Special Collections designed by Angy Morton
Romantique Couture
Romantique Couture - Bespoke Fashions in Cumbria
Angy's Fashion Blog
Latest Press Releases about Romantique Couture
Romantique Couture - fashions designed exclusively to fit you
Romatique Couture - what our customers say about us
Romantique Couture - unique fashions from the Lake District
Romantiqu Couture - fashion designer and dressmaker
Romantique Couture - Made in Cumbria

Romantique Couture
CA13 0RA

T: 01900 824329
M: 07812 210880

Email: angy@

Angy's Blog RedDress:BlackDress - Fashion Shoot at Haig Colliery

Natasha Lawrence modelling 'Ladysmth'. Photograph: Mike Morton

"A glamourous fashion shoot took place at Whitehaven's Haig Mining Museum this week to highlight the town's industrial heritage. Cumbrian designer Angy Morton used the stark, rough surroundings of the former mine as a backdrop for four intricately designed dresses named in memory of Florence Mine in Egremont, Wellington and Ladysmith pits in Whitehaven and Montreal pit at Cleator Moor. Angy used the concept or iron ore and coal, the red and black of Cumbria, as the basis for a new collection of hand-made dresses." Fashion Industry: In vogue at Haig - The Whitehaven News 25 August, 2011

See PRESS PAGE and below for full details

atasha with 'Wellington 1910' and Michelle modelling 'Montreal No.4': Photograph: Mike McKenzie

23 August, 2011: RED DRESS - BLACK DRESS FASHION SHOOT AT HAIG COLLIERY (Extract from Angy's Blog)

After two weeks of postponing the date for various reasons, we finally pulled off the Red Dress: Black Dress fashion photo shoot. The biggest problem is probably pulling together people over a distance - the venue was West Cumbria, the models were from Carlisle, and of course I had to travel up from the far south of the county. Even the the scheduled start time of 9am became 10am due to train timetables. In the end we couldn't have been luckier with the day - our first choice of dates would have been a washout, while yesterday was one of the nicest days of the summer, sandwiched between days of grey skies and rain. Perhaps my luck is finally turning?

In the end Border TV couldn't send a crew, so despite having to work within a window set by train times There was no pressure, A quick coffee, a chat with the models and on with Michelle's make-up. I was more bothered about getting the make-up right, than adding a couple of final details to my new design - Ladysmith ... there was time, wasn't there? But life is never that simple, is it? Moments later Mike was asking when the first girl would be ready - the press had turned up! It was Mike McKenzie from the Whitehaven News who is putting together a feature about the plans for the new visitors centre at the Haig Pit. He already knew what he wanted as the page has been planned out, so there was time while he nosed around for suitable locations with the other photographers, Brain Sherwen and Wayne Preston. So in the end they took over and I took a sort of back seat, doing hair and make-up, finishing a dress and checking from time to time that all was going to plan.

With such good photographers and models, an amazing location, and my wacky designs you just couldn't go wrong! Haig Colliery Mining Museum is such a wonderful location for a gritty fashion shoot - the roughness of industry, the coldness of Iron, and the hardships of coal mining all in one place. Everywhere you turn there is a potential photograph. We used the engine rooms in the winding house for most of the shots, but also staged a few outside with the winding gear. There was so much potential that in the end we ran out of time. We had planned to take a few down on the beach among the ruins of the old Saltom Pit - another time perhaps!

Michelle Serrechia modelling 'Florence No.2':
Photographs: Mike McKenzie


September, 2011:
Lancashire Life - Angy's clothes are just ORE-SOME (feature)
25 August, 2011: Whitehaven News - Fashion Industry: in vogue at Haig (front page)
25 August, 2011:
News & Star - Fashion Shoot held at Cumbrian Mining Museum
16 June, 2011:
News & Star - Whitehaven sets the stage for festival Madness
16 June, 2011: Whitehaven News - Stage set for biggest weekend in Copeland's year
16 May, 2011:
BBC Radio Cumbria - R1BW Lady Gaga - Ian Timms Breakfast Show
29 April, 2011:
BBC Radio Cumbria - Royal Wedding commentry - Kevin Fernihough
29 April, 2011: Guardian.co.uk - Live Blog - Really Common Royal Wedding
28 April, 2011: Whitehaven News - I'll show you 'Normal', says local artist Angy
20 April, 2011: North West Evening Mail - Designer offers royal alternative
19 April, 2011: News & Star - A wife less ordinary
14 April, 2011:
BBC Radio Cumbria - Kevin Fernihough - Lady Gaga fashions

