The Semple Dress Collection
Back in February, I was intrigued to come across an announcement on Twitter inviting intellectually curious women who were interested in fashion to take part in a focus group. Well, I love fashion, I’m definitely a curious person (I’ll leave others to decide about the intellectual bit!), and I’d never been to a focus group before, so I dropped them a line and luckily there was one space left.
I had no idea what to expect as I made my way to Maggie Semple’s office and showroom which forms part of a row of beautiful Georgian buildings tucked away down a tiny little alleyway called Goodwin’s Court, near Covent Garden. (The location is famous for featuring in the Harry Potter films and Maggie warned us that we’d periodically see crowds of tourists walking by the window, which we did!)
There was such a fascinating mix of women there, including a lady in her late 60’s who’d just started working as a model and actor; a life coach; a musician; an event consultant and the founder of Rococo chocolates, Chantal Coady who had recently received an OBE for her services to chocolate making!
The format of the session involved a mixture of answering questions about our fashion likes/dislikes, where we preferred to shop, how much we would spend etc. We were also shown two different dress designs and a variety of prints for fabrics, and asked to select our favourites. The whole afternoon was so interesting and prompted lots of discussion, not just about clothes. Maggie is an incredibly inspiring person and she spoke about the ethos behind the Semple Dress Collection, explaining how she enjoys wearing beautiful, well-cut clothing made from exquisite fabrics.
However, that was just the beginning of a story that has now resulted in the creation of two beautiful styles of dress. As a follow-up to our session, we were invited to afternoon tea at The Club at The Ivy to see a sample of one of the designs and to discover what the focus group findings had revealed. We also heard about Maggie’s team’s progress in sourcing fabrics, and their plans for the launch of the collection; all this whilst partaking of dainty sandwiches, scones, cakes and tea in the Art Deco-style surroundings of the Club’s library – a real treat indeed!
The whole process culminated in another chance for us to get together to actually see and touch the exquisite Italian fabrics, and to indicate our preferences. If you’re someone who cares not only about the cut and quality of your clothing, but also about its provenance, then you will love the Semple dresses; they are simple, elegant, timeless, and yet unique, and are perfect for both work and also special occasions.
Below you can see some of the fabric choices and the two beautiful dress designs. If you would like your very own Semple dress, then email firstname.lastname@example.org. And do take a look at Maggie’s wonderful website, full of inspiring and entertaining stories about fashion, women and life!