The summer has slipped by, and I know that it’s been far too long a wait for the exciting news about my new shop!
Situated in the New Kings Road, Number 283 is almost next door to where I’ve been working since leaving Chelsea Green. The premises are undergoing a transformation, creating a lovely new workroom and storage area in the basement, and a beautiful boutique on the ground floor. This really is my dream come true……
We anticipate opening in December, and I will keep you updated with progress.
It’s been a really busy summer season, and we’ve made lots of stunning outfits and dresses, which I look forward to sharing with you, in due course. Escaping London for my weeks’ teaching at West Dean College at the end of August was especially nice. We enjoyed perfect sunny weather, making the most of the beautiful buildings, gardens and views – when not ensconced with our work! The subject: Design and Make an Unlined Coat, was approached with skill, professionalism, patience and humour by my fabulous, and most interesting students. Yet again, I am immensely proud of the lovely, individual coats they created.
Teaching brings me much satisfaction, and I’m planning the new shop and workroom, so that I can teach technical courses, and also offer classes by specialists in complimentary subjects, such as millinery and tiaras. Please contact me if you’d like information, with your area of interest.
Please don’t hesitate to get in touch if you have any queries about sale pieces, knitwear or accessories, and are unable to visit the showroom. Otherwise, I look forward to seeing you soon.
My trip to Paris for Premiere Vision really was extra-special. It’s always lovely to catch up with my fabric agents and suppliers, and see the new trends and colours. Many of the evening wear themes took me back to the 80’s, with lots of lurex, sparkle and shine, and textural jacquard fabrics. Having been there and lived it once, I don’t want to go back! Thankfully, I found some very elegant, and understated shiny fabrics, to be on trend, without being too flashy.
Inevitably, the handwoven Malhia tweeds were totally irresistible, and here are a just a few of the more refined weaves from their eclectic collection.
Another trend, and one that I adore, is the soft, cosy and warm cashmeres and light wools, that are a dream to wear. My favourites are all British, woven in and around Huddersfield, the Borders, and Inverness.
I have been an admirer of Dior collections for as long as I can remember, from Christian to Galliano. A visit to Les Arts Decoratifs, for the Dior exhibition, ‘Designer of Dreams‘ was an absolute treat.
Here are a few of my favourite images from this fabulous collection of clothing, accessories – and everything Dior. It was wonderful to be so close to pieces that I’ve admired only in print. Many are as wearable today, as when they were first created.
The latest designs by Maria Grazia Chiuri are perfect for the Dior label – exquisite, light, feminine, and with incredible detail and skill. The flowers used for these designs are made from silk, then pressed, as though pressing real flowers, before being encased in tulle.
It was wonderful to see these dreams in reality, and I highly recommend a visit.
My Grand Sale
I dream that my new shop will be beautiful, neat, understated and minimal……..To bring this dream to reality, my sample pieces, knitwear, accessories and jewellery have to go – and make way for my brand new Spring ’18 collections.Here are a selection from each collection:
Warm & Co classic scarf in brown sugar. Was £99, SALE £75.
Ivory fox collar. Was £430, SALE £350.
Golden natural sable snood. Made in Russia. Was £830, SALE £750.
Fox hat in raspberry. Was £295.00, SALE £245.
Toscana and Sheepskin mittens in various colours. £55.
Magaschoni burnout waterfall cardi in black. Was £340, SALE £290.
Magaschoni feather cashmere poncho in apple mouline. Was £175, SALE £145.
AL Alan scarf in white geranium. Was £65, SALE £40.
Warm & Co textured stripe scarf in brown sugar. Was £199, SALE £140.
AL Alpha Scarf in coral (50% Linen 50% modal). Was £65, SALE £40.
Beige wool satin shift with paisley beading. Was £1800, SALE £800.
Beige wool crepe tiered dress. Was £1,100, SALE £550.
Tiered lace dress and silk slip. Was £1400, SALE £700.
French lace shift in chocolate. Was £1300, SALE £650.
French lace shift in chocolate. Was £1300. SALE £650.
Red lace pencil skirt size 14 with red duchesse corset bodice size 14, and matching wrap.
Was £1900, SALE £900.
Black silk crepe flared evening dress. Was £1800, SALE £900.
Beaded silk dress in nude. Was £1400, SALE £700.
Gossamer lace dress and nude slip. Was £1300, SALE £500.
White French lace fishtail Wedding dress, which unzips to make a party short shift.
Was £3,500, SALE £1750.
Coats and Jackets:
Linton tweed in ivory 3/4 coat. Was £1,100, SALE £550.
Malhia tweed jacket. Was £1250, SALE £650.
Silk velvet beaded jacket in ivory. Was £1000, SALE £400.
Bobi Coat. Was £850, SALE £450.
Long classic coat in chocolate, with paisley print lining. Was £1200, SALE £500.
“I was inspired by a stunning wedding coat in embroidered organza that Allison had created for a bride last year. It was only a few months before my daughter’s wedding and I was on my third outfit!!! I needed this mother of the bride dress to be a very special one.
Lara, my daughter, and Benjamin both adore music, and their wedding was to be a celebration to song, with friends and relatives all contributing to a magical ceremony and wedding celebration, at the Benjamin Britten Festival Hall, Aldborough, Suffolk.
Benjamin also loves gardening, and his favourite flowers, delphiniums and sweet peas, were chosen to decorate the wedding venue. The colour scheme for the bridesmaids and the venue was green/blues and blue/greens.
Lara wanted me to coordinate with the colour scheme, and with Allison’s help I chose a gentle watery green silk organza, with aqua silk satin lining. We featured the flowers and reeds that grow all around the festival hall for the hand-stitched embroidery on the dress. The reeds made a perfect border at the hem of the bias cut, flowing skirt. Delphiniums burst through the reeds, and sweet peas swayed gently through to the bodice and sleeves.
It took several trips to Allison’s showroom to combine the thread colours, and create a fairylike embroidery and beading – but it was all worth it. The result was a magical dress which speaks for itself. It was gorgeous to wear, and fitted me beautifully. A head band made especially by Philippa Eyland, from matching embroidered wired flowers completed the look. Tatiana, Queen of the forest was on her way to the Ball…… ermm Wedding – feeling young, and confident. The photos speak for themselves. Brava Allison, and thank you for a dress I will always treasure.”
Cristina came to me with a fairly specific brief. Being an artist at heart, and having worked with colour trends in the fashion industry, she very easily conveyed her vision of the dress she wished for, set amongst the swaying Suffolk reed beds.
The design of the dress was quite simple, in aqua silk organza, over a complimentary silk crepe satin lining.
I gave Cristina homework, of finding embroidery threads to define the colour palette for the embroidery. Green to brown for the reeds, pink to mauve for sweet peas, and mauve to blue for the delphiniums.
We sent the threads and inspiration ideas to my embroiderers in India, and they produced a swatch, which we then refined, and refined.
Eventually, the colour graduations, and the embroidery design and placement on the pattern pieces were correct, and approved to proceed on the organza. Hours and hours of hand embroidery and stitchwork produced the finished pieces, like works of art.
Here, the skirt has been laid out symmetrically for cutting.
Cristina’s dress looked stunning on her daughter’s wedding day, and now deserves to be in an exhibition!
Alfie’s Thought of the Day
“I think of my work as ephemeral architecture, dedicated to the beauty of the female body.”