You have had an incredible career as one of the UK’s most celebrated couturiers, designing for a wide spectrum of inspirational women and change-makers, across all the corners of the globe. Which women have inspired you the most during that time and how have they influenced your approach to design?
A whole cavalcade of Hollywood greats: Bette Davis, Ginger Rogers, Fred Astaire, Cary Grant and Audrey Hepburn all were great influencers to me and my generation of designers. Elegance, Charm, Style, Wit & subtlety and no resorting to sartorial gimmicks set them apart and put me on course.
Charlotte Rampling is an actress who became a friend for whom I made clothes from1974. Her personal confidence and allure transcended what she wore and that is how it should be…the person, then what she’s wearing…. Sitting in my Knightsbridge studio, I once spotted the Infamous Margaret, Duchess of Argyll (IT girl of the 1930’s) standing on the steps of San Lorenzo restaurant trying to hail a cab. She wore an impeccably tailored, slim-fitting grey tweed suit, a cocktail hat with veil, elbow length tan suede gloves, with a cigarette sitting precariously on her freshly applied gash of red lipstick. I was transfixed by this woman, surely from a different era? Not only did a taxi stop but the driver got out and opened the door for her….. such style, such precision, such command. I don’t think he knew who she was but her style of dressing set her apart and he was probably as intrigued as I.