hours of embroidery onto a fabric which was dissolved in water and this extremely delicate coat was born.

2) From day one. The ‘Anaphase’ dress is made from silk, mirrored paper and viscose jersey. Together they show cell division where the cell and DNA multiplies.

3) 5-6 days. The ‘Implantation’ dress shows the embryo (the white part) embedding in the womb (the black part). This causes the development of the placenta, creating a direct line to the mother’s nutrients.4) 12-14 days. This piece is where the collection got its name, Kate says this is because, “Primitive Streak is a really pivotal structure in the embryo”. This is where the internal organs and tissues are made from a cell layer called Mesoderm. This is formed when cells crawl from the top layer of the cell through a groove in the Primitive Streak, making the new layer in the middle. The Primitive Streak is represented by two metallic sheets which feed into the central black groove at the back of the dress. The gold metallic fabric is the Mesoderm emerging.

5-6) From day 20. The ‘Heart Bird’ dress is one in a series showing foetal heart development. This dress is made from crin and shows how the different chambers form. The shape of the dress is held by nylon wires and the heart was made by pulling fabric over a shaped wooden block.

7) 22-25 days. The ‘Neurulation’ dress is made from white fake fur and it shows how the central nervous system forms. A sheet of cells called the Neural Plate roll up into a tube which will develop into the brain and spinal cord.

8 ) From day 24. The ‘Limb Formation’ dress is made from an artist’s primed canvas. Chloe Sendall painted the expanding limb buds in oils to show the start of arms and legs growing on the four week old foetus.

9) 28 days to birth. The ‘Lung Dress’ shows how our lungs develop from two small buds branching out. This dress is made from soft, shiny sponge and the branching is printed onto the velvet and chiffon wing like lungs.

10) From day 33. The final dress in the exhibition is the ‘Spinal Column’ dress which is made from a patterned fabric and a resin cast spine. This was hand plated with foil and 8,000 fibre optic endings, representing the nerves extending out to the body, are threaded through.

This collection saw new life brought to an old project which Helen and her sister are still passionate about, “we’ve gone from the bleeding obvious, in some cases, to something of great complexity. We’ve tried to use fashion as a way to bring that to life.”


By Sarah Walters

For a larger view of the photos click on the picture

Leader of Sheffield City Council tells Castle Market store holders to: “downsize or go.”

29 Mar

In an interview today the leader of Sheffield City Council, Paul Scriven, was calm and well practised in answering questions about his support for the government and Nick Clegg’s vision for this country. But, when questioned about the locally controversial Castle Market his composure faltered and his answers had an undertone of irritation.

Essentially he held his morals in the right place and emphasised the council’s focus on saving social care services. He said: “Stall holders at Castle Market have been subsidised by the tax payer since 1993” and made it clear that they were not top priority in this city.

He saw it as unfair that they are expecting special treatment when shop owners from elsewhere in Sheffield may also be struggling and services such as Sure Start were at risk of being cut. He asked if he should put money into business or social care.

Mr Scriven claimed his powers are limited, “I can’t change the habits of shoppers and we’ve already invested huge amounts of money to get people into the city centre. Castle Market has been in a difficult position for years and we have helped promote it.”

The issue has come about prior to the new £18million market being built in The Moor where current stalls are expected to relocate in 2013. Since 2008 Castle Market stall holders have had a 40% discount on their rent which is going to be taken away and many are concerned they will not be in business to see the new development.

The council hopes the new market will bring in a more diverse range of customers but essentially Mr Scriven swept the subject aside and said: “They’re either going to have to downsize or go.”


By Sarah Walters

Exclusive, Organiser of Sheffield Protests: “Hang your heads in shame Lib Dems”

14 Mar


Last weekend saw the Spring Liberal Democrat conference in Sheffield and with it thousands of protesters took to the streets to show Nick Clegg exactly what they think.

Despite it being expected that around 10,000 people would protest only an estimated 5,000 did. The £2million worth of defence measures, including 1000 police officers drafted in from bordering counties, only gave the protesters more fuel to use against the government.

Maxine Bowler from UNITE gave a passionate speech and attacked them for cutting £5million from Sheffield’s Children’s Hospital. She then accused them of spending nearly half of that on, “barricading the Liberals in because they can’t face the people of this city.”

