Honeysuckle Weeks – A Perfect English Rose By Alison Jane Reid

 

Black diva Couture Millinery, £695, by Lock & Co Hatters

This is the story of a spirited, rather original, English Eccentric rose. A storybook fashion heroine who never, ever follows trends, she sets them. She dresses romantically, to express her moods and desires in the very best, exquisitely crafted, British, artisan brands fashioned to become timeless heirlooms.

My heroine cleverly mixing utility tweeds with wisps of precious lace, silk and satin, and flowing, tailored Scottish cashmere and wool with daring hats and twinkling, vintage treasures. Naturally, there are witty dressing up references to Alice in Wonderland, The Secret Five and Little Red Riding Hood. Being a country girl, and tomboy at heart, her accessories are her animal playmates: The Duke of Rutland’s pet owl, Persil, her very naugthy dog, a fishing rod from Farlows of Pall Mall, oh and the infinite possibilities of an English summer in the heart of the countryside.

Red military coat, prices on application, by Anita Massarella for Hainsworth

White pie crust collar shirt, £65, by Cordings

Navy needlecord jodhpurs, £129, by Cordings

Butterfly heels, £675, by Aruna Seth

Black top hat, prices on application, by Lock & Co

Gold vintage star, stylist’s own

Belt, as before

 My fashion heroine made flesh and blood is the golden haired actress Honeysuckle Weeks. As Sam Stewart in Foyle’s War, a beautifully crafted and understated English detective series set in the midst of war, Weeks is mesmerizing, as Michael Kitchen’s driver and serene girl Friday. She never, ever cracks under pressure, summing up the remarkable spirit of a nation in conflict.

As a result she is an enduring dream girl and pinup for the discerning male, who appreciates her as the latest in a long line of cool, calm action girls.  I have exciting news too. There is to be a new series of Foyle that will be set after the war with Honeysuckle joining the fledgling operations unit, which would later become MI5. It comes as no surprise to learn that she has recently played Nancy in an American radio production of Oliver Twist, “playing against type, which was a lot of fun,” she says. And of course she knows how to fish. “I’ve caught a pike fish for supper. The females living in still, stagnant water make the tastiest fish. I took it home and cooked it in the Aga with white wine, lots of herbs and cream, it was delicious.”

Bird print shirt, £59.95, by Joules

Green Silk Chloe Jacket, £315, by Cordings

Joules Ditton Skirt, £64.94, by Farlows

Green/blue boot socks, £35, by Farlows

Black Town & Country Wellington, prices on application, Barbour

Red feather Couture Millinery, prices on application, by Lock & Co Hatters

Bracelet and belt, models own

Vintage Pearls, POA, Dig for Vintage

 

Honeysuckle is like Purdy. She is equally at home in Barbour wellingtons as a shimmering, golden couture gown. Given that the weather was tempestuous on the day of our fashion story, she kept up our spirits brilliantly. She radiates chutzpah and charm, and a quicksilver intelligence.  One moment she is trooping off to the lake to tickle a trout, the next she is happily kicking off her butterfly high heels to effortlessly play the chatelaine in Moloh’s darling, duck egg blue and ivory silk day dress, amid the perfectly appointed, gilded splendours of the pink, Regent’s Drawing room at Belvoir Castle, with it’s tapestries depicting the story of Don Quixote.  Later, she will dance her heart out with her husband on a stormy summer evening in the castle’s wild flower garden, set high above a tranquil English pastoral scene.

For a thousand years, Belvoir has been the seat of the Dukes of Rutland with an intoxicating, bloody history bound up in the very fabric and fortunes of England history and its Kings and Queens. It is also the setting for the CLA (Country Landowners Game Fair). Every year in July, the lush pastures of the Belvoir Estate are transformed as many of Britain’s finest small food producers, bespoke fashion designers, hatters, furniture makers and craft companies set up their brightly coloured stalls and create an exciting atmosphere of bustling country fair.

1950’s embellished cocktail dress, prices on application, by Dig for Vintage

Butterfly heels, £675, by Aruna Seth

Anna Karennina Couture Millinery, prices on application, by Lock & Co Hatters:

Alana Love Heart Pendant, prices on application, by Swarovski

Buckled belt and vintage bracelet, Stylists own

Vintage cape, stylist’s own.

 

In an increasingly globalised world, it’s time to celebrate our heritage and what Britain does really, really well. Let’s take an adventurous, magic carpet ride through the small, perfectly formed British artisan fashion and accessory brands, with names such as: Barbour, Cordings, Catherine Hooker, Browne and Daughter, Lock and Co and the Really Wild Clothing company. Together, they have a glorious, quirky history and pedigree that is admired throughout the world.

Peacock print dress, prices on application, by Brian Rennie for Basler

Fur trim cape, prices on application, by Brian Rennie for Basler

Butterfly heels, £675, by Aruna Seth

Nera pendant, prices on application, by Swarovski

“Dressing up has been like entering a candy stall,” sighs Honeysuckle. “The textures, styles and exquisite craftsmanship are just divine. I don’t normally look forward to shoots where I am dressed by other people; but on this occasion I’ve had an absolute ball – my mother gave me a great love and appreciation of fashion, and today I got to play a shinier, more heroic version of myself – I like this return to ladylike dressing, it has been the most fun I have ever had on a fashion story, ever. In the noughties fashion went through a period of excess, where everything was on display, and nothing was left to the imagination. Perhaps inspired by Kate, our new Duchess, and future Queen, we are entering a more demure, feminine and alluring age – where we can be strong and marvellously sexy again – I rather like that ideal.”

Hetty Dress with lace collar, £495, by Moloh

Nude sling back heels, prices on application, by Aruna Seth

Absolute gold feather Couture Millinery, £645, by Lock & Co Hatters

Book, Juno Says Hello

Vintage jewelled bracelet; Stylists own

 

Credits
Fashion Editor & Feature Writer: Alison Jane Reid
Photography by Jason Joyce: www.jasonjoyce.com
Photography assistant: Danny Graff
Makeup: Vickie Ellis, using Dermalogica
Hair by Heather Manson
Fashion assistants: Maria Hazzard and Rosin Tierney
With special thanks to Belvoir Castle, www.belvoircastle.com 01476 871 026
CLA Game Fair, Belvoir Castle, Grantham, Leicestershire

Stockists
Aruna Seth  – www.arunaseth.com  191 455 4444
Barbour – www.barbour.com
Basler – www.baslerfashion.com
Browne & Daughters – www.browneanddaughters.com  0207 603 1380
Cordings – www.cordings.co.uk 0207 734 0830
Dig for Vintage – www.digforvintage.co.uk 01983740344
Farlows – www.farlows.co.uk  0207 4841 000
Hainsworth – www.hainsworth.co.uk 0113 257 0391
Joules – www.joules.com  0845 250 7170
Juno Says Hello – www.junosayshello.com
Lock & Co – www.lockhatters.co.uk  020 7930 8874
Moloh – www.moloh.com  0207 730 0430
Really Wild Clothing Company – www.reallywildclothing.co.uk 01491 672 900
Swarovski – www.swarovski.com

The next CLA Game Fair takes place at

CLA Game Fair 2012

19-21 July

Ragley Hall, Alcester, Warwickshire B49 5NJ


  For more info: www.gamefair.co.uk

 

CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD THE PDF

 

Click on this link to watch Alison Jane Reid’s exciting Country Heroine fashion story for The Lady magazine at Belvoir Castle with Foyle’s War star Honeysuckle Weeks http://vimeo.com/44050331#at=0

 

 

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