Philmore Clague

Charcoal cowl neck dress, by Philmore ClagueLet me introduce you to my latest fashion find. A brand that manages to be tailored and grown-up, whilst also being quirky and fun. This is the sort of clothing that makes you look and feel great, whilst also attracting compliments by the truck load. Exactly the sort of thing my wardrobe needs. But, because this brand appeals to (and suits) a wide range of women, I reckon your wardrobe probably needs it too. The brand is called Philmore Clague and, whether you like your fashion high-end designer, high street or vintage-inspired, I think you’ll adore their carefully crafted skirts, dresses, tops and jackets.

The designer behind the brand is Philip Moore-Clague – better known to pretty much everyone as Philmore – who first took an interest in design after joining a theatre company as a teenager and making costumes, and then making outfits for himself and his friends. In the 1990s, he found himself in London, working for a fashion label that played a major part in the rise of vintage and also the increased popularity of recycling of old garments into new. In 1999, he took on the former shop premises of that brand to start a new project and start to plan his own label. Thus Philmore Clague, the fashion brand, was born in 2003.

Red 'Mirra' dress by Philmore ClagueSo, if it’s ten years old, why have you not heard of Philmore Clague? Well, the label has a dedicated cult following, but was never able to spread its wings much past old London town because the only place to buy Philmore’s designs was in the shop next to What Katie Did on Portobello Road. Until now! There has been much excitement amongst my friends about the launch of the Philmore Clague online shop, so I had to share this news with you all. Those of us who don’t live in west London have Catherine from Kiss Me Deadly to thank for having better access to this fantastic designer’s wares. She says, over on the KMD blog:

Increasingly when you see pictures of me at work events, I’m wearing something Philmore made, often to order for my exact measurements. He also has the most amazing core range of butt-lifting pencil skirts, modern circle skirts, and the most fabulous cowl necked dressed and tops. In several years of going to his shop, I’ve never seen anyone that didn’t look great in them. The man is a pattern cutting genius. He especially enjoys the kind of hourglass and pear shapes I tend to make for, but I’ve seen straight up and down figures looking especially sleek in there too.

Much as I love going to the shop, trying on 30 things and then going to see What Katie Did (right next door, handily), I’m not someone who gets out much. So over Christmas I finally got exasperated, and made him a website! This has the side effect of meaning that now, I can accidentally buy another dress overnight… but so can you!

All Philmore Clague pieces are produced in the UK to high ethical standards, with items generally priced from 35 up to 200. The best part, for those of us who don’t generally fit into off the peg dresses, is that most pieces can be made to measure at no additional charge. If the charcoal cowl necked dress hadn’t made it onto my wishlist before, it certainly does now!

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