The designer Lalage Beaumont talks about her love of classic tailoring and how to master formal dressing.
Lalage Beaumont, whose boutique is located in the heart of Knightsbridge, and who delivers her collections worldwide via her website, is the go-to shop for beautifully crafted occasion and business wear. An advocate of timeless silhouettes, clean lines and playful prints, Lalage Beaumont has carved a niche as London’s principal brand for chic and easy to wear separates and smart outfits.
The creative director behind the brand, Lalage Beaumont launched her eponymous label in 2004, following design stints at both Aquascutum and Mulberry. This fuelled her passion and talent for creating luxurious eventwear and a no-frills approach to design: ‘You want to feel special, but never self-conscious.’
With a chic and timeless aesthetic that appeals to all women, the designer is certainly flying the flag for luxe British tailoring. The intricate tweeds come from Linton Tweeds in Carlisle (a mill used by Chanel since 1924), silk jacquards from Suffolk, the exclusive prints from Como and other fabrics are the finest that Europe has to offer. Each piece is then handcrafted meticulously in England, in fact in London.
The collection includes elegant dresses, coats, jackets and tailored trousers to match in a rainbow of vibrant colours, pretty pastel shades and statement prints. Yes, it’s classic and proudly so, but the cuts are sharp and on-trend and contemporary touches run through the collection. Lalage Beaumont also specialises in that tricky art of top-to-toe styling, offering matching hats, sumptuous suede clutch bags or gorgeous leather totes. However, nothing here looks contrived, something Lalage Beaumont has mastered with ease.
Sustainability is close to the designer’s heart — she’s passionate about investment dressing, urging her clients to opt for separates that will not only stand the test of time, but can be styled in many different ways: ‘Clothes should be like old friends — you enjoy going back to them to wear again, rather than something you wear only once and then put in the back of the cupboard.’ Sourcing as locally as possible and making in London also keeps the ‘carbon-footprint’ in check and allows for a close relationship with the workrooms where the clothes are produced.
You’ve worked for famous British design houses such as Aquascutum. How has this inspired the way you design and create each collection?
Starting my career at Aquascutum was wonderful. Quality, expertise and attention to detail were everywhere and, although my design ethos is quite different, since launching the Lalage Beaumont brand in 2004, I still put my collection together in the same way by building up the colour stories with small sketches on boards. My time at Mulberry was also very influential as until then I hadn’t been involved with handbags or leather goods and I was able to learn about leather and bag making from seasoned experts. Mulberry also had the knack of delivering ‘modern British’ and I hope I do the same in my own way.
Your bag collection is a big part of the business — tell us about your top-to-toe approach to styling an outfit.
The bag collection includes everything from stylish work totes, to neat clutches and our signature classic trapeze-shaped, structured bags in a wide array of sizes and colours. There’s something for day to day, but we also offer hats and bags to complete an occasion-wear look, which clients find invaluable.
You are passionate about investment dressing. How do you create new designs each season that are both fresh and timeless?
Clean lines cut well in beautiful fabrics are always timeless. The freshness comes from an ever-changing colour palette with tweaks here and there to keep the shapes up to date. I’m passionate about designing each piece in every collection so it will stand the test of time. When a client visits the shop, my aim is for her to find the jacket or dress that will live on well beyond one season, which can be worn in so many different ways.
Which key pieces in the collection would you advise investing in that work for multiple occasions?
A great tweed jacket is invaluable — sharp for work, but also the ideal piece to smarten up a pair of jeans for Sunday lunch. Our jersey tops are the perfect under-piece for every conceivable occasion.
Are there any golden rules that you use as a starting point as to what might work for your age, body shape, colouring or personality?
Not really, as everyone is so different. I do really believe that any of our styles can be worn by any age. Shift dresses are something that work very well on all shapes. Often, bigger ladies think that something flowing and loose is good to hide behind, but, actually, a well-tailored shift dress with defined shoulders that fits you properly is flattering because it gives you a neat shape and looks good. Generally, blondes aren’t good in blue-reds and look fabulous in pastels. Brunettes look great in strong blues and blue-greens.
Bold colour or statement print?
Both! We create variety within each collection, not only in colour, but also in fabric, styles and textures. From jacquards, tweeds and plains, in short, boxy jackets or long silhouettes, there are many options in every colour story, so each client can put together their own choice of patterns and plains and so create their own look. This is particularly important for event dressing as it ensures customers are highly unlikely to wear the same look as anyone else
How do you define the Lalage Beaumont style?
My look is quite structured due to my love of tailoring. I hope the finished effect is stylish, chic and elegant, whether a customer wants something understated and classic, or a striking silhouette to make a real impact.
Visit www.lalagebeaumont.com for further information