However, any credit should go to Pamela Telford, the manager of the museum, who is an unsung hero. She may be quiet but she relentlessly fights like a tiger to preserve the heritage of Haig Pit, and the amazing tales and stories of coal mining in West Cumbria, against all odds and numerous setbacks. I think any normal person would have given up years ago, but not Pamela. The proposals to refurbish the museum and provide a visitors centre are fantastic - I sincerely hope that she is able to raise the funds as it would be a disaster if such an opportunity is lost. They have already lost the proposed railway that would have run along the cliff top, providing a link to the museum from the harbour. It was to have followed the path of the industrial line which connected the docks with Haig Pit and Ladysmith where the coal was 'washed'. Just imagine it - riding through flower-filled meadows with views over the cliffs and sea to St Bees Head, the Isle of Man and Scotland. And of course the Florence Iron Mine and hertage centre has also been lost - what a terrible waste! I went down that mine a few years ago and it certainly opened my eyes. So, that is why I organised the shoot and created these couture dresses. I wanted to offer some support in the only way I know how, and perhaps when people see the photos they will take note and perhaps see everything in a different light ... a bit of glitz and glamour at the heart of our industrial heritage! Do if you haven't been to Haig Pit, get along there now, take a look at the plans and offer your support ... and just in case you are wondering how much it costs to get in ... Nothing! You can't get better value than that. But that is no excuse for not leaving a donation.

Natasha Lawrence modelling 'Wellington 1910': and
Michelle Serrechia modelling Montreal No.4' outside Haig Pit
Photograph: Brian Sherwen

Anyway, the day was a huge success, everybody worked hard and professionally, but also had a lot of fun. Check out the pictures here which are just a few preliminary shots taken by my hubby. Can't wait to see the professional images from Brian, Mike and Wayne. It is very difficult to pick out anybody in particular but I must so I was so impressed with both Michelle and Natasha, the models. I worked with them at Whitehaven Festival, and with Michelle also with the alternative Royal wedding shoot back in April. They are both local girls, they look fantastic, have great attitude and personality and work so well together. Even the photographers were impressed! It just shows, as I told a reporter today, you just don't realise what talent you have on your doorstep - never mond potential locations for such fantastoc shots. Anyway a huge, huge thank you to Michelle Serrechia and Natasha Lawrence, Brian Sherwen, Mike McKenzie and Wayne Preston, and of coursePamela Telford! I'll post more images in due course. In the meantime, check out next week's Whitehaven News, and if you are ever in West Cumbria make a detour up to the Haig Colliery Mining Museum.

SEE ALSO: www.haigpit.com
Includes links to Facebook

Michelle Serrechia modelling 'Florence No.2': Photographs: Brian Sherwen

Natasha Lawrence modelling 'Wellington 1910' and Michelle Serrechia modelling ;Montreal No.4'
Michelle Serrechia modelling 'Florence No.2': Photographs: Brian Sherwen


The dresses that were used in this fashion shoot are one-off couture designs made mainly from recycled fabrics such as jackets, skirts and even curtains. This part of my Red Dress:Black Collection is inspired by, and dedicated, to the industrial heritage of iron and coal in West Cumbria. As with many of my designs, the dresses are characters which all tell a story:

Montreal No.4 at Cleator Moor became famous when both iron ore and coal were brought up the same shaft. The town was honeycombed by iron ore mine workings close to the surface. It is said that miners working in some of the tunnels could hear the Montreal School clock striking the hour.

From one shaft at Cleator Moor
They mined for coal and iron ore.
This harvest below ground could show
Black and red currants on one tree.

In furnaces they burnt the coal,
The ore was smelted into steel,
And railway lines from end to end
Corseted the bulging land.

Pylons sprouted on the fells,
Stakes were driven in like nails,
And the ploughed fields of Devonshire
Were sliced with the steel of Cleator Moor.

The land waxed fat and greedy too.
It would not share the fruits it grew,
And coal and ore, as sloe and plum,
Lay black and red for jamming time.

The pylons rusted on the fells,
The gutters leaked beside the walls,
And women searched the ebb-tide tracks
For knobs of coal or broken sticks.

But now the pits are wick with men,
Digging like dogs dig for a bone:
For food and life we dig the earth -
In Cleator Moor they dig for death.

Every wagon of cold steel
Is fire to drive a turbine wheel;
Every knuckle of soft ore
A bullet in a soldier's ear.

The miner at the rockface stands,
With his segged and bleeding hands
Heaps on his head the fiery coal,
And feels the iron in his soul.

Norman Nicholson
(about Montreal No.4 Pit, Cleator Moor)

Michelle Serrechia modelling 'Montreal No.4':
Photographs: Mike McKenzie

Natasha Lawrence modelling 'Wellington 1910'
Photograph: Brian Sherwen

Wellington 1910 commemorates the worst disaster in the West Cumberland coal field. Like some of the other Whitehaven mines, the workings extended far out beneath the Irish Sea. The Wellington Pit was well known for its methane or firedamp. In 1910 an explosion and fire resulted in 136 deaths. The forget-me-nots are a tribute to the 1700 men, women and children that lost their lives winning coal in the Whitehaven area.

Florence No.2
is named after the Florence No.2 in Egremont, which was Europe's last working iron ore mine, producing very high grade ore. The mine and herirtage centre recently closed. A sad loss. This one was inspired by a journey down into the mine a few years ago.

was another colliery located on the clifftop above Whitehaven. After closure of the mine, coal from Haig was transported up to Ladysmith by an industrial railway where the coal was cleaned of stone and rock at the washery. The rails, the coal dust and the washing of the coal are represented on this dress.