She also went on to say: “We had Thatcher saying there is no such thing as society, now we have Cameron with the Big Society. This Big Society is a cover for privatisation.” She claimed that the government expect the public to, “volunteer and live on air.”

The crowds were encouraged by this, and similar speeches, but the atmosphere remained peacefully defiant. There was only one reported arrest but this was not for the violence that was expected.

One of the organisers of the protest was Martin Mayer from Sheffield Anti-Cuts Alliance who encouraged a peaceful protest to the crowd.

He also wanted to tell the Lib Dems to, “hang your heads in shame, re-think what you’re doing, pull out of this coalition while you’ve still got a chance and save this country from the appalling damage that your government is doing.” He maintained that all there were on the “moral high ground” and would work with the police to keep it a peaceful protest.

Also speaking at the protest was Paul Brandon from Right to Work. He said: “This government and the Lib Dems say that we’ve got to pay off this deficit, but since the Second World War we have had a greater deficit compared to the GDP.” He named Nick Clegg the, “liar in chief” and said: “he won’t get away with the lies, cheating and vandalism he’s trying to get away with in the country.”

Throughout the day no member of the Liberal Democrats gave a statement to the protesters. They were even booed out of a pub next to the City Hall but some did stand on the steps of City Hall to look at the crowd. Nick Clegg stayed in the conference behind the Wall of Steel built for him.

By Sarah Walters

International Women’s Day: Overcoming Tragedy and Bereavment: Katie’s story

9 Mar

Katie Jayne Spencer from Mansfield, Nottinghamshire, had to deal with the death of her little sister nine years ago, and last year had to drop out of university because of a mystery illness. At only 20 years old she has had to find strength in herself to overcome more than any young adult should have.

When she was 11 she was in a car accident. Her, her sister Stacey and her aunt were on their way to Skegness when they were hit by a lorry as their aunt tried to overtake it. Her sister died at the scene and Katie was air lifted to hospital. Here she was treated for her physical injuries but overcoming the death of Stacey was a longer and more painful struggle.

Because her aunt was driving the car she was blamed by Katie’s side of the family for what happened. This went to court and she was found guilty of Death by Dangerous Driving. She got a suspended sentence and a two year driving ban, a sentence Katie feels is, “just not enough.”

This justice did not help the conflict between the two sides of the family and on one occasion Katie saw her in town. “I had a panic attack” and said her aunt accused her of shouting “murderer”. This is but one of the confrontations between the divided family.

                                               Stacey, Katie’s little sister

To help overcome the ordeal Katie saw a psychiatrist but did not feel she could talk to him, or her family. She said: “I felt I had to stay strong, I didn’t want to upset them.” This was until the pain of keeping it all inside “exploded” and she spoke to her mum about everything. She eventually realised that, “dwelling on it won’t change what happened; you just have to get on with things.”

Katie has now come to terms with the ordeal and has campaigned to help raise awareness for the air ambulance that saved her life. She speaks more of what happened and thinks it has made her, “a stronger person.”

But, last year at Christmas Katie became ill. She had lost her appetite and being sick was a daily problem. She was taken to the doctors on many occasions but even from blood tests they could only say that she was slightly anaemic.

Weeks later she collapsed and was taken to hospital where she had to have a blood transfusion. She stayed there for months before she was finally diagnosed with Crohn’s disease. During this time she had daily, and sometimes intrusive, tests to try and diagnose her illness. Her weight dropped dramatically and the emotional strain was constant; “I thought that was it, I thought my life was over.”

However, once she got her diagnosis and treatment she built up her strength and is out enjoying life again. She is back at university studying Law with Psychology, has a great social life and, despite her fear of cars, has just got her driver’s licence. She says she is, “trying to live life to the fullest, because Stacey never got that chance.”

I interviewed Katie to find out how she felt during these experiences and what advice she would like to offer to anybody else. She was emotional but stayed strong which shows just how far along she has come in the past 9 years.

By Sarah Walters

Sheffield’s celebration for International Women’s Day: Words of Inspiration

8 Mar

Today, the 8 March, is International Women’s Day and yesterday I went to a conference in Sheffield to see some inspirational women talk about their life, struggles and triumphs. Guest speakers were Penny Mallory, Lady Catherine Meyer and Arlene Phillips. The event was hosted by Forward Ladies and helped raise money for the Katie Piper Foundation. Katie was also there to promote her charity. You can read a news article on the conference here but I thought the women there deserved more so I have picked out the best parts of their speeches and put a brief outline of what they said.

