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Ways to Make Your Apparel Look Stylish

By Coral Turner, Couture Designer

You may not consider yourself to be a fashionista, but you don’t have to be one to stand out and make a fashion statement. As a couture designer, I want to provide you with a few suggestions that can be incorporated into any wardrobe.

A ring and a necklace dress up any outfit but make sure these two pieces of jewelry complement each other. Every woman should have several rings and necklaces as accessories as well as earrings.

Let’s use an example of a jeans outfit. The blouse could be solid colour, like orange.  Next consider your biggest piece of jewelry – the necklace. With jeans, a sporty-type of necklace made of shells or beads over the solid colour blouse will look striking. It’s nice to incorporate the colour of the blouse into the necklace although solid white will do just as well. A sporty ring will be a nice accent if you can follow through with the colors in the necklace and try not to mix gold and silver. For sporty outfits, leave the diamond dinner ring in the jewelry box. The same thing with any noisy jewelry. For cooler nights, you can replace that necklace with a scarf. Long scarfs are very popular now. If wearing a scarf, tie a chic knot.

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Handmade  silk scarves from India

For more formal affairs, a hat adds a flair of glamour. If your hair is long, take the curl out and wear it straight down or pin it up in a bun or French twist. You want the hat to stand out;. the hat should match a colour in your outfit. A black and white outfit and a black hat are bound to turn a few heads. A hat with chiffon, a feather, or piece of jewelry adds excitement. You can always add your own pin to that hat too; so go ahead and raid your mother’s vintage pins.

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Romance a day to evening top by Coral Turner

A print blouse with a solid coloured sweater always looks attractive. Next time you wear that long sleeve sweater, consider folding the cuffs back to expose the cuffs of the blouse.

If you still have a long ankle-length skirt hanging in your closet, before you put it to rest, perhaps you should consider giving it a second life. Cut off twelve inches and hem it. Voila! A new item for your wardrobe.  Pair it with a crisp white collar shirt and black and silver studded belt and you are good for the office and drinks after a hard days work.

No fashion blog would be complete without the mention of shoes. In general, have your shoes match your clothing if you are conservative in your taste.  However, if you are daring, go ahead and use them as an accessory to the outfit.  I love animal patterned shoes of late, they add fun to any outfit as well as they are sexy and daring and there is nothing wrong with being a little sexy and daring.  Kitten heels are equally chic.

If unsure about accessories, less is more. If you use too many accessories, nothing will stand out to make a statement, so keep it simple.  Also, it is okay to buy those fashion magazines where they have the models stylized to get ideas.  I also love a website called Stylish Eve at www.stylisheve.com.  They search the globe and put together outfits for day or night, formal and casual.  I’m not sure why they haven’t picked up my couture fashions yet???  However, I cannot help but love the outfits they stylize.

By following the suggestions above, you’ll begin to impart your own style and people will notice, and don’t forget the perfume.

One last note, I am available to help you create and design your own look.  I make one of a kind, never to be repeated couture designs for the modern woman, the fashionista in you!

Fashion with a Conscious

By this time, you have all heard of the tragedy that took place in Bangladesh where a clothes manufacturing building collapsed, killing 1,129 people. The tragedy sparked worldwide condemnation about the shoddy business practices that ultimately led to the deaths of so many innocent people. But, in the aftermath, this incident has also sparked questions regarding the link between cheap fashion and worker safety.

There are many who love the thrill of bargain shopping. They are the great hunters who find the best deals on pickles, socks and all other things consumable; nothing wrong with that in theory, who doesn’t love a bargain?  But the question now becomes ‘who is really paying the price so you can get an £8.00 hoodie for your teenage son?’

I’m not a huntress. But that goes with the territory of being a couture designer—and working in the fashion houses, I began to realize that a deal is not actually a deal. It really means that someone else is not getting paid or is working in deplorable conditions.

The United Kingdom was once infamous for garments made to a high standard, in terms of workmanship, fabrics and finish. You only had to mention the names of certain key players and they were synonymous with workmanship of pedigree.

