The Times Article

Lucia Silver specialises in dressing women for all kinds of occasions – including brides – on all kinds of budgets. Her Notting Hill shop has become a beacon for those seeking simple solutions to complicated lifestyles. Not that the results are predictable or simplistic. Silver often starts by suggesting one of her plain silk dresses, which she then customises with embroidery, corsages and beading, before adding an opera coat or embroidered jacket, bags and hair accessories. It sounds theatrical but it’s surprisingly functional.

“If you get three of four of the right basics, you should be able to create seven or eight different looks,” she says.

Her definition of basics tend to be silk-satin and bias cut – which done properly, are flattering on all shapes, she insists. Having worked for J. Walter Thompson (her last mission was to hire Kate Moss for the Rimmel campaign) she knows the pressure that fashion exerts. “There’s a vested interest in creating impulse buying. It’s fatally easy to end up with a wardrobe where not enough works together.” There are a lot of corporate women who spend a fortune on clothes and end up in stuff they hate.”

Silver calls what she does handbag alchemy (you can take the girl out of advertising, but you can’t get her to go cold turkey on slogans). “Give them a great black skirt or trousers, a tunic, toss in an embroidered coat, maybe a scarf they can wear as a belt; it’s all stuff they can put in their bag so that they can transform an outfit and go straight from work. Strong accessories are the best investment; they can make an outfit look completely different, and they’re not seasonal.”

Silver changes her collections once rather than twice a year, though since most pieces are customised, lack of choice is hardly an issue – a woman can walk out with an entire wardrobe, or one stunning 1920′s evening purse and the number of Silver’s Pilates instructor. It’s that personal.

L shaped groom – By Lisa Armstrong

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