Can you tell us a little more about yourself and what inspired you to set up your business?
I am an Army daughter and we were living in Lisbon when, aged 9, the first thing I made was a mini skirt with my Mother’s guidance and her sewing machine. I wanted to make and wear clothes no one else had and the fabric shops there were so much more exciting than those in the UK.
When we were back in England I had a wonderful needlework teacher who taught me precision, neatness, perfecting fit and hand sewing but she had no idea how I could take it forward and make a career with it but that was my ambition and all I ever wanted to do.
I studied fashion design at Art College then started my career designing and making wedding dresses for friends, which is how it began.
Can you tell us a little more about being a couturier and what that involves?
The most important thing for me is to spend time getting to know every client so I understand exactly what she wants, we will go through ideas, discuss fabrics and any details. I think it is essential the outfit is not only perfect for the occasion but an investment piece for ever. Once this has been decided the design is made in calico to check the fit is perfect and the shape is as the client imagined, this is then taken apart so I can make a paper pattern and cut the fabric. I want her to leave my studio feeling fabulous and confident with an outfit that is as perfect as it can be inside and out, having enjoyed the experience of having something unique made that fits perfectly.
What have you found to be the biggest challenges in your career?
The biggest challenges have been financial. Sadly when I was younger we had no guidance either at school or college of how to run a business and that is why so many businesses fail even today. I was so lucky my late husband saw, understood and supported my endeavour and that is how I learnt to run the business I still have today.
What 3 words would you use to describe yourself?
Determined, perfectionist, empathetic.
What are you most proud of?
I am proud of every piece that leaves my studio and especially proud and privileged to be one of HRH The Duchess of Cornwall’s designers.
What advice would you give your younger self?
I wish I had had more support and financial guidance; I would have loved to have worked for a designer in Paris and spent time living there.
What are your greatest sources of inspiration?
Dior, The Victoria and Albert Museum and Art Galleries
What is your best piece of style advice?
When you find a style that works for you and makes you feel confident, stick with it using different fabrics, colours and details. Nothing can compare with a beautifully cut coat or dress made from the best natural fabric lined with silk and finished by hand, it will last forever.
In 2020 you launched your first ready to wear collection, can you tell us what is next for you and the brand?
I am fortunate to always be busy with my bespoke clients and am embracing 2022 after the challenging time we have all had. I plan to add a collection of silk dresses to my online ready to wear collection.