Katie Piper      

In 2008 Katie had sulphuric acid thrown on her face after being raped by her ex-boyfriend then refusing to see him. Both the men involved were found guilty and sent to jail for their crimes but Katie has had to rebuild her appearance and her life. Before the attack she was a budding model and T.V. presenter but since she has become a source of inspiration and example of overcoming life changing events even though “having a burn leaves you feeling desperate and isolated.”

Now she can be seen at events like the conference held in Sheffield yesterday and her beautiful face is plastered all over the website for The Katie Piper Foundation which she set up to show “you can have a happy life with burns.”

  • “Disfigurement left me insecure and made me realise I had judged people in my mind about how they see me. But, after the Channel 4 documentary some journalists asked me how it felt to know I would never get married or have children. I wanted to change that.”

The Katie Piper Foundation

Katie said the foundation was set up to: “Give people the confidence to venture out and give them the choice to wear cosmetics or not.” They help burns victims to overcome the ordeal they have been through by providing funding for rehabilitation and treatment, support the need for the constant clinical care required, give workshops to help victims with makeup, medical tattooing and image related issues, create a support network and normalise society’s view of disfigurement.

The conference was held to celebrate International Women’s Day and also raise money for The Katie Piper Foundation. In Sheffield alone over £1000 was raised which will go to all of the above but also help with the goal of opening an advanced burns and rehabilitation clinic in the U.K. To visit the website for more information about the foundation, events or to donate click here.

Penny Mallory is proud to be called the “Female Jeremy Clarkson” and being the first woman to race in the World Rally Championships it’s well deserved. Yesterday she spoke to a room of business-women (and a few men) about the trials she has had through life and the triumphs she has achieved. She encouraged them to “take control of your life” and outlined her nine steps to success which included passion, planning, preparation and a positive spin. In her speech she explained how she started training to run a marathon at a size 18, completed the feat and went on to climb Europe’s highest mountain, Mount. Elbrus.

These are just a few accomplishments in her life which all spanned from when she was a young rebel living alone, drinking and taking drugs. She said: “One day I had a moment in my life when I said enough,” showing the self motivation and perseverance which has made her so successful in her endeavours. While holding the audience’s attention with her stories she interjected with words of confidence, telling them to focus on the positives in life because “if you focus on the negative things you will likely bring that on you. You have the choice.”

  • “You have extraordinary power within yourself to make things happen, power that you haven’t even tapped into yet.”


Lady Catherine Meyer

In 1994 Lady Catherine’s children went to see their father in Germany but he did not let them return back to the U.K. and their mother. This was followed by a ten year battle to get them back which took her to the European High Court and around the world. During the battle she met her husband, the now former British Ambassador to the U.S, Sir Christopher Meyer. Despite the pain of what happened she still remembered fondly how he said: “I wanted to help her but I couldn’t so I did the next best thing and married her.”

During the conference she spoke of how “you don’t take children away from a mother and expect her to sit quietly. I was like a lioness and went out there to get them back.” Even though she had the courts and law on her side it was still an incredible struggle to get her children back. Over the ten years it lasted she only got to see them for 24 hours and that was under watch from social workers.

In 1998, Lady Meyer co-founded the International Center for Missing & Exploited Children, and a year later she founded PACT (Parents & Abducted Children, Together) which she still runs today. Now Lady Catherine is a source of help for many people going through similar things. International Child Abduction is more common than even she thought.

  • “When you have a passion, when you have an objective and when you believe, you can do it.”


Arlene Phillips OBE

Raised in working class Manchester and losing her mother young, Arlene has found the strength to find success in her passion and talent for dancing. After going to London for a weekend of dance lessons she never returned back up north. She said in her speech: “It was like a light bulb, I knew at that moment that I never wanted to go back.” From then she “took all kinds of awful jobs and did anything and everything to earn some money.” The job that started a chain of success was babysitting for producer and director Ridley Scott. From here her “life became crazy” and she went on to choreograph television commercials in America, West End musicals, start up famous dance group Hot Gossip and, what she’s most recently famous for, judge the BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing.

Initially she was not interested in the show and rejected many offers for an interview. In the end the BBC drove her to the filming of the pilot and it was then she “knew something about the programme would be special without knowing quite how special.”