I appreciate that it is just not UK retailers that outsource their garment manufacturing to developing countries—the United States, Canada, France and many more do as well, but as a consumer, you do have a say on whether or not you will support substandard working conditions for those who work in developing countries. It is a question for your conscience. It is question for all of us because these people also manufacture our Smartphones, furniture, golf clubs, etc.

My heart goes out to those families who are left to pick up the pieces from a tragedy that was based on profit first, people somewhere down the line – eventually.  It is a shame it took the lives of so many people before it became an issue.

I want to assure you that my clothes are handmade by me, including all the embellishment work. I source my fabrics from ethical manufacturers. My clothes have a price attached to them to reflect the quality of workmanship, the fabric and the couture design. In my time on this planet and in good conscious I  work at being part of the solution to those things I see that ail humanity, equally I have strong beliefs in providing a luxury product that will last forever.

Style Tips For Your Summer Get Away

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By Coral Turner, Couture Fashion Designer

As we spring into summer, it is the time when most of us, hopefully, will be jetting off to some exotic, romantic, or adventurous land to relax, rejuvenate, and even a learn a thing or two about a different culture. However, packing for our adventures has become more difficult, with tight controls on luggage weight, additional and expensive baggage fees, and increased airport security. That is why my one-of- kind jersey couture designs are ideal for your travel needs.

It is great to look stylish while in transit, but avoid wearing jewellery and heavy accessories. Keeping accessories to a minimum will make going through the airport security checkpoints much easier. Moreover, keep your clothing options limited to fabrics that will breathe and move with your body and that won’t become a wrinkled mess after you sit for a few hours like a jersey fabric, which is as it happens great for travelling.

When selecting your wardrobe for your trip, you will need to ensure that they are suitable to the type of trip which is obvious. If you are doing an African safari, you are going to want clothes that are light, and airy. If you are doing a museum tour through the South of France, you will want your look to be more sophisticated and tailored. If you are taking a cruise on a cruise line like Silver Seas, you are going to need to need a formal attire. Silver Seas’ dinners are formal and require formal attire for dinner. In the case of Silver Sea where there are no more than 250 people on the ship, you will need a dress for every evening. If you are travelling on a guided tour, you should expect at least one evening of formal dressing for dinner.

Then there is the bathing suit—usually torture for most women when it comes to buying one. If this is the case, I strongly recommend that you go to a place that sells bathing suits and understands body shapes. For the rest of you, my quick style tips are as follows:

  • If you are curvy, you want to look at bathing suits that have subtle ruching that will accentuate your curves.
  • If you are petite, you want to see high-cut bottoms to give your legs length.
  • A bikini is appropriate for a tall girl, to break up the long torso. Don’t forget to get that perfect cover up.

I personally like sheer, large, rectangular scarves in complementing colours to a bathing suit. They can be tied at the bust line and draped or folded in half and then tied around your hips to cover your buttocks and upper thighs; Sarongs are also easy to wear and a great cover for bikini bottoms when out and about.   All you need after that is a great pair of sandals, a marvelous hat, and effective sunscreen to be ready for your beach or poolside vacation.

Have a safe and wonderful summer!

Everything You Need To Know About Buying A Bra

Young woman wearing braAs a couture designer, the overall fit is what makes a garment look fabulous, however in my experience, a poorly fitting bra can often be found to be the culprit if this happy medium is not forthcoming. For clothing to look optimum especially if you are buying one of my exclusive jersey fashions, it does you and your dress wonders to have a  properly fitted bra; it not only lifts your assets but your confidence also. Finding the right bra is not difficult; you just have to do a bit of homework first. Once you know the basics you can determine your correct size and decide what kind of style you want. Correct fit is the most important aspect of a bra, not just for comfort, but also for the best possible support and overall look. Styles and fabrics are important, too. These needs can differ with your body type, personality and dress.  So ladies, take her is some advice from this couture designer who has been happily dressing women for over 20 years, how to  have a proper bra.

Measurement and Fit

Many women wear the wrong size bra. Don’t just guess and don’t go by feel alone; spend a few minutes with the tape measure and you’ll find bra shopping and fitting much easier. Be sure to measure in the right places to guarantee the best fit:

Band
Place a tape measure at the middle of your back and around the top of your bust. This your band width. Most stores carry bras with band widths from 30 to 40 inches around that have three different hook placements for wiggle room.

