Hello Spring

Hello Spring

Dear All,

I’m quite astounded that it’s one year since my last “monthly” newsletter.  How could this happen? Where does the time fly to?

Several readers have expressed how much they miss Alfie’s words of wisdom, and ‘my’ beautiful brides with their inspirational wedding dress design stories.  Be assured, we are still alive, and working our little socks off creating beautiful clothes for amazing women!

Please find a couple of notes for your diary:

Luxuries of London Summer Fair

I’m taking part in this one day event on Wednesday 1st May, at Chelsea Town Hall, Kings Road, London SW3, alongside suppliers and makers of beautiful, luxurious products, and well-being packages. 

I will be selling sample garments (with big reductions), scarves and accessories, and also presenting a selection of new couture designs.

There’s something for everyone… with all day delicious food and drink served in the Pop Up Café.

The Evening Champagne Reception includes a complimentary glass of bubbles and nibbles, with live music entertainment from singer, George Ides. You will be indulged with some of London’s Luxury Independent Boutique brands, whilst the sounds of Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and the Rat Pack provide the mood for a relaxed and fabulous evening. 

Luxuries of London Summer Fair is raising funds for Ocean Health: 10% of stall sales, and 25% of ticket profits will be donated.

Pattern Cutting and Sewing a Lined Jacket, at West Dean College

If you have some experience, and would like to learn how to design and make a fitted jacket, there isn’t a nicer school than West Dean College for improving your sewing and tailoring skills.  Nestled in stunning countryside in the South Downs, it’s like learning in paradise.  My course runs between 18-23 August, and sells out, so don’t delay.

We will be back again very soon!

All best wishes,

Couture Designs, and Gorgeous Scarves

Here are a few images showing some of my favourite special occasion pieces we made during the last year.

From Left to Right: Cornelia capelet.
Cornelia beading, worked to pattern shapes, prior to preparation and application.
Cornelia off the shoulder dress.

Cornelia off the shoulder dress and capelet complemented with silver leather disc with floral trim, by Sarah Cant.

From Left to Right: Simple French tweed coat, with shaped back belt, and a hint of beading. French tweed jacket, with contrast trim.

From Left to Right: Paisley print dress.
Georgie dress detail.
Jane’s red dress.


From Left to Right: Dress neckline beading. Crop jacket back with vintage silver buttons.

Whilst in Goa for holiday over Christmas and New year, I remembered scarf designer Akal, whose scarves I used to buy many moons ago. I couldn’t resist her new collection, and neither can my clients! Perfect wraps for special summer days and evenings.

Ombre and contrast border shawls.

Print on paper wool shawls.

Towel embroidery, print, and lace-trimmed pashminas.

Swarovski, leather fringes, and towel embroidery.

Jacquard Leaves Shawl, and millinery by Philippa Eyland.

Sequins Pashmina and millinery by Sarah Cant and Philippa Eyland.

Designer of Dreams… Dior at the V&A

I was lucky to see the exhibition in Paris two years ago, and attended the London exhibition with slight apprehension, expecting less of a spectacle. Paris was definitely more grand, but London showed different designs, and I think, were more suited to a London audience.  The preceding talk gave some useful background information, and it was interesting to hear that garments have to be rested between exhibitions, to relieve them of the lighting conditions. Considering this fact, it was lovely to note quite a few of the same beautiful pieces on display in London as well as Paris.

Christian Dior felt comfortable in England. He designed for Princess Margaret, and many others were attracted by his luxurious fashion shows held in grand country houses such as Blenheim Palace.

“I adore the English, dressed not only in the tweeds which suit them so well, but also in those flowing dresses, in subtle colours, which they have worn inimitably since the days of Gainsborough.”

Way ahead of his time, Dior set up licensing agreements with clothing producers in the UK, who made off the peg Dior Designs, bringing a more affordable line to British women. Marc Bohan ran this successful side of the Dior business, and took over the reins of Dior Couture when Christian Dior died quite suddenly in 1957.

Here are a few of my favourite pieces, which I hope those who cannot make it to the exhibition in London will equally enjoy.

A dress so simply, utterly perfect

A perfect toile……….


A toile beautiful enough to wear as is.

Beautiful dress with the feminine touch, from Maria Grazia Chuiri’s first Dior collection.


Beautiful guipur dress by Yves St Laurent. NOTE – no seams…… all hand appliquéd.

Feather ’embroidery’

Inspired… Galliano. In London, I noticed the beautiful straps.

Makes a most stunning dress.

Stunning flower embroidery, and the 21st C belt.

More feminine flowers.

Bride of the Month – Daisy

“I asked Allison to make a wedding dress that felt classic yet contemporary, and was stunning in a traditional sense – but also sexy. It wasn’t the easiest brief but she fulfilled it perfectly! I felt absolutely wonderful in the dress, which suited the style of our wedding down to a tee. I couldn’t have asked for a better wedding dress. Thank you Allison xx “

Daisy was introduced to me by Jo, her Mother, who wanted her wedding dress experience to be really special. We discovered the design that worked quite quickly, as Daisy felt totally comfortable wearing Alexia, with it’s contemporary lace applique bodice on finest body mesh, and lightest silk skirt – perfect for the setting of Daisy’s wedding reception in the beautiful Larmer Tree Gardens.



We initially thought that a contemporary lace with a Daisy design would be perfect.  However, an important factor was Daisy’s wish to wear her most stunning family veil, and when we tried to marry daisy lace with the veil they simply weren’t compatible.  I think you’ll agree that the traditional corded French lace was the perfect combination.

The skirt was made from Italian silk organza, with fine tulle layers and bias cut lining under, which provides lightness, volume and romance.  I think we created the perfect dress for Daisy’s dream wedding, and midsummer garden setting.

Photographer Ben Goode. http://www.bengoode.com/

Alfie’s Thought of the Day…

“A ballgown is your dream, and it must make you a dream”. 
– Christian Dior 1954

Alfie says that we make ‘wedding gown’ dreams come true…