But, in 2009 she was replaced as the outspoken judge by Alisha Dixon, former winner of the show. Despite it being because of her age and an attempt to attract younger viewers the BBC gave her other reasons she is still unwilling to talk about. Although this was an upsetting time, especially as someone very dear to her passed away the day before, Arlene didn’t wallow. She always encouraged her children to “move on” and took her own advice.

  • “There’s only one thing in life that one needs to find and that is determination.”


Forward Ladies hosted the event and it was mainly members and their guests who went. Their Business Development Manager, Linda Barlow, said: “This is an organisation whose role it is to support ladies from all professions and backgrounds in business to be successful.” For more information or to enquire about becoming a member click here.

By Sarah Walters

Arlene Phillips and Katie Piper honour International Women’s Day in Sheffield

8 Mar

To mark International Women’s Day the Sheffield Copthorne Hotel welcomed famous guest speakers and raised over £1000 for its charity of the year, the Katie Piper Foundation. Guests included Katie herself and former Strictly Come Dancing judge Arlene Phillips.

The aim of the conference was to not only raise money but also inspire people and show women from all walks of life that they can be successful. Linda Barlow, the Business Development Manager for Forward Ladies who hosted the event, said how important it was for the organisation and that, “International Women’s Day is a major event in our calendar.”

The day started with Penny Mallory, the first female contestant in the World Rally Championship who told the audience, “You have extraordinary power to make things happen that you haven’t even tapped into yet.”

Penny was followed by Lady Catherine Meyer. She had a £100,000 and ten year battle for custody of her children after her ex-husband abducted them.

Both ladies spoke of the struggles they have faced, the triumphs they achieved and gave their own advice on how to be successful.

Arlene Phillips then told the audience of her life and how it felt to be replaced by a younger woman, Alesha Dixon, on Strictly Come Dancing. She said, “If the BBC had been upfront about why they replaced me I would have been ok,” but the reasons they gave upset her and she still didn’t want to talk about them.

Katie drew the conference to a close. She looked nervous but came across as confident and when posing for photos seemed to revert back to her model self. She spoke of how the burn left her feeling desperate and isolated, “as I got my confidence back I started to feel sexy and cool but society wouldn’t see that so I started the charity to change it.” Liz Green from BBC radio Leeds said:“You don’t see a disability, you see an amazing woman.”

The Katie Piper Foundation helps burns victims beyond the medical help. It offers advice on makeup and medicinal tattooing, help with building confidence and other support needed.

As well as the speakers the Lord Mayor also attended to show his support. He said: “I wish I could have been here all morning. It encourages people to get thinking, things like this really are important.”

For more information on, or to donate to, the Katie Piper Foundation click here  and for more information on, or to become a member of, Forward Ladies click here

By Sarah Walters

Galliano Fashion Show is a Go Go

7 Mar

Despite the controversy surrounding John Galliano and the anti-semitic comments he made in a Paris café his fashion show still went ahead at Paris Fashion Week. He was absent from the show and it was low key in a small Parisian townhouse. The show featured 19 looks which is significantly smaller than what is usually shown at a catwalk show.

By Sarah Walters

photo sourced from here

Galliano Sacked for Anti-Semitism

1 Mar

1 March 2011: 19:32

John Galliano, a British fashion designer, has been sacked by Dior after he allegedly made anti-Semitic comments in a Paris café last week.

Video footage was posted online and showed him making racist comments on Thursday to Philippe Virgiti, 41, and Géraldine Bloch, 35 at café La Perle. He was later arrested and suspended by Dior the following day pending police investigations.

Old footage also emerged of him telling a waitress: “People like you would be dead today – your mothers, your forefathers would be f****** gassed” and stating his love for Hitler. This was from December and also at Le Perle.

His lawyer says he denies these claims but chief executive of Dior, Sidney Toledano, said the comments “totally contradict the values which have always been defended by Christian Dior” in a statement made earlier today.

Galliano’s dismissal comes on the first day of Paris fashion week and it remains uncertain if his show, scheduled for Friday, will still go ahead.

The video footage from December can be found on The Sun’s website here.

By Sarah Walters

Photo and information were sourced through BBC news. The original URL can be found here.

Details of those involved and the cafe were found from The Telegraph. The original URL can be found here.