Bust
Next find your bust size by measuring around the fullest part of your bust (around the nipple) parallel to the ground. Bust size is accommodated through strap adjustment.

Cup
Determine your cup size by subtracting your band width from your bust size. The number difference between band and bust should range from 0 to 6 inches. This number than corresponds to the regulatory letter cup sizes (AA-DDD).

Band width – Bust size = Cup size
0 = AA
1 = A
2 = B
3 = C
4 = D
5 = DD
6 = DDD

Coverage style

There are different levels of coverage, from total to scant, depending on your body, personality and what you’re wearing.

Full coverage
Offers the most possible coverage and support; best for full-figured and/or busty women.
Demi
Provides half the coverage of a full; better for smaller, slender women.
Multi-wayThis style has movable straps that can be manipulated to accommodate asymmetrical or “complicated” tops and dresses; perfect for halter tops, racer backs and one-shoulder tops.
Push-up
The push-up creates lift and cleavage when you want it; great for evening wear.
Wireless
Features no under wire, for comfort with flexible, light support; best with blouses and sweaters.

Fabric
Different bra fabrics behave differently under clothing. Some work better than others to complete your look. The rule of thumb is to match the bra material to the clothing material. A satiny bra, for example, will look more seamless and natural under a silk top than a cotton bra, which may cause the top fabric to cling and stick.
Cotton
Works best under other cotton tops (T-shirts) and linen blouses.
Satin
Best with like tight and/or clingy dresses, tops and sweaters.
Blends (nylon, rayon, etc.)
Works well with most all clothing fabrics including jersey fabrics that I use.

Lace
Best for the bedroom; it often does disrupts the line of the clothing.

Whether you’re small, busty, perky or a little droopy, the right fitting bra is equally essential for all women. Ensuring the best bra fit will benefit you, both physically and psychologically! I hope you enjoy these tips to help you look and feel great.

Remember, I am happy to meet with you to design and create a wardrobe for your holidays or for that special occasion that you have this summer.

Inspiration for My Designs-What makes this Couture Designer Tick!

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I have often been asked what inspires my designs.  I am not sure I have a simple answer for that question, but I will try to answer it.

Besides having a passionate need to express myself, I have a desire to create garments that pioneer a different aesthetic from the norm and are reinterpretations of designs from the past.  I wish to create garments that are comfortable, sexy and gorgeous.  I appreciate the fact that every other couture designer has probably professed similar desires.

I am influenced by both past and present designers.  If you follow my Facebook page, you have seen many of them.  Further, surrealist art and expressionist influences take shape in my work.  In my designs, you will see elements in unexpected juxtaposition and the use of fabrics and colours to add boldness.  You will note that I have incorporated Elizabethan-like collars along with kimono-style sleeves.

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Culture and history are important to any designer, whether for the design of clothes or buildings.  I am no different, as I have a love for vintage clothing from the early nineteenth century to the present.  In my collection, you will see graphic prints on mini dresses inspired by ’60s fashion and formal suiting with strong, structured shoulders reminiscent of the ’30s and ’40s.  I also love Asian-inspired designs, and strong elements of it are evident throughout my collection.

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Nature has taught me to mix textures like in a beautiful wild garden.  My designs are hand embellished with sequins, beads, leather, metallic threads and contrasting linings.

I pursue those moments when ideas flow effortlessly and creativity is a cherished companion.  I believe in and surrender to the creative process as it unfolds.  I let the fabric and colours speak to me as I create something that will have lasting value and a unique point of view for a garment.

I imagine the woman who will wear the garment.  Is she queen-like?  Is she more like a princess?  Is she an entrepreneur?  A scientist?  Will she dance in the garment?  Will she work in the garment?  Will she attend a red carpet event?  Who will see her?  Will it be her beloved?  An old boyfriend who dumped her thirty years ago and whom she is going to see at her high school reunion?

And so the process goes—an endless cycle of imagination, ideas and concepts that manifest as dresses, skirts, tops and pants that I know you will love because they are one-of-a-kind garments and exclusive, just for you.

You may purchase one of my inspired creations through my online store or contact me at 020 7732 7528 for a private consultation.

