Thursday, March 22, 2012

Ann Clwyd Fashionista

One normally associates Ann Clwyd with political issues – after all she has been a Labour MP for the Cynon Valley since the ‘80s. My usual mental image of her is one in which she is emerging from some imperilled pit or other accompanied by a group of burly miners. Invariably she is wearing a helmet and has a decorative dusting of anthracite on her cheek. Before embarking on a political career, however, she was a dedicated follower of fashion. In the mid-sixties she even opened her own boutique in Cardiff. This was no ordinary boutique as approximately 60% of its stock was either made in Wales or produced by Welsh designers. These purveyors of Welsh chic included Laura Ashley, Beryl James of Aberaeron, Pearl Jenkins from the Rhondda, Catrin Lloyd Rowlands from Trawsfynydd, and London-based dress designer Emrys Davies. Ann also hooked up with students at Newport and Cardiff art colleges as she sought out more modernist designs. Her clothing outlet was a conscious, patriotic attempt to promote Welsh couture in an era when London was the fashion epicentre of the known universe.

*In the above picture Ann is modelling a crochet jumper by Catrin Lloyd Rowlands. Other Welsh Labour MPs noted for their fashion sense were the dandified Leo Abse; and Aneurin Bevan who used to take a bit of stick for being a well turned-out Marxist.