Hot Looks for Summer

Hot Looks for Summer

It has been too long since my last news, and yet so much has been happening this summer – Chelsea Flower Show, Royal Ascot, weddings galore, Henley – with perfect weather for enjoying new clothes, and the many special occasions.

The wonderful new tweeds and linens that I found at Premiere Vision in Paris in February have been made into gorgeous new designs already, and a few of our new samples are featured here.

My tailoring course at West Dean College in August is fully booked, which is extremely flattering.  I’ve received a number of enquiries about my tailoring courses, and intend to hold classes at my Chelsea studio.  I’m currently planning my programme for this Autumn.  If you wish to be informed of news and dates, please reply to this email, and we’ll note you on the database.

The wonderful show of art at Art in Action is being held at Waterperry, Oxfordshire,  from 16th -23rd July.  I won’t be demonstrating this year, so it’s a welcome opportunity to have a grand day out and enjoy the fabulous works on display, and meet the designers and makers.  It’s a must, if you love unusual and beautiful creative work.

Summer holiday time is fast approaching, and I’m really looking forward to a much-needed break, with a chance to step back and gather my thoughts, and new ideas for this Autumn and Winter’s new designs.  The shop will be closed from Monday 20 July, and re-opening Monday 3 August. For any enquiries, please email:

Wishing you happy holidays, and a stylishly cool summer,

Look Cool in the Heat

Solbiati weave my favourite linens in Italy.  I’ve used various designs through many years, and love them because they don’t crease – a must for many of my clients.  I’m drawn to the textures, and subtleties in the weave, and the weightiness of linen, which provides a hang like no other natural fibre.

This particular design has a subtle textured band in the loose weave, with an almost knitted appearance and jersey-like drape.  I’ve designed styles which work cut on the straight or bias, and all are super-comfortable, cool, and airy.

Perfect accessories to compliment the colours and textures of the linens are our necklaces and bracelets, made from antique turquoise and Tibetan silver, or Balinese paua shells set in silver to make a funky bracelet. To keep feet cool, try our hand made Indian leather sandals and chapals – we still have a few lovely scarves in addition to those pictured here, including Pazuki.

Hot Summer Tweeds

I commissioned a number of tweeds to be woven for me by Malhia, one of the Chanel weavers in France, and here are pictured some of the lovely creations so far, along with a few lengths that I haven’t found time to design with – yet.

This concoction of pale blues and ivory, also has a subtle hint of turquoise and magenta.  From a distance the weave and texture could be mistaken for a beautiful delicate handmade paper.  I’ve played with bias bands to make a peplum, and flared sleeve hems, a low fringed neckline, and chunky silver zip fastening.

White always looks cool, and I’ve brought out the tweed jacket and skirt again, as it always captures the essence of summer, with it’s neat proportions and fringed bands.

I must also mention Linton Tweeds, our own lovely weavers based in Carlisle. Here’s a chunky ivory tweed coat, with 3/4 bell-shape sleeves, and a very flattering roll neckline.  The fringing is all that’s necessary to trim the edges.

Another vibrant Linton tweed, this time as a long-line jacket, and featuring edges beaded with semi precious stones, amber, citrine and peridot, and knock-out buttons.

Bride of the Month

Lottie Fry

The experience of having a wedding dress designed and made by Allison and her team was wonderful. Allison has such a wealth of experience that she really knows what will work on both your figure and with the fabrics you have chosen. Allison makes it a fun and creative experience. She listened to my ideas and managed to create the dress that I thought only existed in my mind. Her attention to detail and the quality of the fabrics she uses are second to none. The result was a completely unique, flattering and very beautiful dress.

I really looked forward to seeing Allison and Alfie for my fittings. Allison is so kind and completely unflappable; she was a wonderful support in the run up to the wedding. I know she will be a lifelong friend to me and my mother. Allison was also incredibly flexible with her time allowing me to have fittings at times that worked around my hectic job which was a huge help and in stark to contrast to many wedding dress designers.

For any bride who wants getting their wedding dress to be a truly personal and relaxed experience, you need to go and see Allison!

I think the wedding photographs say it all……… Stunning Bride, in beautiful dresses.  I’m very flattered to have been the designer chosen for such a lovely wedding.

Here is the original sketch, which remained the same, apart from widening the neckline.  Lottie’s wedding dress was made using one of my long-time favourite silks, an ivory heavy silk satin, cut in my bias fishtail shape.  The top was engineered to fit, and appliqued, using my favourite beaded French lace, which was draped into the waist.  The back features Swarovski crystal buttons, and detachable beaded lace train.

For the evening, we created a gorgeous little party dress, made using another of my favourite fabrics, ivory wool satin.  The shape looks so simple, but the detail is in the proportion and cut, and the fun marabout trim on the hem, completes the winter wedding party perfectly.

And Mother, Georgie

Allison, you are so clever – my outfit was perfect for a Winter wedding – a little bit of twinkle from the fantastic beading, and it was unbelievably comfortable. You interpreted what I was hoping for brilliantly!

Georgie’s dress was made from our vermicelli hand-beaded silk georgette, in a lovely shade of deepest aquamarine. The empire line is draped, and the skirt panelled for ease of movement on the dancefloor!

The teal-colour coat, made from French silk velvet has a softly rolled neckline, and 3/4 flared sleeves, both with feature cordwork and beading to decorate the edges.

The striking, perfectly proportioned hat was made by John Boyd

I had to include Lottie’s wedding cake and cheese board – too good to eat!

Photographs courtesy of Millie Pilkington

Alfie’s Thought for the Day

You should always:

Try something you never tried, go somewhere you never have been, and be someone you never thought you could be.