Feel Good

My Perfect Christmas: Kate Fearnley

HLN caught up with Middlesbrough’s award-winning bridal and occasion-wear designer to find out about her Christmas plans…

Written by High Life North
Published 22.12.2020

By Claire Muffett-Reece

Is your Christmas going to be radically different this year because of COVID?

Our plans won’t really be affected, thank goodness. It will be an early wake-up call from my very excitable five-year-old, Bob, followed by a lovely family day eating and drinking huge amounts! We’re going to spend the day at my sister’s with her family, plus my mum and dad. Of course, the social aspect of Christmas will be very different this year. That lovely feeling when friends return home for Christmas and we all meet up is, unfortunately, not to be. 

What was one of the most special Christmas presents you remember getting as a child? 

I remember getting a red double-tape ghetto blaster that I just thought was amazing! There are lots of happy, treasured memories of my grandparents and generally having the house full of cheery people, too. Nowadays, our own family traditions tend to revolve around eating, drinking and watching Trading Places!

You started the year on cloud nine, having scooped the National Bridal Designer of the Year accolade at the Wedding Industry Awards. Fast-forward two months and we were forced into the first lockdown. How has COVID impacted your work?

This year has really been a rollercoaster. Winning the national award felt like this was really going to be my year… I had no idea what was coming, as nobody really did! We were excited to be showing at the White Gallery designer show in London, where we were to launch our first bridal collection to boutiques across the globe. Unfortunately, COVID-19 got well and truly in the way and the show was cancelled. Luckily, we’ve been fortunate that the boutiques that were interested in viewing the collection agreed for me to take it to them. I’m still feeling positive about it all – and I’m looking forward to getting a reaction from all the brides that are about to finally see it!

What about all the proms that got cancelled?

Thankfully, a lot of the prom girls went ahead with a small celebration or prom photo shoot, which meant we got to finish the dresses for a lot of them. We had a few brides that went ahead with their weddings, too. Even though it wasn’t as they’d planned, they all said how special and intimate the day was. 

What are set to be 2021’s bridal trends? 

There will be a trend for less formal dresses and adaptable pieces that you can wear at a registry office – adding, say, a glamorous skirt for the party at a later date. Our new collection has a nod to this trend with some new, separate pieces. We are introducing more colour, some fashion-led pieces and some subtle sparkle.

You’ve dressed celebs including Girls Aloud and Michelle Keegan – which famous woman would you most like to give a Christmas makeover to and why?

I don’t think she needs a makeover, but I would love to dress Jodie Comer!

Let’s imagine COVID never happened. Where do you go in the North East for a festive night out or a shopping trip?

We normally to go to Muse or Cena in Yarm for Christmas drinks and dinner – it’s fabulous there! As for a spending spree, you can’t beat travelling to Liberty in the heart of London. I also love a trip to York for the day, pub-crawling and enjoying the Christmas markets.

Who does the cooking when it comes to Christmas dinner? 

I do not get asked to cook a single thing on Christmas Day – and that’s perfectly fine by me! I’m much better at designing dresses than cooking or baking! I leave it in the very capable hands of my lovely mum and sister, who create a feast. We sit down to turkey with every vegetable known to man, as well as pigs in blankets, Champagne, wine, cheese, port, Toblerone and every sweet and nut in the world!

How does Christmas Day typically unfold in the Fearnley household?

Bob will wake me up at about 6am, excitably rip everything open by 6.15am and then create chaos with all the presents he gets from Father Christmas while I’m trying to give him his breakfast. I’ll give up and just feed him chocolate – and that tends to be the theme for the rest of the day! I drag him away from all of his new things kicking and screaming, only managing to get him into the car with bribery of more gifts at Auntie Alice’s, and that’s where we spend our Christmas Day and night. We eat at around 1pm, then open our presents before drinking, eating more, listening to music and playing games. We somehow manage to eat even more party food for tea and drink until we collapse in a heap!

Finally, let’s fast-forward to December 2021 – how are you hoping to spend Christmas next year once we have (fingers crossed) put COVID well and truly behind us?

Next year all social gatherings with friends will be a much bigger deal, with more parties and gatherings than ever! Fingers crossed for a better 2021!

To find out more about Kate’s award-winning bridal and occasion-wear designs, visit her website.

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