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’
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