It’s not surprising that many stylists go on to create their own fashion labels. Their experience in getting to grips with exactly what clothes women want and need in their lives can be channelled directly into targeted collections – as is the case with Jet Shenkman, who worked as a personal stylist in Hong Kong and Japan before moving back to London with her family and setting up her demi-couture label Eponine. Along with head designer Petar Petrov, Shenkman creates beautifully feminine pieces to order (from £2,100) – as well as off-the-peg ones via her online store.
Her style draws on vintage shapes from the 1950s and 1960s – neat little skirt suits and fit-and-flare dresses that appeal to women who want chic contemporary pieces but with the elegance of the midcentury. But it’s the exquisite fabrics that set them apart and have won her patronage from the Duchess of Cambridge, actress Cressida Bonas and theatre director Sophie Hunter. Clients can choose from wools from British mills, bouclé fabrics from France, and the gorgeous signature prints found across southeast Asia – all mostly vintage. “I source vintage kimonos, which are all between 20 and 50 years old, as well as vintage Thai fabrics,” says Shenkman. “I love the detail in them. And the idea that each of these pieces has already had such a history.”
Each custom-made item begins with a toile being created at the Kensington atelier, followed by two or three more fittings (or more for particularly complex designs), before the final design is constructed. Orders normally take six weeks from start to finish. Shenkman is also developing her own digitally printed silk satin that will be used for linings, so that clothes are as beautiful inside as they are on the outside.