Gina Fratini Rip

Jan Leeming

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Jan's Blog

Computers and the internet are amazing things. One of my concerns with putting together this site was that it could remain current, yet with all my travelling I've often much to say, but little time to say it. Years ago when reading the news it would take me days on end to reply to the kind letters people sent. Now, with the magic of the modern age, I can keep you up to date with what I'm doing and other events in my life.


Date: 17th June 2017


In the 70’s I worked for HTV in Bristol and had my own programme called ‘Women Only’ (not sure that would be allowed now in our politically correct world) although we did have male interviewers working with us. We entertained some fascinating guests on the programme and one of them was Gina Fratini the Fashion Designer. Her creations were pure Romance - she made the wedding dress for Princess Anne, dressed many famous people including Liz Taylor and Joan Collins and refused to work in anything other than pure fabrics her particular love being silk for its flowing quality.

I was already buying Gina designs when the budget allowed (my budget - I’ve always had to buy my own wardrobe- again different from today) and then I came to interview her and still have the programme which I transferred from tape to DVD. The producer allowed us to devote the whole programme to Silk looking at aspects of this fine material from the Silk Road, through the silkworm to Gina’s lovely creations. With absolutely no prompting, Gina invited me to buy from her at wholesale prices so I was able to indulge my love for her clothes particularly evening wear. During my newsreading years for the BBC I was invited to all manner of delightful functions which required evening dress. I wish I’d been able to keep all the Gina’s I bought over the years but I still have a few which I can still get into- just about!

One which I’ve never been able to let go was a gorgeously romantic and floaty design in graded silk. Mine was pink and I know that Anita Harris had the same design in Blue because she wore it on Television and then much later I learned that Liz Taylor married Richard Burton for the second time on a beach wearing the Gina in a green hue.

For many years Gina was a lovely acquaintance and then she shut her salon and we were reduced to Christmas cards. She left the UK to go and live with an old love, Tony Newley and we lost touch. I’ve often thought about her - she was as lovely in nature as were her designs. She had the sweetest of smiles, almost beatific and the loveliest voice.

I wish we’d not lost touch but that is the way of the world. A close friend of hers was kind enough to email me with the sad news that she had died. So R.I.P. lovely Gina and, if there is a heaven, hopefully you will meet up with your loved ones.

The same friend sent me a link to a short video they made for Gina. In it I saw several of the designs I had the delight and honour to purchase and wear. Here’s the link

And this is the dress.  Sadly, in the old days people smoked and unforgivably 'on the dance floor' so the lovely floating sleeves got burns and had to be shortened but it is still a gorgeous outfit.This photo was taken in 2011 by professional photographer - Alan Ollie - not only a super photographer but great to work with.


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