Tuesday, 11 October 2011

A Little Bit of Jiminy Cricket.

When you wish upon a star
Makes no difference who you are
Anything your heart desires
Will come to you.

I consider myself a wife and mother ahead of the designer/dressmaker and it's lovely for clients to refer to me as 'Their Fairy Godmother' Thank you, Abi.
As a dressmaker/designer, I'm approaching (fast) 3 years since the re launch of my career and I really want to make it. However, the wrong side of forty has left me wondering why I left it so late in my life to try and achieve those dreams.
Like most of the lovely industry people I have the pleasure of knowing, we all want the recognition, to be 'out there' to be featured in top magazines, but to enjoy the fame and glory you have to work hard. I'm a big believer that nothing comes for free and the harder you work, the greater the rewards.
When an opportunity presents itself, grab it with both hands and squeeze every last drop you can from it. I guess the more you squeeze the more you want.
A few months ago I had the pleasure of working with the lovely Cat Hepple on a very special shoot for Leafy Couture owner, sarah Richardson. My usual dream team were involved, Jane from HF Couture and Annie from Roma Velace. We had such fun.
It wasn't long after that Cat mentioned she had put my name forward to provide a gown for a shoot taking place later in the year, Damien Lovegrove’s guest photographer, Chris Hanley. Chris is one of the leading wedding, fashion and portrait photographers in the UK. Both Damien and Chris will be spending two days next week teaching a group various photographic techniques in a secluded villa near Pisa, Italy. The location is a 16th century privately owned palace, Villa Sermolli, which is situated in the exclusive and private heart of a medieval village. With its magnificent gardens and fountains the palace is the most important palace in the Castillo.
My initial instinct was why me? Of all those people she could have suggested, why me? I'm nothing special, I can sew a pretty fine frock, but Cat knows plenty of people she could have suggested. However, I believe she pestered the photographer to death and after a few e mails introducing me to him, he finally called and I got the job.
So, my husband watched me jump up and down, unable to string a single sentence of coherent words together until I could tell him what was so important about this phone call.
It was one of those moments that I knew an opportunity had been sent my way. The only brief I was given was that the model needed to be able to 'Can Can' in it! So after receiving images of the location and model, I set to work.
Kate Middleton’s wedding gown has been talked about for months and there are already copies available to purchase from high street bridal retailer.The gown is still a talking point due to it’s vintage similarities with the gown Grace Kelly wore, when in 1956, she married her Prince. The Vintage wave is still sweeping the bridal scene 18 months on and it seems many brides are after this look. My love of Dior, of Hollywood designer Edith Head and the back detail of the Sarah Burton creation gave me a great place to start for inspiration.
For all the right reasons, Kate’s gown needed to fit the criteria for a future Queen. Covered shoulders and arms were probably stipulated by the Palace, which today’s modern bride may find far too conservative.The gown has not specifically designed for general sale although it will be a ‘Limited Edition’ piece.
I called in James Melia to photograph the gown in its finished state to enable me to have detailed shots to send across to Chris. His reaction? "I'll do this gown proud under the Tuscan Sun." Yes, I get to have some super images from one of the leading UK photographers!

I think you'll agree, James captured an air elegance and calm in these images. Thank you Mr Melia from the bottom of my heart.
So, after a few sneaky peeks yesterday, here it is.


  1. I love this dress Linda, it's so refreshing to see a beautiful bodice with straps. I love all the ruching and gorgeous details... absolutely perfect! You should be so proud! xxx

  2. WOW. Breathtaking! Now even more gutted I couldn't do the Tuscany trip! Gorgeous work xxx

  3. Such a stunning dress, so elegant and timeless! Love your write up, you should be very proud, well done xx

  4. It was a pleasure to shoot this dres in Tuscany! More images on my blog!