The New Year began with a splash! Literally – a flood from the flat above the shop – not a big one, thankfully, but enough of a diversion to delay me with our newsletter, and wishing a Happy, healthy New Year!
There are so many things to look forward to in 2015. I’m very happy in Chelsea amongst my new neighbours, and our new mannequins are enticing even more lovely ladies through the door. I’m really excited about the fabrics, and colours I’ll be working with, and designing new styles for this year’s weddings, parties, racing, and the Summer Season, many of which are already in full swing.
You may remember that I taught a Tweed jacket-making course at West Dean College last summer, and I’m very proud to announce that one of my ‘students’ has been chosen as a finalist in the British Dressmaking awards. I’m looking forward to another week’s teaching at West Dean 23-28 August, and we will be making unstructured coats. Anyone who would like to rekindle their sewing skills and create a beautiful coat for next winter can find the information in the summer course brochure.
Looking for Inspiration
For the first time in many years, last week I travelled to Paris for Premiere Vision, the huge trade fabric show, which showcases collections from all over the world.
I was in fabric heaven………. (“Oh dear”, I hear my accountant say), I found new lace makers, fabulous new summer-weight wools, wonderful textured linens from Solbiati, the most exquisite couture collection from Schlaepfer, and the wonderful collections of Malhia tweeds, to name just a few.
It was impossible to see all the collections I’d noted, but my last appointment of the day was with Malhia, and their stand was buzzing with energy, and excitement for their amazing weaves. When I left at the end of a long day, my mind was filled with images of colour, pattern and textures, and inspired ith lots of new design ideas.
One of the key trends is denim, ranging through all of the indigo hues from darkest navy to palest sky blues. Here are some fabulous swatches worked through these shades, and mixed with many colours, to create cloths suitable for smart-casual or dressy, with a twist.
We have created a new design Spring/Summer coat, using my lovely French tweed, which was specially woven last year. It has a gathered ‘skirt’ effect, and chunky silver zip openings on the sleeves and front, which I love. For a touch of femininity, the neck and sleeve hems have a delicate ruching of silver chiffon.
Pinks remain on trend, because they are so fresh and feminine, and work with so many colours. Here are a selection, proving the vibrancy of pinks. Hints of lurex add a touch of glitz and fun. Inclusion of raffia and fringing in the weave adds modern texture with definition, and a new take on sophistication.
Our new short tweed jacket has a sumptuous collar, with fringed edges. This is a pretty, go-anywhere style with ¾ length sleeves, and vintage pearl buttons make a lovely detail for the front opening.
The mixtures of orange, coral and gold conjure images of warmth, sunshine and holidays, looking forward to the spring and summer approaching. Here are combinations, which could be canvasses straight from an artist’s easel, with bold stripes combined with splashes of colour. Here are exquisite compositions to occupy one forever – appreciating new attributes on every inspection. What joy!
I know it’s rather eccentric to mention fur hats now that I’m wishing winter away. However, we received delivery of these Swedish Saga fox, and rexrabbit hats just before Christmas, and they’re being snapped up by Chelsea ladies and visiting clients – so, just in case there’s a cold snap to come, or for those preparing tweeds and furs for the Cheltenham races, I have to present a selection of these glamorous winter warmers.
Pictured in chocolate, we have a trendy textured rabbit bobble hat with fox pom pom (£220.00), and an ultra-warm ribbed cashmere beanie with fox band, to frame the face (£400.00).
In black, we have ribbed cashmere beanie with rexrabbit band (£285.00), or a rexrabbit bobble hat with fox pom pom (£220.00), and Russian-style Saga fox hat (£500.00).
For grey tones, we have cashmere ribbed beanie hats with rex rabbit bands (£285.00), and a gorgeous silver fox Russian-style hat (£500.00).
In warm winter whites, we have rexrabbit bobble hat with fox pom pom (£220.00), ribbed cashmere beanie with fox band (£400.00), and Russian-style Saga fox hat (£500.00).
Bride of the Month
“When we first met Allison Rodger, we instantly new she was the perfect dress designer for us, and she was very understanding to all of our needs.
Her choice of fabrics, colour combinations, and attention to detail were amazing, and are still the talking point of our wedding.
When we discussed with Allison that our dogs would be at our wedding, she instantly knew what would work, and came up with the idea of matching silk taffeta ruffles.
The end result was perfect, the dress and the beautiful cloak were like a fairytale. I never imagined we could create such a bespoke look, that I have never seen before.
I would recommend Allison Rodger for anyone looking to create something “a little bit special”.” Sarah
Sarah called in to discuss her wedding dress ideas, on the recommendation of Henrietta, of the Grosvenor Stationery Company, from whom she and Jason had commissioned their beautiful wedding stationery. It was months before their December wedding, so I agreed to source silk swatches, that would coordinate with the invitation colours of copper and cream.
We commenced work on the design about twelve months before the wedding, with Jason very much a part of the creative process. Sarah wanted a velvet cape, but I just couldn’t hide her lovely figure – I wanted to show her slim waist. We compromised with wide bell sleeves, which with the hood, had champagne mink fur edgings.
With the dress, Sarah had to feel warm, disliked the idea of boning or tightness, and wanted a loose flowing skirt. I recommended my favourite silk duchess satin for her bodice, which we had heavily embroidered in copper and cream colours around the neckline and sleeve hems.
The skirts were made of champagne silk georgette and silk crepe satin, with a copper coloured lining. The georgette drapes and ruffles were all part of the flowing, comfortable style, and were finished with a jewelled rosette – Jason’s collaboration.
This was definitely a special, and very bespoke wedding, for Sarah, Jason, Matilda, Archie and Louis. Even the wedding cake was personal to the last detail.
Photographer – Chris Taylor
Alfie’s thought of the day
”Fashion has always been a repetition of ideas, but what makes it new is the way you put it together.” Carolina Herrera