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Llewelyn-Bowen unveils his illuminating creations

GLAMOUR, sophistication, elegance and a good helping of sex appeal. Not to mention a bare breast or two, tastefully tipped, high above Blackpool Prom.

That's right, the secret's out now that Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen has finally taken the wraps off his latest creation - Decodance.

Blackpool set for the big switch on

See our exclusive Illuminations guide

No dwarves or toadstools on the seafront. Not even a glimpse of that "Changing Rooms" staple MDF.

Lights visitors will get an eyeful of six burlesque beauties, including Vulcine with a fan in each hand, feathers in her hair and that cheeky glimpse of flesh.

Vibrant

Foppish TV star Laurence admitted: "Yes, there's an exposed breast as part of my Illuminations, so we'll see if that raises a few eyebrows!"

Laurence admits he fell in love with what he calls "Blackpool's high-kicking glamour and historical reputation for giddy glitz" while filming for BBC One's Holiday programme.

Now the interior design guru, whose BBC debut came with the first episode of Changing Rooms in 1996, has ensured that the resort's famous lights have even more sparkle this year.

His vibrant personality struck a chord with viewers, which helped the series attract a loyal audience.

And Blackpool tourism bosses are confident that his involvement with the Lights will create extra media interest, encouraging more visitors.

Children in Blackpool will benefit too, as Laurence donated his 3,000 fee to the NSPCC.

It will specifically help the Acorn Centre in the town which offers a therapeutic service for vulnerable children.

Tonight, before the big switch-on, BBC1's The One Show makes its second visit of the week to Blackpool, with priceless coverage of Laurence's own Lights launch.

Decodance takes pride of place on Central Promenade outside Blackpool Tower for its first season in the spotlight, alongside a new Dr Who section, where the Doctor and assistant Martha, as well as the faithful Tardis, are joined by a range of aliens including Daleks, Cybermen, Judoon, Scarecrows, Sycora and Slitheen.

Pride at seeing designs shining on the Prom

Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen admits he relished the chance to work on such an unusual project with the house team at the Illuminations' Rigby Road workshops.

He said: "It was about sharing the designs with the team. Obviously, it's not something I've ever done before and I was anxious that it should be a collaboration."

He added: "For me, as a designer, this is, I suppose, the ultimate in seeing my name, or at least my design, up in lights.

"The project that I've come up with is about connecting with the elegance, glamour and really eye-catching spirit of the Illuminations from the 1920s and 30s, but marrying it with the Blackpool of the 21st century.

"Blackpool today is elegant, quite cheeky and very sexy. It's such an iconic thing and what I definitely wanted to do was something very elegant which calls to mind the history and traditions of Blackpool.

"The vision of Blackpool is of a rowdy pleasure dome, but there is some incredibly fine art deco architecture and an amazing tradition of stained and painted glass.

"I have always found there is a tremendous amount of sophistication in Blackpool and visitors are beginning to appreciate that.

"I desperately wanted to do something that focuses on that kind of tradition, but also that looks to Blackpool's increasingly sophisticated future. So there are no dwarves, or Snow White, or toadstools – it is definitely quite grown-up. Blackpool deserves that."

Blackpool set for the big switch on

See our exclusive Illuminations guide

- Running in conjunction with the Illuminations is an exhibition of Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen's work focusing on the six Decodance designs he created as the inspiration for his stunning section of this year's Illuminations.

The in-depth exhibition, which opens tomorrow, has been chosen to demonstrate Laurence's considerable talents - including the richly coloured, "burlesque-like Decodance" designs.

Thirty two pieces will be on show for two months at the Solaris Centre on Blackpool's South Promenade.

 
 
 

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