Autumn Days are Here Again
It’s been a long and lovely summer in London, and our busiest for years. I’m inexcusably late
with news, due to having my head down and enjoying creating beautiful pieces. There have
been a lot of bright colours this summer, which bring joy to the workroom, and inevitably,
A brief break was my teaching week at West Dean College which was a great success,
with a lovely, talented and hard-working group of students, who created fabulous jackets, and as always, it was a perfect escape from my studio, to the surrounding gardens and
We are having a sample sale this coming weekend, Saturday 12th and Sunday 13th October.
Inspired by Bridget, a lovely local lady for whom we made a stunning party dress this
summer. She worked in the fashion industry, and absolutely loves clothes! Bridget couldn’t
believe how many sample garments I have tucked away on garment rails – which should be
out and having fun with new wearers. Many thanks to Bridget for providing the incentive
and generous offer of her time to help and advise the bargain hunters choose their perfect
outfit, wedding dress, or accessories. 10am – 6pm, at 283 New Kings Road, SW6.
My tailor has just returned from holiday, and my sumptuous new coatings have arrived from
Italy – so news of cosy new coats, and winter warmers will follow soon.
All best wishes,
Those who follow Instagram know that I said goodbye to Alfie in May. For many of you this
will be sad news, because Alfie was without doubt the star of my newsletters.
Having lost Jasper, my previous black cocker who some of you will remember, I wanted freedom. However, after nine months, I felt depressed without my little black man’s company, and I called Elaine Thomas, who used to trim Jasper. She’s a top cocker spaniel breeder, and like me, has an affinity for black show cocker dogs. I asked if she had any puppies for sale, and she had two dogs. Next question – the price – £600. I knew it was unaffordable………. Then my mind began scheming, and I made a pact with myself that night, that if I got an order in time, I would have a puppy. Was it a miracle, or a stroke of luck combined with fate, that the following day a lady called Angela, who had tried dresses a couple of weeks before, called to say she would like the dress!
I first named the little black ball of fluff Otis, thinking he’d be like a cool black singer, but he wasn’t. We tried Ollie, and other names that lasted a few days. During a final fitting with a bride and her
bridemaids, they decided this little charmer just had to be called Alfie! At the time Jude Law
was the charmer in the re-make of the classic film ‘Alfie’, and it just was him!
From a puppy in Pimlico, he loved running through the trains of silk and satin wedding
dresses in the showroom as much as through country hedgerows, and growing up
surrounded by beautiful fabrics meant that if there was an opportunity to lie on cashmere,
or a bridal train, he was on it! In later years, he could be found perfectly curled into the
curve of the sofa, and the post office had his personal address on their system.
I don’t know where he learned the art of charm, but I have received many messages from
brides, and clients going back 14 years, saying how they enjoyed having a cuddle with Alfie
during their fittings. I hadn’t appreciated the longevity and number of admirers he accrued
during this time.
Thanks to you, Alfie enjoyed meeting gorgeous women in his fashion career, and writing
words of wisdom for his newsletter posts. Clearly, he was destined for a career in fashion journalism, having read The Times from an early age!
Inevitably, we now have a vacancy for our ‘Thought of the Month’ slot, and I’d like to invite
clever dogs to submit their fashion / clothing / style quote, with a portrait, and we’d love to
publish their creations. Please send to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Our light French tweeds have remained popular this summer, and the classic white tweed
suit looked fabulous when worn by Francesca Cumani at Newmarket Races.
Off the shoulder dress and capelet, style Cornelia, of French tweed, with beaded edgings
looks super-stylish, especially when finished with Sarah Cant’s knockout hat.
Pale blue French tweed shift and jacket with fringed details, worn with Sarah Cant hat.
Here’s a classic, almost Dior-ish style dress, of Garigue silk wool, with full pleated skirt, and
roll collar. The little crop jacket of Linton Tweed adds texture and colour, and is perfectly
proportioned to show the waist detail on the dress.
Striking multi-colour printed silk dress, worn with rich copper silk coat, which has a fabulous
pleated back. Beaded belt slips over the dress for evening!
Other colourful silks made beautiful dresses, and jackets, with draping, applique and button
“I approached Allison a couple of months after my engagement, as I had walked past her shop on a
daily basis and how could you do anything but stop and admire the outfits in the window? I don’t
see myself as much of a bride-zilla, nor did I have a clear vision or even fantasy of what my wedding
dress would look like. In other words, I was very much in Allison’s hands which I think has its
benefits but also challenges for a designer! I had done some googling, and she had one fabric sample
that really caught my eye and I couldn’t think of anything else after that. This fabric had lots on
flowers appliqued onto it and I knew this was the look I wanted. Since that it was a very creative
process where Allison has paved the way and I couldn’t be more pleased with the outcome. Thank
The wedding ceremony was at the town hall which is called Oslo Raadhus and then we took a sailboat out to the venue called Chitra House.
Lotte popped into the shop one Saturday, to discuss ideas for her wedding dress. She and
Roberto were being married in Norway on mid summer’s day, and Lotte’s description of the
venue left me with a vision blue skies and views across the water. Lotte is a beautiful
blonde Scandinavian bombshell, and we agreed that her dress should be modest in style,
but as light and white as could be.
My embroiderers had made a new swatch using tiny laser cut flowers, each attached with a
bead. Because of the scale of coverage required for Lotte’s traditional dress with train,
my beaders suggested combining different flower sizes and shapes within the composition,
and for maintaining modesty and understatedness, we removed any blingy beads or sequins.
I wanted Lotte’s dress to be as light and translucent as possible. The inner corset bodice
with bust cups and underwires, was made from nude body mesh, lightly boned for support.
Over this was draped English cotton tulle, darted to fit, and with the beaded laser cut
flowers in degrade from the waist up.
The skirt is a traditional wedding dress silhouette. However, with the flower embroidery
worked in degrade down from the waist, and upwards from the hem, on English cotton
tulle, the look is contemporary, in the lightest, most translucent possible way.
I have to thank Lotte for inspiring such a beautiful new design, and my beaders for bringing
the embroidery to fruition. I must also thank Lotte for introducing me to the designer of her
beautiful tiara, Hermione Harbutt. Here’s a close up of her tiara, made from real
pearls, which we have in stock, along with a selection of beautiful bridal headdresses from
I call you Dog
When God made the earth and sky, flowers and the trees,
He then made all the animals, the birds and the bees.
When His work was finished, not one was quite the same.
He said, “I’ll walk this earth of mine and give you all a name.”
And so He travelled land and sea, and everywhere He went,
A little creature followed him until its strength was spent.
When all were named upon the earth and in the sky and sea,
The little creature said, “Dear Lord, there’s not one left for me.”
The Father smiled and softly said, “I’ve left you ‘til the end,
I’ll turn my own name back to front, and call you ‘dog,’ my friend.”
– Author Unknown