French chic adds some passion to fashion at Wrexham shopping centre

High-kicking dance skills honed on the Parisian cabaret stage added some French chic to a fashion event.

Thousands of people headed for Eagles Meadow, in Wrexham, for Fashion on the Move which saw the shopping centre being transformed into a giant catwalk for a series of shows.

Eight top professional models from across the UK  strutted their stuff as they showcased the very latest designer ranges.

Masterminding the high-energy dance routines used in their catwalk displays was star choreographer Elise French, a former principal dancer at the world-famous Paris Lido cabaret on the city’s Champs Elysee.

Apart from working out the steps for the team of models, 37-year-old Elise, from Bury near Manchester, also joined them in their fast-paced presentations which delighted onlookers at a sun-soaked Eagles Meadow.

She said: “In the late 1990s I spent three years as principal dancer at the Lido in Paris and enjoyed every minute of it.

“The cabaret there, which attracts audiences from all over the world, features girls wearing stunning and highly glamorous outfits who are all quite tall. I am 5ft 9ins, so I was just what they were looking for.

“It’s the kind of experience I gained with the Lido that I use when choreographing for shows such as Fashion on the Move in which the models move very fast and are always on the move.”

Fashion on the Move featured five stylish shows every hour from 11.30am until 3.30pm.

Among the stores taking part were Ragazzi, Animal, Trespass, Wallis, Marks & Spencer, Debenhams, River Island, Dorothy Perkins, H&M, Mococo, Topshop and Next, with Boots and Debenhams providing mini makeovers for ladies in the crowd inspired by the looks produced for the models.

The all-action show was once again put together by stylist and presenter Jill Pollitt, who has 30 years’ experience in the fashion industry and has regularly appeared on ITV’s flagship This Morning show.

Jill, how has also worked with fashion icon Vivienne Westwood, said: “The five shows we did featured the very best on offer at Eagles Meadow for the summer 2013 season.

“The big thing for the season will be monochrome colours for men and women’s wear. Stripes on clothing for both sexes will also be popular.

“Sixties fashion are back for the season, but with a new and modern interpretation, along with floaty dresses for the girls and the pencil skirt, which you don’t have to be pencil slim to wear.”

Jill, who also appeared as a judge on Britain’s Next Top Model, added: “I have now done a number of Fashion on the Move events at Eagles Meadow and myself and the models just love coming to Wrexham because it presents a marvellous staging area and the crowds are always so enthusiastic.

“Saturday was no exception and some of the young people who came to watch ended up joining in with the dancing. We were also very lucky with the weather.”

Part of the modelling team was 22-year-old Matthew Lightfoot from Leeds who last summer was seen by an audience of millions when he appeared on the Jonathan Ross Show as one of the dancers backing the South Korean singer Psy as he performed his mega-hit Gangnam Style.

Matthew, who kicked off an identical Gangnam routine in front of the Next store on Saturday, said: “I was lucky enough to get the job to do the routine on the Jonathan Ross Show, which I remember we did in just one take for the cameras.

“That was great but being part of Fashion on the Move is also fantastic. This is the third time I have appeared in it and I love it because the crowds are always so appreciative.”

One young lady was so inspired by watching the models’ performance that she was considering buying one of the outfits they were showing off for herself.

Eve Bolton, 12, from Wrexham who enjoyed the 1.30pm show with her mum Stacey, said: “I really liked the floaty dress and denim jacket being modelled and think I might buy something like it for a family engagement party I am going to in May. It was really good to see it being worn by someone because it gave me an idea of how I might look in it.”

Another young girl from Wrexham had good cause to remember Fashion on the Move when she won a Crack the Code competition run by Eagles Meadow to coincide with the event.

Seven-year-old Nia Ellis-Williams matched the barcode on an envelope she was handed while watching the action with one behind the till at the Mococo designer jewellery store and landed herself the glittering prize of a Pandora starter bracelet worth £100.

Her delighted mum Jane said: “We weren’t planning to come out today because Nia had a bit of a headache but we came along to Eagles Meadow so she could get some fresh air.

“It was great for her to win the prize because she is very fond of jewellery and has her own jewellery boxes at home, but the bracelet is now definitely the most expensive piece she has.”

Nia said: “The fashion show was very exciting and I think it is great I have won the bracelet because I have always wanted one like it.”

Eagles Meadow Manager Kevin Critchley said: “Definitely, it’s a great concept and shoppers really enjoyed the show. There was a real buzz about the place and the atmosphere was brilliant.

“There was a really positive vibe around the shopping centre and everyone had a great time.”

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