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Anne was born in Barnet, Hertfordshire; both her parents were half British and half French. She spent her childhood and most of her teens in Finchley Central during which time she attended one of the local grammar schools with 11+ entry. She moved with her parents to Ealing, then to Highbury, London N5 where she began her self-employed dress design and fine art practice. Anne then moved to de Beauvoir Town, London N1 followed by a move to Croydon and she currently works from home in Tunbridge Wells.
Anne studied needlework at school and was given special embroidery projects to do at an early age. At grammar school she studied technical drawing and art for which she was given extra lessons to develop her work. Unable to find patterns for clothes she wanted to wear, Anne started designing and making her own patterns in her early teens and a few years later began her sole trader dress design practice due to requests from social contacts for her to design and make dresses and costumes.
She has studied Computer Graphics & DTP, A level IT and she gained an Open University Bachelor of Arts Open Degree, BA Open (Open), which is composed of study of the following courses and stand alone qualifications:
Ethics in real life; Heritage, whose heritage? 3 French courses including a Certificate in French; a Certificate in Accounting (OUBS: Open University Business School) and a Diploma in Classical Studies (Classical Latin and Classical Greek language studies).
She trained in the 1970s in various art studios, at first as a paste-up artist in a small independent studio, Sterling Studios, Maiden Lane, Covent Garden. In this art studio most of the work was pasting by hand, the balloons and “thinks” bubbles of text, either typed or hand written, onto the hand drawn artwork for comics and teenage magazines. Most of the magazines were published by IPC Publications. Everyday Anne would take the bus from the Strand and along Fleet Street from the Covent Garden art studio carrying the artwork back and forth in a large portfolio between the publishers and the studio. She worked in Covent Garden not long before the fruit and vegetable market moved to Nine Elms, and the market workers were often having a last cup of tea before going home, just as most other people were arriving for work.
Then she was trained to paint make-up with oil paints onto display mannequins for a model renovation company, Modreno which was based in Albion Yard near Kings Cross station, London, a company run by people connected with Adel Rootstein Ltd, one of the foremost mannequin companies. The mannequins were either renovated, second hand mannequins or mannequins from top London department stores which were renovated for the new seasons. Some of the mannequins were for niche boutiques and a free artistic hand was sometimes given for the make-up for some of those mannequins to be painted with the “glam” style make up of the 70s.
After that Anne worked for a very small company, E G Stevens, who made completely hand made belts and buttons for the couture houses. There were no sewing machines used to cover the belts and buttons, everything was hand sewn or stuck with special textile glues. Each order was usually just for one belt and/or several buttons to go with a couture dress which was being made to order for one customer by the couture house who had commissioned the belt and buttons. The buttons were often hand covered with the same material as the dress. Some of the buttons were finished with hand stitching, hand pleating or made to look like flowers.
There were just 4 people working in the studio which was near the Liberty London store, in Kingly Court which is built in between Kingly Street and Carnaby Street. The runners from the couture houses would visit the studio to bring the materials and collect the finished works.
This was followed by a position at NCR, Marylebone Road, London as a draftswoman, producing hand drawn artwork of computers and flow charts for their manuals as well as hand drafted forms (pen and ink) for complex data entry.
She then gained administrative and secretarial experience, working full time in offices for a few years, and then part-time in offices and part-time creating clothes and artwork for the first few years of her freelance design career, which started in 1981.
The office assignments were for a variety of legal firms and commercial organisations and for about 6 years she worked part-time, sometimes for the international headquarters of a group of stationery, price marking and art material companies, and at other times as the part-time temp assistant in the editorial office of the British Journal of Surgery.
During her first years in dress design her commissions included day dresses, party dresses, and ballgowns, wedding outfits which could be as diverse as a skirt and blouse with a bolero, an Edwardian inspired bustle dress, and a duchesse satin silk wedding dress with hand embroidered silk chiffon bodice and veil. She also created stage costumes for musicians and cabaret.
Throughout her career she has designed many wedding dresses, evening outfits, classic ladies dresses and dress or skirt suits for day wear and for special occasions.
It was during the part-time years of her early practice that she developed her technique for hand cutting stencils for airbrushed designs, most of which are for greetings cards and Christmas cards, although she has made stencil pictures as well.
FULL TIME ART & DESIGN PRACTICE
Her sole trader dress design and fine art practice became full time in 1987.
Anne’s creative portfolio includes designs for hand sewn frocks and gowns for bridal, evening and day wear, textile art designs such as hand painted fabric, embroidery and bead work designs. She networked with several bridal wear and evening wear designers in the mid-90s, including Caroline Holmes when she had her salon in Holborn, and she has also had commissions from commercial companies to create bridal samples, hand embroidered textiles and hand painted garments. Her fine art includes pastel and pencil pictures, hand cut stencil designs as well as computer imagery. Anne specialises in botanical art and hand made Christmas and general Greetings Cards.
Her customer base is varied and includes clients who work in music, film, literature, journalism, art and design, the legal world, medicine, finance, IT and in business.
TRADE ENQUIRIES WELCOME