Article by Judith Brady
“Ignore mature women at your peril. We are a force to be reckoned with!”
So said Lorraine Kelly at a wonderful event to launch her edit of the JD Williams Autumn/Winter collection.
I was so thrilled to represent Fab after Fifty at this fabulous evening held at The Shard last week.
Just going to The Shard is quite an experience – the event was held in the Shangri-la Hotel on the 35th floor which has its own elevator to whisk you up so fast that the digital display of the floor numbers can’t keep up! Fortunately it was an internal lift or I may have had a lot of stairs to climb as I’m not too keen on heights.
There seem to be nearly as many staff as guests and you are greeted at the elevator and escorted to your destination – with a quick stop to take some photos of the incredible views of the river, Tower Bridge, the Tower of London and across London.
A champagne reception started the evening followed by an opportunity to look at Lorraine’s edit of the Autumn/Winter collection.
I was quite pleasantly surprised at the variety which included some trendier pieces –
pu front leggings and skirt, various biker jackets, a lace bodice jumpsuit and a floral sweatshirt plus some rather nice oversized jumpers which would look good with skinny jeans.
A wide selection of dresses are in Lorraine’s edit with jersey, lace, and floral classic styles for day and evening plus a
glittering range of evening dresses that I called ‘Christmas at Downton’ featuring lots of beautiful beading and fringes (most without any sleeves unfortunately!).
Several of the items that I saw will not be available on-line until later in the year including my favourite coat so I will have to rely on my own photo – please excuse the poor quality! I love this long biker jacket style coat with leather sleeves – I just wish it was available in a colour other than black!
The prices were mid-range with dresses starting at about £50 and coats at £70.
The star of the evening
The star of the evening, Lorraine, looked lovely in one of the jersey dresses from her pick of this collection. It must be true about TV adding 10lbs as she looked a lot smaller than she does on TV and is very pretty.
We were seated at a huge table for about 30 people (with the most beautiful flower display that ran the whole length of the table) for a 4 course dinner and I was lucky enough to be right opposite Lorraine and the designer Mark Heyes who often appears on her show.
Angela Spindler, the Managing Director of N Brown, (the parent company of JD Williams) gave a brief speech explaining that Lorraine was chosen as their brand ambassador as she was the overwhelming winner when they asked their huge customer base whose style they loved.
After a short video showing behind the scenes of the photo shoot, Lorraine gave a lively talk explaining how excited she is to have the opportunity to design her own range for the Spring/Summer next year. She spoke very eloquently about her love of clothes and fashion and how she and many of her viewers found it frustrating trying to find fashionable clothes to fit their changed body shape and cover the bits so many of us don’t want to show like upper arms and knees!
After dinner I had a chat with Lorraine during which Strictly was mentioned (no, she doesn’t want to take part!) and Zumba classes which she has just started and I have to say she was lovely – down to earth with no airs and graces and easy to talk to.
Overall I thought it was a good collection although I would have liked to see more bright colours for AW14 – especially in the coats.
For example the trench coat is only available in beige and black – how much more exciting in a bright red or pink! There wasn’t an opportunity to try anything on and for me, the proof of this new range will be in the fit of the clothes and I can’t wait to see if they live up to their claims of designing cuts taking account of the most common changes in shape among Fab after Fifty women.
We have to wait until SS15 to see the first collection actually designed by Lorraine for SS15 – knowing her love for bright colours, I have high hopes!
I couldn’t resist taking this photo before I left – a beautiful view to end a lovely evening.