I have chosen Bruce Oldfield OBE to be my first male interviewee. Bruce is a British designer extraordinaire. His Little Black Book reads like a Who's Who of Hollywood, royalty and aristocracy. He dresses some of the most stylish women across the globe and every time I have called in to visit him in his Beauchamp Place boutique I have seen him dressing either an A-List actress, a global pop star or just a lucky lady like me who wants to buy something special. I chose Bruce to make the outfit for my OBE inauguration with The Queen and he made me feel a million dollars!
I stopped by this week to ask him some questions;
Bruce, I loved reading your autobiography 'Rootless', I could see that the lady who fostered you from the famous Barnardo's children's home, your mum Violet, influenced your love of design and clothes. What was the defining moment which took you into the world of design? What advice would you give to a young 20 year old with the same passion?
It is said that at the age of 7 I sat at the side of my mum and did a drawing of the dress that a customer of hers was describing as the wedding dress of her dreams. The drawing didn't survive but my love of clothes and fashion did. I think I would tell them to first of all learn the craft of making clothes as this is the true starting point for a career designing them. This can be learnt at college or as an apprentice to a designer or tailor. I would tell them to then go out and get as much practical experience in different areas of the field -in retail, in PR and marketing and then try to pick up some business skills. They will probably be 25-30 by the time they've achieved the above and, if they've constantly practiced their drawing skills and watched how trends evolve, they may then be ready to start a career in fashion. They must understand that not everyone is going to be Giorgio Armani - there just isn't the space. However, there are so many areas in this industry that need talented, committed people - without whom it would fail.
So many people admired your work when you were dressing the late Diana, Princess of Wales and she just looked stunning at every occasion, but which was your favourite dress for her?
There are a couple, but the stand-out dress was the petrol and gold lame pleated dress that I made for an event that I organised for Barnardo’s in 1985. It was backless and when I danced with her it was hard to know where to put my hands!
Today you are dressing such varied styles in your leading ladies from Rihanna to Sienna Miller to Queen Rania of Jordan, how do you help make them all look so stunning and at the same time keep their individual characters?
It’s firstly a question of their lifestyle and what their position requires, so usually Royal ladies don't show a lot of skin but are quite happy to show a well-maintained silhouette. Others require the opposite and once this is grasped it's relatively easy to get the outfits right.
I saw you dressed eleven ladies for the wedding of The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, with top designers all over the world commenting. Please do share with me what your plans are for 2014, 2015 and onwards?
Yes, that was a good day, seeing 'the famous and the good' in my dresses. For the immediate future I plan to continue with my trunk shows to the US, building a new clientele for Bruce Oldfield couture and bridal wear and at the other end of the market place I am in talks with a number of people to produce a more affordable range of clothing. This will hopefully be launched in the UK in Spring 2015 but I really want to stretch out to the Middle East and Asia, particularly in ready-to-wear bridal and occasion wear.
Thank you for making in your couture studio our first Winser London trench coat, selected by Emma Watson recently and worn after the Oscars. This will be available for people to buy later in April. What other items from the collection are your favourites?
I love the new British tweed pieces, it's something classic and modern at the same time and they are good items to bring out year after year. I also love the Maxi Milano Coat and like the look of your Draped Jersey Palazzo Pant.
We are launching our website to the international markets this month (2nd April) and you are internationally renowned as one of the very best British couture designers, if not the best. What would you say to the ladies reading this about how to dress to feel confident each day?
The best advice is to take an honest look at yourself in the mirror then go out and pick something that suits your body type, your lifestyle and your bank balance and you'll always feel confident.