Plus Size Fashion Tips by Coral Turner, Couture Fashion Designer

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It seems everywhere you look: there are skinny fashion models sporting the latest looks and designs. It can be frustrating to those who do not fit into the ultra-skinny clothes that seem to be the rage. In fact, the majority of us are not 5’10’ and 110lbs.  Recently, I gained a new customer after I posted a picture of my mother who is not the skinny model type wearing one of my designs.  My mother is elegant, regal and curvvy which is like the majority of women.  I was surprised when the customer stated to me she was surprised that I dressed curvvy women.  As a couture fashion designer, I design for women of all shapes and sizes.  Style does not see size or age.

However, I wanted to give you a few fashion tips on dressing if you do have a plus size figure.

  • Wear the size that fits your body. If your clothing is too big, it only makes your body look bigger. If it is too small, then it will amplify curves and will make you feel uncomfortable. Being uncomfortable in a garment will show, even if you think you look fantastic. 
  • Shoulder pads are in if you are a plus size woman. They look fabulous and give you more confidence in your walk. Do not worry about what the fashion bloggers say about them. Wear them with pride.
  • Get a tailor to fine-tune your clothes. If that blazer does not quite button up at the front, and the next size up looks like it would fit two of you, a tailor will be able to adjust it, so it is just right and looks terrific. 
  • Forget the rules the magazines state you must follow. You can wear horizontal stripes, bright colours, and short skirts. Just make sure they fit properly and go with your body style. 
  • Black is a colour that goes with everything and looks fabulous. Remember, you are not a funeral director, so add a splash of colour to the black.  
  • Your undergarments should flatter what you are wearing.  A proper fitting bra will make you look better and feel better.
  • Your outfit is not finished until you have a pair of shoes that compliment your outfit. A bright colour with a dark dress will make you and your outfit come alive. Just remember, if you cannot walk in heels don’t punish yourself it will show in your walk.  There is nothing wrong with a good pair of flats to avoid making you walk like a wounded gazelle. 
  • Try a different hair do. Do not be afraid to get a little crazy with some colour, or try a shorter look. Remember, you create your own trends let others follow you! 
  • Do not keep your sequined outfits hiding in the closet until you go out at night. They will work for you during the daytime as well as at night. Sequins will add a much-needed splash to your wardrobe that people will notice. 
  • Wear a belt to add some shape to your outfit. A belt can take that dress that simply hangs on you, to one that looks like it was custom made just for you. 

Make this summer one that changes your life by changing your fashion.  Start your own trend make a statement that people will notice and enjoy. Remember, if wearing it makes you feel good inside, then it will reflect in the way you wear it, giving you more confidence in yourself, and your fashion.

And I am always available for consultation if you want to design a piece that is one-of-a-kind, perfectly tailored, never to be repeated creation.

Behind the Scenes-Time With Natalie; How a Couture Designer helps a Digital Television Presenter.

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Yesterday, I had the most phenomenal experience, and I would like to share with you why I salute Natalie Brown – a digital television presenter whose show ‘Time with Natalie’ addresses the work/ life balance we all aim for.

The filming took place in a chic town house near Euston station, on my arrival I was greeted by Natalie with her usual effervescent manner, and Jess the Chef; within 5 minutes of chatting away, it felt as though we had known each other for years as we became a creative team.

My first experience of television was at the ‘Big Breakfast’, my role was two-fold, personnel and assisting in wardrobe at the studio; the atmosphere there was of one big family, no two days were the same and I worked with incredible people, some of whom grace our television screens and radio today.

Moving forward to online digital media where individuals now have the opportunity to produce their own shows and share globally their contemplation of the world we live in; Natalie the consummate professional showed me that whilst taking her role very seriously, there was also room for humour, and the grace to explore other suggestions from her audience as to content for her shows.  With the filming of 4 shows for that day which started early afternoon, and finishing late into the night, Natalie remained upbeat and glamorous, it was no easy feat.

The first interview was a cooking show with Jess, who describes her approach to cooking as Fast, Fresh and Fun, the aroma’s coming from the kitchen had us all ravenous for the experience of her brightly coloured medley of scrambled eggs and avocado surprise (which I won’t spoil by telling you more, as film editing is taking place), however, I will say, notebooks to the ready.

