Designer Musings

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A Letter of Thanks for Valentines Day

Red roses and thank you!

Red roses and thank you!

I am taking this opportunity of St Valentines Day to express my heartfelt thanks to my fantastic friends, as well as the lovely people I have been chatting with via emails, tweets, and all through my social media journey.

It is said the best gift you can give to someone is your time, a mutual reciprocation I like to believe; such generosity has provided me with continuous support both personally and professionally.

Navigating on this voyage as a fashion entrepreneur, through rolls of fabric and pattern cutting paper, not to mention the many times I have gone back to the drawing board; I can honestly say that all of the inspirational cliches, I have been on the receiving end of, and shared, really do ring true.

“You keep on putting one foot in front of the other and don’t stop until you get to your desired destination”.  

As a result of increased  private consultations, and being asked where can you view, get up close and personal, plus try on the ready to wear garments from the website, I will be taking my home business out of my home and into her own studio/atelier in March 2016.  Yes I am bursting with excitement, tape measure to the ready; I say to my family, friends, fellow entrepreneurs, and supporters “there will be times when things don’t go according to plan, however, providing you are open to change and willing to ‘let go’ without giving up, there is always more than you imagined possible waiting for you”.

I will keep you posted as to the moving in date, in the meantime, Happy Valentines Day.

Coralx

Why craft skills will be extinct if we don’t bridge the generation gap

Where would the established ateliers/fashion houses be without the delicate hands that construct fine garments?

A tailorOr the tailor whose precision of drawing directly onto cloth, comes with years of experience and patience; the pattern cutter whose eye for clean sharp lines transforms fabric into a 3D form.  These are fine trades and crafts, one destined for extinction if these skills do not get passed on.

So there aren’t as many people buying haute couture nowadays in its purest form, yet handcrafts are not just relevant for the luxury market, but life itself.  One of the reasons why vintage fashion has gained such resurgence in recent years, is because of the creative design, their uniqueness of being one-of-a-kind; fine detailing, construction, just some of the components that give these garments their point of difference.  But what about the person behind those seams?  You know I just could not resist that pun!

There’s a thought process doing the rounds, stating, ‘if you are over the age of 50’, you are more museum piece, than a valuable contributor to today’s society, especially in the creative industry, its sheer madness.

It’s imperative that we start having the conversation now with those whose skills should be celebrated, from my perspective hand-sewing, embroidery, beading, setting the perfect sleeve, are just a few examples I learned from seasoned professionals over the years.   As part of my school curriculum Community Service was not because I had been to the Magistrates Court, but part of something that would now have the fancy title of ‘Life Skills’.  We would visit Retirement Homes and listen to the stories of our peers, and even pick up some tips if they were crafters.

In our pursuit for the next shiny object that will hold our attention for all of 5 minutes, we are missing out on that pot of gold that can equip us with knowledge and techniques that we can use for a lifetime across the board.  The conversation I hear from the public now in relation to some purchases are, ‘they used to do such good… or they had such great quality…’  It’s not just the fashion industry that is missing out, but commerce in general.

My mum taught me to knit, sew and crochet, these skills were further enhanced at school where we had sewing classes; apparently such creative classes in schools are now an indulgence and not the norm.  My sewing teacher Mrs Shirley was a stickler for detail, in addition to sewing techniques I learnt patience, (unpicking a seam for the umpteenth time with either make you or break you)!

I for one thank my mum and Mrs Shirley for passing on their creative gifts enabling me to make my dream a reality by becoming a fashion designer.  I really do hope that the current generation take heed, and start listening to the stories, and learning the skills of our peers, that invaluable gift called experience can leave you forewarned, letting hindsight take a back seat for a change.

www.coralturner.com

 

 

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.

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.