For bespoke dressmaker Lisa Redman, there is no such thing as simple daywear. Her clothes are dreamy and deeply indulgent at all times. “Even if I’m making an outfit for work, it’s going to be feminine and very luxurious,” says the west London-based designer, who worked for Betty Jackson, Anthony Symonds and Elspeth Gibson before branching out on her own in 2007. “A work suit might be a circle skirt [from £1,200] and Peter Pan-collared jacket [from £2,400] with a peplum in a pretty blush, made from doeskin cashmere.”
Her most popular requests are hand-embellished cashmere coats and capes (from £3,500) – often paired with soft nappa leather gloves (£260-£375) that are made to order by a master craftsman in the West Country – and the sublimely chic silk crepe Ying Yang dress (from £2,890), so called for its dual-panelled top and skirt based around the Chinese symbol, which can be created in any colour and embellished with crystals and freshwater pearls. “I want all of our clothes to be standalone, beautiful pieces that can be worn for a lifetime,” says Redman, who credits her passion for timeless, old-world glamour to a trunkful of exquisite clothes she inherited from her grandmother.
Redman’s classic go-to shapes include silk crepe T-shirts (from £1,300), which can be embellished with ostrich feathers and crystals, as well as smart silk jacquard cropped trousers (from £1,000) and pencil skirts (from £1,000), sometimes with an additional flourish of embroidery. But her bespoke service can also start entirely from scratch. “Our clients are looking for unique luxury; they don’t want to buy ‘in season’ or run the risk of someone else wearing the same thing at a public event. Working with us, they get exactly what works for them: the right silhouette, their choice of cloth, hand-embellished or otherwise, and all made to fit perfectly.”
Redman’s clients – who include jazz singers and financiers, such as Helena Morrissey, Legal & General’s head of personal investing – run from repeat customers who entrust a large proportion of their wardrobe to her to those in search of a special one-off piece for an event. After an initial meeting, her team will create a toile before the actual garment is cut and constructed, taking in a couple of fittings along the way at her Notting Hill atelier. It’s a labour-intensive process that takes between six months and a year. “We work with highly skilled artisans across the UK,” adds Redman. “I’m very happy to be part of keeping this sort of work alive.”