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It is a little known fact that the first couture house to be established in Paris was opened by an English designer Charles Worth.

Prior to his arrival in Paris, the ladies of the French court had been visited in their homes by dressmakers who humbly undertook the instructions of the lady of the house and copied and adapted designs based on those worn by the Empress Eugenie who had her own in-house seamstresses.
Soon the court was queuing at his door and other designers opened 'houses' in the fashionable areas of the city.

There is still a distinct difference between a bespoke garment, designed for an individual client, cut from a carefully constructed pattern which has been made to specific measurements and sewn with love and care by skilled hands and a garment produced by an amateur dressmaker!

I like to think that as a designer, I treat my clients more kindly than Charles Worth.
He was described as “a little black nervous creature who stretched carelessly on a divan in a velvet coat with a cigar between his lips.” " Walk! Turn! Good! Come back in a week and I will compose you a toilette that will suit you". I don't think so!

However I have inherited something from him. His favourite mill in Carlisle, Linton Tweeds, who celebrated their centenary in 2010 are still supplying the Paris fashion houses with the most beautiful cloth and indeed we made a stunning coat and dress which was seen on television worn by the Lady Mayoress at The Lord Mayor's show in November 2011.

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    It is a little known fact that the first couture house to be established in Paris was opened by an English designer Charles Worth. Prior to...

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