The Oscars 2011: The fashion expert and the blogger on the red carpet outfits

1 Mar

The Oscars have just been and stuttering down the red carpet was the usual swathe of dolled up celebrities tottering on designer heals and squeezing into skin tight dresses. So aside from that little golden man everybody wants adorning their outfits what did the A-Listers do to stand out from their peers?

As a fashion novice I have given some unknowledgable opinions from a real person. But, for the fashionistas out there I’ve invited fashion student Lydia Gardiner to give her professional and technical views on the outfits with details of who they were designed by and how they were constructed.


Before shocking the audience by throwing an f-bomb into her speech Melissa Leo donned the doily look and brought a sexy edge to our Nan’s favourite croched accessory. On Oscar night she looked sleek and elegant with a simple up do and natural makeup. This was a definite contrast from her gritty, bleach blonde character in The Fighter, for which she won best supporting actress. Pairing simple gold shoes and accessories with the exceptionally detailed dress Melissa pulled off a classy look to suit both her age and style.

 Lydia’s view: “In my opinion, the Marc Bouwer custom made dress comes across as a rip off of Marchesa from their spring/Summer collection shown at New York Fashion Week (bottom right). Melissa’s dress is intricately beautiful but is ruined by the high collar and low V-neck. the dress appears heavy which takes away from the delicacy of the laser-cut design which would have taken hours to produce even using the right machinery. But, she has accessorised well with Jay Carlile jewels.”





 Well known for her eclectic fashion sense Helena Bonham Carter did not fail to impress. Wearing an outfit more reminiscent of her part in Sweeny Todd than the multi award winning film The King’s Speech she stayed true to her gothic taste and presented herself in a simple, black gown with a velvet corset. Backing the Brits all the way of course she proudly showed off her patriotic pins.


Lydia’s veiw: “Although the corset is beautifully constructed the dress is almost conservative and nondescript which I feel is explained by Helena’s statement: “I thought it would be nice to celebrate film instead of fashion.” However, the corset would have taken hours to make with its small panels, V-neck and the sleeves alone look as if they have five or six panels each. The designer of the dress, Colleen Atwood, was the costume designer for Tim Burton’s ‘Alice in Wonderland’ and you can definately see the stunning corsetry she made for the film may have inspired this dress for Helena.”


Back from Underland Anne Hathaway decided to outshine the world famous red carpet and showcased a scarlet Valentino gown with lips to match. This ruched and bubbled number certainly showed off her tall, slender frame by moulding perfectly to her figure. Most likely impossible to sit in Miss Hathaway had seven outfits for the night including Givenchy and Vivienne Westwood showing her wealth and broad fashion sense.

 Lydia’s view: “This Archive Haute couture Valentino gown is timeless with princess darts and multiple darts in the back to create a to die for silhouette. But, I do feel that the floral rosette appliqué detail is very much lost because of the colour and gives the dress a slightly frumpy and messy look.”




 Veering away from the traditional penguin and morning suits Josh Brolin and best actor nominee Javier Bardem shone out in white while presenting the Oscars for best original and best adapted screenplay.

 Lydia’s view: “In this photograph the men are wearing matching white/cream suits which in some lights appear to have a vague pink hue. The suits are well tailored with flawless topstitching, welt pockets, five small buttons on the button stands and a single button on the centre front. The only noticable difference is on the lapels; Brolin’s are traditional whereas Bardem’s have a slight curve. These suits contrast the dark ones they wore on the red carpet with Bardem in black Gucci and Brolin in navy.”


While the sapphire blue sequined dress stood out it was not the sparkles that drew people’s eyes to Amy Adams but rather the £800,000 ($1.35m) worth of jewellery which graced the front of it. Opting for a simple, wavy hairstyle and lightly made up face Amy was no shrinking violet and chose an outfit which brings to mind the Heart of the Ocean diamond necklace from Titanic.


Lydia’s view: “I don’t know which glittered more, Amy’s combined 63.99-carat emeralds or the beautiful L’Wren Scott midnight-blue sequined gown. The dress is so form fitting that it could have been inspired by Oscar himself. Both the patterns and the garment are so well made that the dress fits as a second skin with the skirt splitting at the side and more fullness from the knees down. The stunning Cartier emerald necklace gives the impression of a lower neckline.”


 By Sarah Walters

All Oscars pictures were sourced from BBC news. The original URL can be found through this Link.

The Marchesa dress photos were taken from Vogue. The original URL can be found through this Link.

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