Fashioned in Sussex
PUBLISHED: 08:37 20 August 2010 | UPDATED: 17:44 20 February 2013
Bespoke fashion designer Lisa Redman's business is blooming with a growing list of famous and noble customers but, as she tells us, her influences began with her upbringing in East Sussex.
Tell us a little about your childhood.
I grew up in the village of Framfield, mum and dad bought a crumbling square oast-house when I was five and embarked upon renovating it from a total wreck a major project, which is still ongoing, due to the never ending flow of new ideas from my dad!
My child hood as an only child was pretty idyllic, living in the middle of nowhere, with lots of beautiful countryside surrounding me. I had a great relationship with my parents, and still do with my father. Very sadly and suddenly my fabulous mother passed away two years ago but she continues to be a major influence in my life.
We always had lots of people around, and would have weekends with close friends. Both my mum and dada are also only children so family was not a big part of growing up. However my grandmothers were both present, and I loved spending Summers with my Nanny Agnes. The glamorous Nanny Marge who passed away when I was around six still influences me today when I recall her piled high hair and red lipstick. So although I was the only one it was never lonely. And actually when we did have time alone, I was always fine with my own company.
I loved school and was clearly creative as opposed to academic and had the full support of my mum and dad to excel in this area. They rooted for me the whole way, encouraging me to do what I loved and was best at, which shaped my future. They believed in me always.
What are your fondest memories of your time in the county?
My fondest memories of the countryside are the long walks, climbing through the holes in the trees, sledging with my mum, dad and playing with the dogs. Family life really. Just enjoying all that the country had to offer with the people that I love
Do you come back often?
It varies and depends on my schedule in London. I quite often feel it is not often enough. And would love to move back eventually although I love London, Sussex is where I think of as home.
Where are your favourite places in Sussex (this could be to visit, eat out, just chill or any other reason)?
I absolutely adore Charleston farmhouse, it is such an inspirational place, and however much I go I never tire of this extrodinary home.
And all that it is stuffed with.. from Picaasos to Renoir , from Sickert to Delacroix. Its like a painted treasure trove. Most Saturday mornings you can find my dad at Bills in Lewes, so when we are home we follow suit.
My husband, my dad and usually his mate, all sit for hours putting the world to rights at the long communal tables. It is really trendy now, but years ago it used to be the fruit and veg shop where mum and I would buy the vegetables on a weekly basis, so we have watched it grow and develop into the huge success it now is.
I go to the Griffin pub in Fletching for dinner or in the summer the Sunday barbecue which gets the thumbs up, with its garden looking out on to the Downs and great food. I cannot think of any where better to spend a summers day.
In the winter its a race to the best seats by the open fire indoors with a hearty dinner. Lastly, the West Pier in Brighton, although it is now just a skeleton frame, which is so very sad , you can see how spectacular this wreck was. I have always been fascinated by it, and in fact went on it when I was at college and it was due to be done up. It was totally surreal, faded grandeur, I always find curious.
Do you think your Sussex background has had an influence on your work?
Yes most definitely particularly the work of the Bloomsbury group and Charleston Farmhouse. Also the surroundings of the incredible countryside and the sweeping Downs, all influence me
Do you have any favourite current designers or greats from the past that have influenced you?
I tend to not be influenced by favourite designers. Of course, I look at what everyone is up to, but I can be influenced from anything and everything. I do look at what people wear, and I think in London and Sussex there are a lot of people with an individual style , which is brilliant. I can be influenced by a colour combination, a painting,, antique textiles. If I were to name one designer from the past it would be Christian Dior. Those dresses are just dreamy.
What is the current state of the bespoke fashion industry? Is demand still high?
Yes .. this is most definitely a luxury service, with a luxury price tag but for the discerning woman with many events to attend or a lady with a special occasion,or a bride wearing possibly the most important dress she will ever wear, this ensures the most incredible piece of clothing that would be special not only for that day but beyond a lifetime. These are serious clothes that are hand embellished, hand stitched, and hand crafted, yet are there to be loved and enjoyed. Ultimately they make you feel incredible it is a real treat and one that every woman should experience .
What are the looks that most people are asking for at the moment in daywear?
As the winter season is approaching many of our clients are starting to prepare for the colder months, so we are working on a lot of very luxurious cashmere coats out of fabric that feels like butter, they are the ultimate winter warmer. For the Christmas party and cocktail dresses are being designed from luxurious silks with some subtle tonal embellishment.
And in bridalwear?
For us, many of our clients come to us for our expertise in embellished gowns. So they are looking at crystal embroidery, for that touch of sparkle, or the more subtle French laces that we use to embellish with tonal thread work. Really the wedding gowns are works of art, they have so many skilled people working on them to create these unique, special pieces.
Can you tell us the names of any famous customers and what you made for them?
We make for many inspirational and influencial women, however part of this service is our discretion. I create exclusive pieces to ensure that no one else is seen in the same piece.
I can tell you about the dress that I just made for the now Countess of Pembroke, who married earlier this year at Wilton House.
We made a dress that dreams are made of it was a fairytale dress which was emebellished with freshwater pearls, hand made silk flowers, and French lace appliqus, that were placed as if trailing though the dress. It was an absolute pleasure to see it at the wedding itself in situ at this beautiful house on the stunning bride.
Not everyone can afford bespoke, although everyone would like it. Are there any little tips that brides can take to make their dress unique?
Its a shame that bespoke does have a high price to accompany it but when you see the amount of work and skill involved it becomes clear why.
If your budget cannot stretch to bespoke perhaps you could look at buying a little Vintage accessory ( I say accessory as it is so hard to get good quality vintage dresses many dont survive in great condition, and you do not want anything less than perfect for such an important day.) something like a beaded cape, a woven bag.
I like the idea of a piece with a history to it and you know no one else will have anything the same.
FIND OUT MORE
To find out more about Lisa Redmans clothes visit www.lisaredman.co.uk