November, 2011

Curves in Couture.

Sun, 20th Nov 2011     


Fashion Show Fun






What a fabulous, fun filled night we had at the Models of Diversity, Curves in Couture fashion Show. It was a night of high drama with plenty of tension, loads of stress, nerves galore on behalf of most of the people involved, but there was also much giggling and laughter by the models backstage as they whipped clothes on and off in the tiniest of spaces, lots of chatter and good humour between the designers as we sat and waited for the show to start, and hopefully lots of enjoyment on behalf of the audience who clapped and cheered their way through a fantastic show.





So what was it all about?

The show was organised by the very inspirational Angel Sinclair who founded and runs a non profit organisation called “Models of Diversity”. The group advocates diversity amongst models in terms of race, age, size, shape, abilities etc. In conjunction with the Equalities Minister Lynne Featherstone, and the British Fashion Council the show was put together to change the face of fashion and modelling.




(One of the celebrities in attendance, the curvaceous American Model Velvet D'Amour )



I have to say I was rather excited to be asked to take part and to dress a group of models for the show. Having some of the best known and most beautiful plus size models from all over the world was utterly amazing. And being asked to make a show stopping piece for one of the top American models, Lizzie Miller, was really thrilling. You may remember Lizzie appeared in all our English newspapers last year as the model who dared to pose naked with an unairbrushed photo of herself showing a roll of tummy fat. The world gasped – how did she dare have the courage to do it? Lizzie is stunningly beautiful and showed the world what it is like to be a woman proud of who you are and what you are – and to get on with life as you are!



(Lizzie in one of my pieces at the fashion show)


I had great fun designing a soft slinky and very sexy opulent red silk dress for her that showed her curves off to perfection. Cut cleverly on the bias to drape perfectly over her hips, the dress flowed seductively as she walked.


Simple yet elegant.


The back did up with a delicate row of 50 tiny little covered buttons, with small tucks over her bottom to accentuate her great shape. The dress suited her perfectly, and as she walked down the catwalk magnificently I could not have been more proud of her or the dress!! ( I should add that I only met her the day before the show, so it was all slightly nervewracking to know whether or not it would fit her well, and whether it would indeed suit her!)



Lizzie in " The Red Dress! "


All the models were great fun. There is always much hilarity amongst piles of women getting ready for an event and a fashion show is no different. Unfortunately I have very few pics of backstage as it was all too manic to take many. But there was tonnes of gossip flying about, panic as shoes and pieces of jewellery were lost and then found, vast amounts of preening of course and pushing and heaving to look into an inadequate number of mirrors.



Curves in Couture Hair and Makeup

(The hairdressing headquarters – in a very squashy corridor !)



When you have over 20 of the most stunning girls together in one room there is bound to be an air of competition amongst them.. checking each other out and looking at what clothes each other is wearing. Pamela Stephenson made the comment whilst presenting the show, that she had not been in a room with so many magnificent sets of breasts, ever before – which I have to say is quite true as they were certainly everywhere one turned!!!! And for that matter there seemed to be a never ending amount of long fabulous legs about also, all very enviable I have to say, for us mere mortals!!



Curves in Couture - backstage with Lizzie, Chloe, Melissa and Tocara

(Backstage – Models – Lizzie,Chloe,Melissa and Toccara)


The photos of myself with the gorgeous Lizzie and Phillipa walking down the catwalk have not ceased to make me giggle for I was gripping onto them ever so tightly. You see I had this terrible fear of toppling over, for I had been regaled with their tales of 'soft spots'to watch out for on the catwalk, not to mention slippery patches! To soften the fear, I had the soles of my shoes 'hairsprayed' to make them a little more sticky! Still, I hung unto them for dear life!





( I also laugh at my shortness, for even with 4 inch heels taking me to around 5'10 I still look like a dwarf! )



I was lucky to have a fabulous team of supporters however to cheer me along! My Dad being my number one fan!!!

(Though I did get a number of reports that my Dad was caught chatting up all the gorgeous models and celebrities out the back!)




( Dad and Me !)



Jodie, my totally and utterly amazing assistant, was on hand and worked tirelessly out the back getting the models dressed in the most awkward of circumstances. She was literally squeezed into a corridor no wider than a metre where she expertly and delicately had to slip their dresses on and off. How Jodie managed to maintain any sense of organisation in such a space was beyond me! But she did it remarkably well and the girls came out onto the catwalk looking resplendent.




( Model- Danielle with Jodie, me and model Phillipa – Backstage afterwards )



Also part of my fabulous team present were Darina and Ingrid who made the magnificent red dress and my super duper assistant Renata with whom I would not survive without !




( Darina, Ingrid and Renata )



It was fabulous to chat with the other designers – The lovely Anna Scholz, seen here with Constance Williams who is wearing one of my one off dresses.



 (Anna Scholz and Constance Williams)



And the gorgeous Jill Alexander who was great to chat with also and have a laugh with. We couldn't help commenting on the fact that the three of us were all blonde curvaceous babes!!




( Jill Alexander – designer from California )



A fab after party wrapped the night up with a much needed drink – lots of dancing and more pics of the models…only this time they were taking the photos of themselves and each other!!! Have to say it did make me laugh, for I would have thought that by then they would have had enough of flashing bulbs!!





Curves in Couture afterparty 2

Curves in Couture afterparty

(Models being mad )


All great fun. A big thank you to all who made it happen!