I also have designs for two further themed dresses, Wyndham No.3 (Red) named after one of the most important of the Egremont ore mines, and Haig Pit (Black) itself, which was the last working coal mine in Cumbria and had tunnels that stretched four miles out under the Irish Sea!

BLACK:Four men entered with breathing apparatus. They had travelled about 190 yards when their canary fell from its perch, which they then left at the roadside. Further on, their safety lamps went out which were also left at the roadside. They then continued over many falls until the heat was 85 degrees Fahrenheit and they could no longer see their electric lamps for the smoke. (Wellngton Pit 1910 was West Cumberland's worst pit disaster - 136 men lost their lives)

Natasha Lawrence modelling 'Wellington 1910'; Photographs: 1/3 - Brian Sherwen; 2 - Mike McKenzie


Michelle Serrechia modelling 'Florence No.2': Photographs: Mike McKenzie

Michelle Serrechia modelling 'Florence No.2':and Natasha Lawrence modelling 'Wellington 1910'; Photographs: Mike McKenzie

Natasha Lawrence modelling 'Ladysmith'; Photographs: Mike Morton

Pamela Telford, manager of Haig Colliery Mining Museum, says, "This is a fabulous way to celebrate the industrial heritage of the area. Angy has captured in such a unique way the essence and influence of mining through her creativity."

"An estimated 1,700 men, women and children lost their lives winning coal in the Whitehaven area, plus up to one in ten iron ore miners. These people should never be forgotten.

"We have already lost the Florence Mine Heritage Centre so it is more important than ever we support the project for a Colourful Coast Visitors Centre at Haig Colliery Mining Museum as a lasting memory."

Haig Colliery Mining Museum will be represented on the harbour side and will also have the plans for the new visitor centre on display for any comments and questions. Haig Museum will also be open all of festival weekend, with the winding engine running for visitors. Entry is free.

'RedDress:BlackDress will be a spectacular finale to three catwalk shows which will also showcase Angy's Pyromania and infamous Stolen Dreams, fusion of fashion and football collections.

Angy also draws attention to the high degree of talent and creativity in Cumbria, by using local models, hair and make-up artists and photographers for her 'Catwalk on Eater' shows.


Date: Sunday, 19 June, 2011
Venue: Bulwark Quay, Whitehaven Harbour
Show times: 12:00 (Pyromania); 13:30 (Stolen Dreams); 15:30 ('RedDress:BlackDress)


Fashion designer Angy Morton will dedicate her spectacular 'RedDress:BlackDress' collection to West Cumbria's mining heritage as part of her 'Catwalk on Water' at Whitehaven Festival on Sunday.

Angy, best known for her avant garde creations, has used the concept of iron ore and coal, the red and black of Cumbria, as a basis for this unusual, new collection of hand-made-to-measure dresses.

She has also drawn inspiration from specific aspects such as the 1910 Wellington Pit Disaster and the famous Montreal No.4 pit to create a selection of one-off couture designs from recycled fabrics.

"Industrial heritage isn't regarded as a 'sexy' topic so I hope that, through fashion, I can engage with younger people to raise awareness of how much we owe to its legacy in this region," says Angy.

Natasha Lawrence modelling 'Ladysmith';
Photograph: Mike Morton


Michelle Serrechia modelling ;Montreal No.4' and Natasha Lawrence modelling 'Wellington 1910': Photographs: Mike Morton

Finally, I would like to say a big thank you to the following who all made this fabulous fashion shoot possible:

  • Michelle Serrechia and Natasha Lawrence - my fantastic models
  • Photograpers Brian Sherwenm Mike McKenzie and Wayne Preston
  • Pamela Telford, manager of the Haig Colliery Mining Museum

Natasha Lawrence modelling 'Ladysmith';
Photograph: Mike Morton


"Band on the Run!: Michelle Serrechia modelling 'Montreal No.4'
and Natasha Lawrence modelling 'Wellington 1910'
Photograph: Mike McKenzie

Haig Pit at Whitehaven was the last of the Cumberland coal mines. It opened in 1917 and finally closed in 1986. In 1959 it had employed 1800 men and produced over 400,000 tons of coal. The main shaft stretched some 4 miles out under the Irish Sea. The coal from Haig was first transported by rail toLadysmith, to be 'washed' of stone and impurities, then back along the cliffs the Howgill incline to Whitehaven harbour. The winding house and engines remain as the current museum.

Natasha Lawrence modelling 'Wellington 1910': and Michelle Serrechia modelling Montreal No.4' outside Haig Pit
Photographs: Mike McKenzie (L) & Brian Sherwen (R)

Photograph: Brian Sherwen

Natasha Lawrence modelling 'Wellington 1910'
and Michelle Serrechia modelling Montreal No.4' outside Haig Pit
Photographs: Brian Sherwen

Alternative Royal Wedding Fashion Shoot

CLICK HERE for 'ORDINARY GIRL' Fashion Shoot - my 'Alternative' Royal Wedding!

We are on
Angy's Blog is written by Angela Morton, Fashion Designer & Dressmaker
Photographs copyright of Mike and Angy Morton

Copyright Romantique Couture 2011