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Understated British brands that will help you dress in style for the summer season

Understated British brands that will help you dress in style for the summer season


Even the most confident dressers can be put off by a special occasion, especially if it’s the kind they haven’t been to recently, if ever. The good news is that Britain has a small army of designers who are both well-known (Erdem, Emilia Wickstead and, increasingly, Suzannah, London) and relatively understated, who excel in casual wear and know the rules better than anyone.

Suzannah, for example, combines an eye for fashion with an encyclopedic knowledge of the various dress codes that still permeate events like Royal Ascot. She’s well known for calming down confused mothers of the groom and kindly advising mothers of the bride who don’t want to sound like the mother of the bride (when did that become such a maligned topic) and generally directing clients around many social landmines invisible to novices.

In addition to her own sleek, chic silhouettes, she sells millinery like Jane Taylor so you can get the head-to-ankle look (you’ll have to source shoes elsewhere, but her sales staff can advise, and they’re not so noble that they won’t tell you when Zara has great heels). If you can’t make it to London, she sells online, but when you’re spending that much, nothing beats trying in-store and having them make the necessary alterations.

The names here aren’t exactly cheap, as no compromises have been made on quality. If you’re a perfectionist on a mainstream budget, seek out second-hand pieces from Emilia Wickstead, Erdem and Roksanda, three London Fashion Week stars who know how to dress a bit British. Where to consult Coco Conran who makes lovely linen dresses to order (sizes 4 to 30) in her London studio for the remarkable price of £200.

Time and money spent on specialty clothing is well spent. Concrete example ; the perfectly fitted Laura Green coat dress that Zara Tindall wore to the coronation. She has never looked so beautiful. As for those white Fiona Clare column dresses that Queens new companions wore to the Abbey, they were so understated, flattering (those elongated V-necks) and appropriate for the task at hand, it’s hard to imagine anyone do a better job.

From the making of Suzannah’s embroidery on the Duchess of Edinburgh’s ivory coronation robe (supervised by Jenny King) to the silver bullion used on Jess Collett’s whimsical alternative tiara for the Princess of Wales and the collaboration between Safiyaa , the London-based ready-to-wear brand and embroiderers Hand & Locks, who designed the teal cape dress Penny Mordaunts, the range and breadth of independent designers in this country is powerful.

Claire Mischevani

If you were looking to order an outfit from Claire Mischevani, perhaps for an upcoming wedding, or for Royal Ascot, you might have discovered in the last couple of weeks that her website had indeed crashed. Mischevani, who ran her brand from a small workshop in Shrewsbury for more than 20 years, dressed Pippa Matthews and Akshata Murty for the coronation and was so inundated with interest after she had to put a notice on the front page from its website; Following the resounding success of the outfits, there will be a small delay in the delivery of our orders. The consequences have been truly incredible, she now tells The Telegraph.




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