( And the show ends!)


For all the pics please check out the home page of the website and the newspage.

The Argentine Tango

Tue, 1st Nov 2011     



Oh for the love of Tango!






Well girls…. I think I have found another 'gap' in the market!

There is simply no where to buy dresses to tango in.

Or as I have been told by many of my customers – to jive in, waltz in, or for that matter do the salsa in!

Maybe it is time I got to and put my creative juices into good use and designed some sexy little frocks that we can all spend many a happy night whirling around dance floors in. A real challenge I must say for many different dynamics come into play – like skirts that allow plenty of leg movement, but are still somewhat modest.




(A high leg kick in the tango)



But why specifically the tango?

Well, I will tell you another of my secret passions -


The Traditional Argentine Tango.


How I love learning it, tough as it is, and how I enjoy trying to get my feet around all those complex moves. The more I learn, the harder it seems to get, for the complexity is never ending.

Let me tell you a little more.

Years ago, on a very hot, sultry evening whilst in Buenos Aires, myself and my partner wandered past an old hall in San Telmo and happened to notice a small group of people learning the tango, sneaking in we sat and watched and I became inspired.






The scene was so reminiscent of the 1920's that it has stayed firmly in my mind. Five couples twirling around the floor to the traditional and sensual tango music played on a very dodgy gramophone player that kept jumping and missing segments of the songs. An incredibly wobbly, wooden fan moved lethargically around overhead, creating very little breeze, but perhaps psychologically helping to stave off the sweat. And to complete the picture, a skinny black cat sat on the sidelines watching and every now and again would nonchalantly meander through the dancers to the other side of the room – obviously wanting a better view of the dancing! I vowed one day to learn it myself… not because of the cat – I hasten to add – but for the intensity and passion that the dance evokes.

But as things go, one forgets and life gets busy, until last year when a friend happened to mention wanting to learn it. The desire came back and the search for suitable classes began.






And so it is, that every Monday evening, come rain, hail or shine, I venture into an old hall situated in the basement of a very unsuspecting building in West London for a good few solid hours of tango tuition. The atmosphere way down under the ground has the feel of an old London bomb shelter, with a somewhat musty, stale smell. No noise from the outside world invades. No fresh air seems to get down there either, nor for that matter mobile connection. With old cracked mirrors lining one wall and a slightly wonky wooden floor we really are cut off from the outside world. Argentina it is not… underground London it is.

What on earth, you are wondering, would inspire anyone to venture into such a situation?

The first time I traversed those bleak cement stairs way down into that basement, I did wonder myself. But when emerging some hours later like a damp rat from a sewer into the late evening air, and gasping for some 'freshness', I knew why. The tango is addictive.

London is alive with Traditional Tango Venues, and once one gets good enough to venture out of the classroom and into the dance halls that pepper London, the real tango dancing begins, as does the fun.






Or as in my case, the pain.

For as the saying goes – Pride Comes Before A Fall – as I rightly found out!

Last Friday night I ventured, with many of my tango class mates, to Negracha – a fabulous venue for Tango lovers.






Thinking I was doing rather well dancing my way around the crowded room with my very capable partner, I somehow scraped the thin heel of one of my shoes across my other ankle whilst attempting a tricky crossover move. Thinking nothing of it I kept dancing for a good few songs, before tiring and collapsing at one of the little candle lit tables that edge the dance floor.







On sitting down, I had a strange sensation of dampness running down my foot and into my shoe. Looking down, I discovered I had slashed my ankle badly from one side to the other with the sharp heel from the other shoe, causing a deep cut that did not look like it was ever going to stop bleeding.

Very, very uncool to sustain such an injury..for only an amateur would do such an ungainly thing!!!

And how utterly embarrassing.

So as the clock struck 1am, I did a Cinderella disappearance into the darkness of the night hoping no-one would see my cut ankle as I fled!


And yes, I did take both my dance shoes with me – one was not left on the stairs for Prince Charming to come and find me!!



( the killer heels!)

I recently read a fabulous article by Pamela Stephenson, who wowed the judges and the public last year on Strictly Come Dancing. So enamoured of the Argentine Tango was she, that earlier this year she went to Argentina for lessons with some old masters in the art. Speaking of the tango, Pamela stated that when dancing it well, it was the equivalent to seeing through a window into the soul of your partner, for the very movements and steps are so heartfelt and raw, and so close is one to their partner, that their innermost feelings are felt transferring through into your body.






Sounds truly fabulous.


Though I have an awfully long way to go before I can make such sentiments. I hate to disappoint but all I am feeling this morning is lots of aches and pains from last night's exertions, attempting to perfect the many twists and turns that make up so much of the dance. (Without slashing ones ankle in the process!)

Not quite the romantic notion one has of the tango… but I will get there one day I hope!!

But enough waffling ladies – it is time I thought of designing some slinky little dance frocks that we are all so desperately needing. As mentioned earlier, I know so many of you are enthusiasts of many forms of dancing and have mentioned to me the need to find dresses to move with the groove in!

Keep those shoes twirling and whirling and any ideas for dresses will be greatly appreciated!




( My favourite dance shoes -slinky red satin!)


A little tango music to end with ….

(Click on the link below)


Argentine Tango

And an example of traditional Milonga dancing…

(click on the link below)


Tradional Milonga Dance




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