After which, Natalie then met with Nina Kristofferson’s actress and singer, whose one woman show portraying the story of Billie Holiday has been a sell-out success at the Charing Cross Theatre.  Being the in presence of this formidable actress and singer, who shared with the audience her philosophies of life and life in the theatre, it was clear to see why rapturous applause for her performances has been bestowed upon her.  Ms Kristofferson encouraged the viewers to ‘follow their dreams as it gives you energy, and makes for an exciting and interesting journey’.

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This was then followed by Dion Johnson, an author and mentor whose transformational work for women has earned her accolades as she assists women who are at the stage in their life, where they want to explore how to move forward, from having pressed the ‘pause button’ in their own lives, as they move from caregiver to all, but now want to have more ‘me time’ in their life journey. Dion’s own story of resilience and courage was a revelation in itself.

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Finally there was me, Coral Turner, couture fashion designer, who once having got over the fit of giggles talked about the passion for my love of fabrics, designing, the love of the craft, and the privilege of being able to be a part of the transformation in wardrobes of men and women.  Natalie wore two of my designs during filming, and each time – yes, I do say so myself; she looked awesome, plus as she couldn’t bear to be parted with one of them she made a purchase at the end of the show!

To close; I will sum up with Ms Brown, Natalie Louise Brown of , she is more than a talk show host, as to anyone in the creative media industry can testify, it is extremely hard work with long grueling hours, having to think on your feet, and garner from your guests inspiration and stories to share with the audience that are not only entertaining, but informative.  Natalie, makes it look easy, yet having witnessed first-hand the work that goes on behind the scenes it is anything but.

Natalie I salute you, and thanks for looking so spectacular in my dresses!  The filming from this experience are coming soon… in the meantime have a look at www.timewithnatalie.com previous shows for pearls of wisdom.

My Inspiration to be a Couture Designer

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If you follow my social media channels, you have seen pictures of both my mother and father, accompanied by various quotes that capture both their spirits and their impact on me. My parents inspired me to go out there and start my couture business.

The fashion industry is a crowded marketplace.  Customers have all sorts of options when it comes to buying clothing, from cheap and cheerful, to haute couture and pricey, and everything in between.  I am often asked why I did it: Why did I leave a “real” job in which other people take the risks, and instead go out on my own?  There is no one reason but several.

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I have had the fortune of working for some of the top fashion houses in the United Kingdom.  These experiences were enlightening and essential for me to develop my skill set to carry off my work as a couture designer.  But the work wasn’t satisfying.  I noticed a few things when producing designs intended for the mass audience:

  1. Material is maximized to reduce cost,
  2. The amount of labour used to create a garment is often reliant on off-shore, sub-standard factories that pay their labourers extremely low wages, unlike Western countries that offer wages at union rates; and, 
  3. Everyone copies each other!

Thus, quality and uniqueness often suffers to maximize profits in this very competitive industry.

I was horrified when I bought a coat and then saw another woman on the street in one just like it.  I felt cheated in some way because I had spent a great deal of my hard-earned money on a coat that wasn’t uniquely mine.  I figured I wasn’t the only one who felt that way when seeing someone else wearing something coveted.

Therefore, I decided to create my online couture fashion business, producing one-of-a-kind, never to be repeated, perfectly tailored fashions for the modern woman.

I was raised by parents who taught me there are no limits and that I have the power to decide what I want to do.  They gave me the option to explore my talents and dreams — I went for it.

I create fashions that can be for every woman who wants to wear something bold and creative.  I don’t have any desire to mass produce anything that I design.  I want to ensure that women experience pieces of fashion that are luxurious, original, and tailored for them.

It is my desire to help women find their unique style that sets them apart from others in the crowd, be it through bespoke or my online boutique that specialises in one-of-a-kind dresses.

Going to the Races? Don’t forget your Couture Clothing….

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With spring finally upon us and summer just around the corner, the social season at horse raceways and polo matches across the United Kingdom is beginning. These events are not only a festival of sport but also style and elegance. From Chester and Doncaster to London and Manchester, men and women will be donning their high fashion and millinery for the world to see.

