When entrepreneur Marianna Ferro was a student – first in Milan at Bocconi University and then at the London School of Economics – she wrote her dissertation on successful models for selling luxury online. She also worked for online fashion retailer Yoox, long before it was the fashion giant it is today. What followed, however, was 15 years in finance – as a trader, a private equity adviser and in international development – before Ferro decided to return to her interest in fashion and launch Flair Atelier, an online platform for smartly customisable, made-to-order dresses.
Ferro’s experience in business has given her a good idea of what working women want in their wardrobes – and Flair Atelier offers three dress silhouettes, put together by former Burberry design director Dean Thomas. The No 100 (from £290) is a clean-cut shift shape; the No 200 (from £330) hugs the body with a more fitted shape; and the No 300 (from £360) is a flattering fit-and-flare dress. Each can be customised with a choice of six necklines (from a simple V-neck to an elegant tie-neck), seven sleeve options, a choice of skirt length and, of course, size, which ranges from four to 16. For the time being, the “colour” options are black, white or a mixture of both, but, says Ferro, this will evolve.
The final product is rendered on screen before being cut and constructed by hand, in London and Italy, then shipped within a fortnight. “Our fabrics are made by some of the best Italian mills,” says Ferro of the tactile crêpe-cady and stretch-cady viscose that appear in each design, as well as the linings and lace inserts. Fabric swatches can be sent out before an order is placed, and in London Flair Atelier can book an appointment with one of its travelling tailors, who will check measurements and ensure a perfect fit. “You will soon see new customisable garments and colours on the website,” adds Ferro. “We are also working on a ‘travelling collection’ – a capsule wardrobe designed for women travelling for business that is made from a high-performance and entirely wrinkle-free fabric.”