A stroll along the seafront in a vintage inspired crumpled linen coat
A few days spent relaxing in Weymouth makes me want to celebrate the unusual joys of the British seaside. It is a resort defined by the great sweeping curve of its Georgian seafront and the stunning view of the Jurassic cliffs in the distance. As a young child I fell in love with Lulworth and have returned regularly to this section of the Dorset coastline at all times of the year to find it a continuing source of inspiration and creativity. It was here that I began to design my coats, rejecting fleeces and windcheaters in neutral colours and sensible shades of blue, in favour of crumpled linens in shell pink, vivid violet or carmine red, each embellished with vintage inspired trimmings sourced from the nearby shops such as So ‘n’ Sews. I was also fortunate to find in the local antiquarian bookshops, costume books from the early 20th century containing historically correct patterns for garments from different eras from which I was able to adapt designs. I am currently working on some cards using these templates.
It is hard not to feel the influence of History, Literature and nature in this part of the world. ‘The Return of the Native’ is one of my most favourite books set in the region. The pictures show one of my smock coats inspired by my great love for Thomas Hardy’s novels and the pastoral clothing worn by his characters. The choice of the colour red came from the influences of historical military uniforms, as Weymouth was important for its coastal defences during the era of the Napoleonic wars. Another of my designs, the Regency Bow coat, was inspired by the novel, ‘Persuasion’ by Jane Austen, which was partly set in the nearby Lyme Regis. When I think ‘Georgian’, I think’ linen’.
Apart from the beautiful countryside, this area also offers some lovely boutique shops and independent stores. In Weymouth there is BiBi’s Boutique, Global House and La Luna, all of which offer an eclectic and unusual range of interior and fashion items. In the pictures the linen smock coat is shown with one of my vintage linen tote bags photographed with a pair of cluster earrings made from beads and stones from the Fossil Shop in Weymouth. Nearby Dorchester, with its beautifully carved architectural stonework is also home to a number of interesting shops including Ceridian, selling beautiful pottery items, and Words Etcetera, an antiquarian bookshop which never fails to turn up some item of desirable literary interest. Like many seaside resorts, this area has its fair share of charity shops, many of which can be plundered for their quality second hand goods. I always manage to buy some coloured glass or vintage Denby crockery to add to my collections.
Many people travel the great distances to find something better, but I say, it’s not what you have, but how you view it and what you do with it that makes the difference. The Jurassic coast provides a constant resource for any designer maker.