We have had the good fortune to receive commissions from a rich diversity of clients and organisations. Here is just a small sampling of some of our favourites.
The 'flying suit' pictured here, was a personal flight of fancy provoked by the thought of using different materials to tailor a suit. This full-sized garment was made from telephone wire.
(Photographs: Iñaki Pardo www.inakipardo.com)
Metropolitan Museum of Fashion
'About Time' (2020)
This was certainly one of my most challenging commissions to date. Every year the Metropolitan Museum of Fashion (NY) features a special year-long exhibition, the contents of which go into their permanent collection. The concept behind their 'About Time' exhibition was to review some of the iconic influences over the past 150 years, and, the fashion business being what it is, to assign acknowledgement of the original designs to their rightful owners.
I was commissioned to recreate items from one of the outstanding collections of the 80's. Georgina Godley's 'Bump and Lump' collection featured silhouettes that hovered between the beautiful and the grotesque. "Everyone had the perfect body,” she observed of the 1980s. “My work was all about challenging the perspective of what could be beautiful. It was all the things we learned to consider ugly.”
16 Outfits for Sixteen People
'This special commission of a limited edition of garments for Joseph, working with the designer Georgina Godley, involved exploring a range of complicated fabrics, each with their own characters and tolerances. Because it combined both new and antique materials it became a study in advanced couture techniques.
Here are four examples.
Sir Jeremy Irons
We received a special commission to help celebrate the installation of Sir Jeremy Irons to the position of Chancellor of Bath Spa University. A competition was held amongst the cohort of fashion design students and the winner, Suzy Gallina, had the task of designing and realising the Chancellor's robes for the ceremony. Our role was to mentor the process; interpreting her design and creating the new garment.
The main cloth was specially sourced and dyed the colour of 'woad', and all embellishments were hand crafted. These images chart the process.
HRH Queen Noor of Jordan
It was a very special and unexpected surprise to receive a commission to restyle a wardrobe for such a high profile client.
This is becoming an increasingly interesting area of specialisation. Clients who have accumulated a unique wardrobe over the years are understandably reluctant to leave it behind as their requirements change. My work at the Royal Opera House, in addition to a number of fashion and tailoring houses, proved to be of considerable help, as many of these special garments had a sense of costume.
Lou Reed/Laurie Anderson
I am both an avid music lover and an amateur violinist. Some years ago I volunteered to participate in a massed gathering of 'fiddlers' at the Royal Festival Hall's 'Meltdown Festival' for which the artistic director was Laurie Anderson. When she found out I was a tailor she commissioned me to make a jacket for her appearances throughout the festival.
Imagine my surprise when my telephone rang one morning and a rather rugged, gruff voice said, "I loved what you did for Laurie. I wan't you to do the same for me". It was Lou!
Olympic Games, 2012/16
GB Shooting Team
For a period we were in house tailors for the world renowned emporium dedicated to field sports, Holland and Holland. The opportunity to create the shooting uniforms for Team GB, all highly technical garments, was both a challenge and a joy.
It was a thrill to watch Peter Wilson take the gold medal.
Visit to the Palace
Minister of Culture
Embassy of Japan
One couldn't imagine a more formal occasion than being presented to Her Majesty the Queen. This commission was for the Minister of Culture at the Embassy of Japan when she was required to accompany the Ambassador as he presented his credentials to the Queen at Buckingham Palace.
Mentoring ~ Prize winners
Hand & Lock
It was a pleasure to give something back to the training of young practitioners. Hand & Lock are world famous embroidery specialists. They have been in business since 1762, and every year they hold a global competition for aspiring embroiders. I have mentored three of their participants, all of whom took first prize in their respective categories.
These images chart the process of design and implementation for two of them; Ami Waring, and Julia Titchfield.
Ami’s piece brought an added complexity with the use of leather as the base cloth. To corset the piece, she introduced spiral boning to support the intricately beaded and decorated sections. Happy go lucky insects, animated with beads and embroidery adorned her finished submission.
Julia was the first student that Hand & Lock asked me to mentor for the competition. The challenge was finding a method by which to join 3 sections: an origami folded skirt, fitted bodice, and macrame halter. For this, Julia produced beautifully decorated, embroidery-covered buttons and loops created with button hole stitches. This solution created movement by allowing the sections to swing in place.