Westholme’s fashionistas are blown away by Henry!
Self effacing, charming, inspiring, witty and down to earth were just some of the words bandied around as the dust settled after Henry Holland’s visit to the Westholme Theatre. The evening was deemed a great success by parents, girls and friends of the school who occupied a full theatre to see Westholme’s own pupils don an eclectic mix of fashions designed by the delightful Henry. The first range we saw was the H! by Henry Holland range in Debenhams. A group of the models had put together ensembles picked from Debenhams in Preston and they very much reflected their own personal styles and personalities. Henry said, “The clothes put together in this way by the actual girls who wear them is brilliant to see. The complete look is fantastic!” As the 22 models, including his sister Alice, strutted their stuff across the stage and through the main body of the theatre, Lancashire Life snapped away to record the girls in their finery. They looked, without exception, completely amazing, with spectacular hair designed by Triangles and dramatic make-up courtesy of Blackburn College. The look was very modern and quite captivating.
Henry then took to the stage for a Q&A session led by three of our Sixth Formers who all wish to study fashion further, Leena Najia, Rachael Moodie and Harriet Jones. They probed him about all areas of his life from what he did to relax (“Sleep”!) to what inspired him (very much a family lad, he often spoke of his Mum, Stepmum and sisters to whom he is demonstrably close.) The answers tumbled from Henry’s mouth with warm frankness, and he was dry, amusing and definitely stimulating for our girls to hear. His message was simple – go for it, and you can do whatever you want to with drive and focus. Whilst playing down his considerable achievements in the notoriously inaccessible world of fashion, we were under no illusions that what he has achieved in the last five years has been hugely significant, with promise of more to come. The Sixth Formers navigated through the interview with great ease and then opened up the forum to the audience. 40 minutes later and questions were still flowing! We learned that Henry has no interest whatsoever in designing Kate Middleton’s dress (gosh I hope she isn’t browsing the Westholme website again!), that he would have no idea how to make paper jewellery (I think you had to be there for that one) and that he clearly loves his Uncle Brian (aaahh). We all had the sense that he was being honest, almost disarmingly so, and he brought the crowd with him.
All too soon it was time for the interval but the guests were not disappointed as they had time to browse the stalls in the foyer. These had been put up by local companies including Poshu, Browse and Precious to give a slice of fashion life to purchase and inspire. There was shopping and wine, nibbles and chat and the half hour break was soon over. For the second half, Sadie Thomas from the Sixth Form introduced the Red Herring range, again provided by Debenhams, and off the girls went again, looking equally sensational. Their timing was perfect and the appreciative audience gave them a warm clap and a cheer as they filed off for the last time. Henry then concluded the evening by drawing the raffle, with prizes ranging from gift vouchers to purses and hampers from the local businesses who had so kindly supported us with the stalls. This made a perfect ending to the night, and Mrs Croston echoed everyone’s thoughts when she said that Henry had really given us all something to look at, to consider, and to aspire to. She mentioned Margaret Thatcher, Lord Waddington and Jeremy Hunt who had all climbed up their career ladders at a pace after visiting Westholme and she predicted even greater things ahead for Mr Holland. And as we know, if Mrs Croston says it’s going to happen, you can bet your last dollar it will happen. Watch this space!
Henry then sped off into the night, hurrying back to London, casually mentioning that it was a lot closer than Australia and certainly much closer than Paris, where he had been the day before! A relaxed exterior masks a steely core of dedication and determination. Thank you Henry, for being a top class visitor to Westholme and brightening up a January Monday night in Blackburn no end! And what’s more, over £3,100 was raised by the event for the Westholme Music Centre appeal!
Please click here for the HENRY HOLLAND GALLERY