The women who make us feel glam­orous

From sexy shoes to fab­u­lous beauty, we meet four women whose prod­ucts make us love our­selves just a lit­tle more ‘My aim as a de­signer is to make women feel good and pretty’

Woman & Home - - Editor's Letter -

we meet four women whose prod­ucts make us love our­selves just a lit­tle bit more

sA­vAn­nAh MILLEr, 38, is a fash­ion de­signer. As well as nine, her suc­cess­ful dif­fu­sion line for Deben­hams, she also runs her own bridal busi­ness. she lives in the cotswolds with her hus­band, nick, who makes eco cab­ins, and their four chil­dren: Java, 22, Moses, 12, Lyra, nine, and Bali, who is six.

Grow­ing up, I was al­ways draw­ing. I hi­jacked my mum’s sewing ma­chine at nine – and never gave it back! Mak­ing clothes was my way of ex­press­ing my­self – i started mak­ing them for my­self as well as cos­tumes for my sis­ter Si­enna’s var­i­ous plays. i ended up study­ing at Cen­tral Saint Martins Col­lege of Arts and de­sign – Christo­pher Kane was in my year. i then worked with Alexan­der Mc­Queen and Matthew wil­liamson be­fore start­ing the la­bel twen­ty8twelve with Si­enna. My aim is al­ways to make women feel good, feel pretty and feel cool. Go­ing from high-end to high street hasn’t been as tricky as i thought. deben­hams have been great from the get-go and com­pletely un­der­stand where i’m com­ing from. Be­cause of the quan­ti­ties in­volved, we can use re­ally in­ter­est­ing fab­rics and tech­niques.

My bridal line is the op­po­site. it’s the most im­por­tant dress you will wear in your life and is be­spoke to the in­di­vid­ual bride. i’m in­volved with the dress from the in­cep­tion to the very last mo­ment, and it’s such a mov­ing ex­pe­ri­ence – we of­ten have mums cry­ing in our stu­dio! My bridal busi­ness keeps me awake at night. i run it from home, em­ploy­ing four peo­ple, and it’s the first time i’ve had to run a busi­ness my­self – it’s been a real learn­ing curve. the re­spon­si­bil­ity is huge. i’ll of­ten sud­denly find my­self awake at 4am think­ing, “Argh – i haven’t sent that per­son an email!”

My for­mer step­mother, the in­te­rior de­signer kelly hop­pen, is the most de­ter­mined and hard-work­ing per­son I have ever met – and has given me the best ad­vice ever: just keep at it. don’t feel sorry for your­self – it’s a waste of en­ergy – but if you work hard and stay hum­ble, you will get there.

If you adopt a pos­i­tive out­look, you can learn some­thing from ev­ery­thing you do – even pho­to­copy­ing! we of­ten have young peo­ple com­ing to us for work ex­pe­ri­ence, and they want to start de­sign­ing straight away. i spent my first two weeks at Alexan­der Mc­Queen pho­to­copy­ing 2,000 im­ages. it turned out th­ese were im­ages he had found in­spir­ing and was us­ing for fu­ture col­lec­tions, so it was like i was get­ting a di­rect ac­cess to the work­ings of his mind. it ended up be­ing in­valu­able.

I’ve al­ways had chil­dren in my life – when i got to­gether with nick, he al­ready had an eight-year-old [Java] – and my big am­bi­tion now is to move into chil­drenswear. i know what they need and think there’s a real gap in the mar­ket.

With three young kids, any sense of bal­ance feels un­ob­tain­able right now. i try and go to yoga ev­ery week – i’ve been do­ing it for years. the other thing that re­ally helps me clear my head is walk­ing our dog, Florence.

Visit deben­hams.com/women/ nine-by-sa­van­nah-miller; and sa­van­nah­miller.com

The fash­ion de­signer

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