Fashion generation - Gwen Oakden and Julia Edwards
PUBLISHED: 00:00 20 June 2014
Artistic Julia Edwards of Dodleston was once an embarrassment, says her daughter, Gwen, but now mum’s style is much admired
Gwen Oakden, Manchester
I was always so embarrassed by mum when I was little! When the other mums would pick their kids up from school in lovely M&S beige twin sets, my mum would turn up with bright red hair and a really hippyish skirt on! It wasn’t until my late teens that I realised how lucky I was to have such a fabulous mum who was un-afraid to stand out in the crowds.
We’re a massively arty family and mum has always loved bright colours and theatrical outfits. My earliest memories of ‘dressing up’ were all around mum’s collection of fabulous Carol Lee dresses- they looked like they belonged on the set of A Midsummer Night’s Dream: beautiful and made with such love and attention, but always mystical and magical.
My job means I work in glamorous surroundings. Manchester Art Gallery, The Gallery of Costume at Platt Hall and Whitworth Art Gallery are all amazing buildings full of incredible things. My job is to look after our lovely supporters and so we’re often hosting events which (of course) calls for a new outfit each time! It’s really fun.
There have been some cringe fashion moments in my past! Shoes are definitely one. My sister and I rocked some floral dungarees in our teens and my oldest friend Michelle and I were very into blue lipstick at one point…!
But I’m getting more adventurous in the way I dress as I get older. I’ve just bought some bright blue shoes to go with my rather untraditional wedding dress and I reckon I’ll be picking up my own kids in hippyish skirts before I know it!
Julia Edwards, Dodleston
Gwen has always dressed well and looked great -but I do remember one low point when she was about 12. We were on holiday in Le Touquet and she saw some shoes that she just HAD TO HAVE- bright orange platform sandals - and she wore those shoes constantly for the whole summer! When we moved from Bunbury to Dodleston a few years ago, I found the shoes but I was not allowed to take them to the charity shop. Gwen now has them - maybe they will be fashionable again? I broke my ankle falling off some blue platforms in the 70s so everything does come around...
I grew up on Islay in the Inner Hebrides and then moved to Penzance so I would describe my style as vintage modern hippy with a surfing twist! We own an apartment on the beach in Costa de la Luz so I have acquired a Spanish influence over the years.
I have worked in the theatre all my life, was privileged to have played a part in the Chester Gateway Theatre, now sadly gone, and I am now Marketing Manager at The Hammond in Chester. I now have to adopt a business image when dressing for work, but I am lucky to be surrounded by so much energy and talent which creates an amazing atmosphere of performance.
Gwen is getting married very soon and it’s going to be a fabulous day that will incorporate her style but with elegant and quirky twists. I didn’t want the usual ‘Mother of the Bride’ outfit so I took a gamble and had a dress made by a lady in South Carolina. It is a copy of the one worn by Ann Miller in the 1949 film On The Town and I just thought it looked lovely!