What you may not know is that most of these venues have a dress code. Regardless of the venue, everyone is expected to be dressed traditionally smart. If you are a woman, that means a formal dress or pant suit accompanied by a hat or fascinator and heeled shoes. Some venues go further with their expectations by specifying that attendees not bare midriffs or shoulders. The most stringent of dress codes is at the Royal Ascot race. With 300,000 race-goers and the glare of the international media present, it stands to reason that the organisers of the Royal Ascot want to continue the tradition of elegance and pageantry, which requires outlining a dress code that ensures class and sophistication.

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An example of Couture Tailoring

For women who love to dress, any of these of events are a perfect time to show off your style savvy. But remember, it is not all champagne and roses, you and your outfit have to last the day or evening. Here are a few of my style tips to help you out.

  1. Heels: Yes, they are expected, but be sure to pick a pair of a reasonable height. You may want to opt for your 4” heels versus your 6” since you will be standing a great deal of time.
  2. Handbag: Fashion trends show clutches that seem to be getting smaller by the day, but keep in mind that you are going to be at these events for several hours. Be sure to pick a bag that not only matches your outfit but has room for a powder pack, lipstick, tissue, and a phone. You’ll also need to be camera ready. Chester’s Boodle Festival includes a group of judges picking out the best dressed women in the crowd. You wouldn’t want to be called on stage without any lipstick.
  3. Cover for your shoulders: Putting a nicely folded Pashmina or Silk Stole in your handbag would be a great idea, since these are outdoor events and weather can change.
  4. Bring Your Personality: These events are great opportunities to network. They can build new relationships or nurture existing ones. You need to show everyone your inner style.
  5. Fabulous Dress or Suit: This is where I can help you out.  My couture-online boutique has some wonderful options of exclusive one-of-a-kind dresses that can easily take you to any polo ground or raceway. Further, you can give me a call and commission a couture piece. Why take the chance of seeing someone else in your exact dress at one of these events? And, finally, I work with great fabrics like jersey, which are delightfully comfortable. You will feel like you’re wearing a piece of luxury lingerie.

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Pant Suit commissioned for Mother of the Bride wedding abroad also works for Race Day

Whatever you decide, I wish you a fabulous season at the track and matches.

I’m A Couture Designer!

One of the most common questions that we ask one another is “What do you do?”.  When I respond to that question, “ I am couture designer.”, I get a mixed reaction of quizzical looks and flattering nods of “Oh that is wonderful.”  And from time to time, I get “Ahh, you’re a dressmaker ( or seamstress) which leaves me with quizzical look on my face!

Yes, I make dresses along with blouses, trousers, skirts,coats and tops. However, a couture designer is someone who creates a garment specifically tailored for a particular customer. We work with refined fabrics, and exquisite embellishments. The process is extremely labour intensive since the couture designer is involved with the inception of the design, sourcing the fabric, creating the pattern and then executing a carefully interlined, fitted to perfection garment.  A great deal of the work is done by hand.   These customized fashions are not available for mass production and variations of style are limited to one or two other garments.  They are exclusively designed garments that require a great deal of artistry in their execution. The creation of one these garment can take between 50 to 100 hours

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Pearly Queen

This is the genre of my fashion business. I strive to create unique glamour dresses, coats, suits, tops and trousers for all women. When I work in this genre, I am inspired by my client, and the reason why she needs the special couture dress.

A dressmaker or seamstress is someone that works with someone else’s pattern or design.  This is where every designer starts and must master before we can strike out and create our own garments.

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I do have a ready-to- wear line that is on my website that are exclusive designs.  These garments were not created for one specific person but there is only one of each design.  They only fall under the category of ready to wear since they are ready to wear and standard sizing is used!  You can buy the piece if your size is available but know these are exclusive one-off dresses and tops.  “What makes them exclusive one-offs is that no two styles are exactly the same and the fabrics are not reused for the same style.”I understand that not every women wants to commission a distinct design and this is a great alternative and  luxury that you cannot ignore for your next special occasion.

However you choose to engage my services, you will encounter the highest workmanship, originality of a unique design, and superb materials.  It is my goal that I create an experience for you, that you will always remember.