September’s Effortlessly Chic New Looks

September’s Effortlessly Chic New Looks

Summer holidays are now all but lovely memories for most of us, as a new school year begins, and the approach of autumn, with cooler mornings and evenings. There are many ways to be reminded it’s autumn again, and I’m looking forward to working with my favourite fabrics, to layer, and keep the chill at bay!  

My tailoring course at West Dean College involved quite a lot of thought and experimentation with coat shapes, to produce a simple, flattering style, easily adapted with details, fabric and trim. My eight ‘students’ were incredibly hard-working, patient and committed to tailoring a beautiful coat.  Each had chosen completely different wools, and details, so created very individual coats.

My time given to designing coats has inspired a number of new shapes, which you’ll see as they’re perfected and tailored – for wrapping up in this Autumn – using beautiful new wools sourced at Premiere Vision last week.

Hot News………. I have clients who have longed for beautiful, quality cashmere knits, and I discovered Warm & Co. It’s a stunning collection of covetable pieces, and is arriving this week.  We’ll feature in more detail in the next issue – but if you’re struggling to find that extra special cashmere piece, then do come and take a look at the collection.

Weddings and special occasions continue to keep us busy, and thinking ahead to interesting new projects next year – all very exciting!   Here is a selection of the pieces we’ve created so far, with lovely accessories to add to your wardrobe, whether a sumptuous fox fur collar, or cosy hat.  

Jewel Coloured Tailoring

I call this the Jewel Coat, because the tweed is rich with wonderful gem stone colours, and a hint of gold lame ribbon peeks out from the weave. The length was woven in France, and is sure to be a hit, as it works with dark navy, and each of the pinks intertwined in the weave.

We have bound the edges with palest salmon pink leather, which I think enhances the colours, and gives a chic, modern finish.   The coat looks perfect from Spring to Autumn as is – but to take it through winter as well, add a sumptuous fox collar (small from £235, large from £380), and cuffs, in navy, teal or one of the many pink tones.

Fabric Heaven – Found in Paris

Hot of the press are the new autumn and winter fabrics and trims on show at Premiere Vision, in Paris, which I visited last week. I was searching for specific fabrics, prints, colours and textures for clients, and looking for inspiration for new designs for photography and a much-needed new website.

I am delighted to find the wool and llama/alpaca coatings that I longed to use again – and had been struggling to source – from a couple of Italian mills.  Closer to home, I really appreciated the collection by Joshua Ellis, with their fabulous cashmeres, and alpacas, and Johnstons of Elgin’s interesting weaves.  All are showing lovely colours in their collections, from palest winter whites, pinks, through coral and orange tones, aqua and lime greens – as well as a wonderful variety of traditional greys, taupes, navy, chocolate and black.  The feelers and swatches have already begun to arrive – how exciting……….

I ordered a selection of beautiful wools and cashmeres, thinking of dresses for daywear and suits, in interesting weaves and colour combinations.  There were lovely new lace designs, and stronger brighter colours shown in the collections of Reichers, Sophie Hallette, and Solstiss.

Also on show were collections of sheepskin, leather and fur, also in amazing colours, and I found fabulous buttons and trims. I look forward to showing these, once the swatches arrive in London.

On my first afternoon, I had the luxury of an afternoon browsing the small boutiques in the Marais. Paris still has areas where independents can survive, and I found a gem of a shop, La Mercerie Parisienne. This is haberdashery heaven, and I wish we still had the same in London. They sell high quality buttons and trims to die for – horn buttons, pearl buttons – infact, every type of button imaginable. 

Beautifully displayed cases of every conceivable type of sewing needle, scissors, and thimbles – a joy to see.

And, the ribbons and braids…………. Ooh, la la!

Dress up – It’s Time to Party!

Shanice has developed a stunning trim, working with circles of silk, which behave differently depending on the type of fabric used.  We’ve created a new dress, called Lottie, after designing a similar shape for a wedding party dress last December.

Shown here in beautiful Italian ivory marocain crepe, the dress could very easily be made using a fluid wool, or the same silk in colour, with very different effects.

We made a cape to compliment, which is a strong trend this season.  This is a statement look for a very stylish bride, or party-goer.

Edwina Ibbottson has a beautiful flower comb, made from silks and organza, which compliments the dress very well.  To take the dress into a winter wedding or party, here are some suggestions for how to wear our stunning ivory fox fur collar (from £380).

Alfie’s thought of the day

“I have all the fabric I need”

Said no seamstress ever…