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Black and White Dresses – Off to the Races

As an independent London UK, fashion designer of one-off dresses I don’t follow seasons or fashion trends, so it is amusing to me that the fashion speak is all about black and white dresses or the monochrome look for 2014.

So how do you wear the monochrome look?  Rumour has it that black is slimming, however the colour black on certain body-shapes creates the opposite effect, which is why teaming up with white plays with the eyes of the onlooker yet enhances the silhouette of the wearer.

Depending on your skin tone, too much black near the face and neck can be draining, giving a washed out look, however add a splash of white, black and white striped, white patterned with black such as in a Paisley dress, and there you have elegance and glamour, the natural endeavour of all women, in all that we wear, dresses or otherwise.

If you are off to the races this year, in particular Royal Ascot and Ladies Day, Royal Ascot have become quite stringent with its dress code overall, and in particular for the Royal Enclosure.  So as not to get caught out a note to take into consideration:

Ladies are required to wear formal day-wear with dresses being of modest length falling just above the knee or longer.  Hats also a necessity or a headpiece with a base of 4 inches or more in diameter is an alternative to a hat and is acceptable, however ‘Fascinators’ are now deemed unacceptable as of 2012 (and at the time of writing) in the Royal Enclosure.

Paisley Print black and white jersey dress

Couture dress, black and white jersey by Coral Turner

Taking into consideration the theme of your black and white dress, accompanied with a hat of either singular colour, or as a combination of the two, speaks of being totally chic; Audrey Hepburn was forgiven for her lapse in vocal demeanour as she looked stunning dressed head to toe in black and white in ‘My Fair Lady’ for her day at the races!

The finishing touches for your breathtaking entrance, a clutch bag that is not too cumbersome, shoes that you can walk in comfortably, and with sophistication, eye make-up that hints to definition of Cleopatra’s eyes and you will have captivated your audience at Ladies Day Royal Ascot – enjoy!

The Power of a Dress


Dressing up – and looking your loveliest, isn’t for me based on special occasions only, everyday, in my books is truly special.

The personal armor that we all wear, is about helping us to stand tall and confident, elegant and regal, our inner foibles we have to work on, but our clothing can give us a head start.

Interestingly, in the case of a woman’s wardrobe, no one garment has caused such a stir throughout time, and to this day other than ‘The

The dress whose construction can be a myriad of style lines, or simplicity of cut which lets the fabric do the talking, contains within ‘her’ the power to turn heads, start a conversation or stop one, ‘the dress’ – the right dress that is, does exactly that.

A dress of elegance is a quietly confident style, it doesn’t shout at you because she doesn’t need to, you will come to her.  Softness and frills don’t have to imply being submissive, femininity is a strength to be celebrated.

The fabric’s used for dresses, they too have their part to play, the fluidity of liquid silk, frolics with the sensuous shaping of the body especially when cut on the bias; jersey fabrics cling, drape and move with your contours and looks amazing in both day and evening wear.

That special dress is usually the number one factor at weddings, but wait, what about that first date, evening cocktails after work, a weekend away, office parties, a black tie event, the red carpet… the list continues to build.

Even the tomboy of a lady, has people doing a double-take when seen wearing a dress, there was a reason the fairy Godmother stepped in and said to Cinderella ‘you shall go to the ball’, and then the transformation took place.

Dresses, long, maxi, short, midi, have been head turners throughout the centuries, and will continue to be so.

Coral Turner – Couture Designer

A Pure Silk Scarf

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Biscuit Coloured Silk Scarf with Brown Silk

By Coral Turner, Couture Designer
Silk is nature’s tribute to beauty. Soft, sensual, exotic, a delight for the designer, it makes every woman feel beautiful; within herself, and for the beholder.

Silk a luxurious fibre that has been synonymous with status and wealth; produced through the wonders of nature, by the humble silk-worm in 18th century Britain a man’s dress sense was equally as flamboyant as his female counterpart and  bright coloured silks were considered the norm.

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Blue Silk Scarf

Legend has it, that silk was discovered 4,000 years ago by a Chinese princess when a cocoon dropped from a mulberry tree into her tea, and as it softened she was able to reel off a strong fibre from the cocoon, that fibre was silk.  It has been the choice of many Imperial subjects throughout the centuries, and is still one of the fabrics of choice today.

Throughout varying countries, in days of old the transformation of silk fibres into fabric through the process of hand-weaving on looms has been an artisan craft, handed down from generation to generation, one such country is India.

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Red Silk Scarf

Whilst a lot of silk is manufactured in factories, there are still villages where silk is produced in the home, some silk scarves  can take weeks to produce one single scarf.

With my love for fine fabrics I applaud such dexterous work, and the finished results always leave me in awe of the maker.  I have recently had the good fortune to be working with someone who brings nature’s bounty to us in the spirit of fair practices and with the belief that nature meant that its riches be shared by all. It’s also a tribute to the skills of the craftsmen that they have passed on their art over the centuries; they believed that their reward lay in the beauty of what they had designed.


Silk Latte Colour and Brown Silk Scarf

It’s not just the lustrous beauty of a silk scarf, but also its practicality in both warm and cold weather, and universal appeal to both the sexes.  The silk scarf draped around a man’s jacket whether for a night out at the theatre or as part of his general attire, is also the same protector worn as a stole over a woman’s shoulder’s whilst wearing a couture garment (by of course yours truly Coral Turner), the gentle drape of the silk scarf adds to the overall look of a garment.

Tied in a variety of fashions, coupled with its spectrum of rainbow colours the silk scarf is a staple wardrobe piece that everyone can experience, it’s one of the simplest of ways to look and feel sensational.
(Photography of silk scarves by Minna Rossi

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.

Handmade Silk Scarves from India


Wearing Hats

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 chignon, 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.

Ankle-length Skirts

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.

Accessories Less is More

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  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.