I have not written about women that inspire, in such a long time but after meeting Sara Brett, I really felt she ticked all the boxes.
I have been asked for recommendations for dresses to wear to Ascot and Summer Weddings as well as Garden Parties, her designs are perfect and the price point is super affordable. There is also no compromise on style, fit or finish, rare to find these days.
So many people I meet, love fashion but few are successful at it, make time for themselves and still manage to be a hands on mother to three children.
What Sara has achieved at Bernshaw is remarkable and the brand is now the place to go for well priced, stylish and flattering evening and day dresses.
Sara is really upbeat and when you meet her, she is so positive that the feeling is infectious, making you want to be part of her “gang” !
Sara and I caught up last week and am dying to share what we chatted about and get a unique behind the scenes insight into the day to day life of a fashion designer and brand owner.
1) Where do you get your inspiration for the dresses you design?
Icons of the past influence me; quite often it will be the cut of a dress or even a neckline or colour combination. I want to create beautiful dresses with a touch of vintage glamour but for the modern woman (and by modern I mean easy to wear and care for). I always read fashion magazines (and keep all my British Vogue’s) but I’ve also found Instagram to be really important as a moodboard for sharing inspiration and ideas. My favourite accounts are @SomethingNavy, @My_Closet_Diaries, @TheOriginalMF, @SinByMannei_com and @LisaSnowdon.
2) Which Hollywood actress would you like to dress and which of your dresses would you choose?
Carey Mulligan star of The Great Gatsby springs to mind as she would look amazing in any of our Bernshaw long beaded evening dresses from this SS15 collection. The Elodie Dress in peach is a luxurious peach sequin dress which exudes glamour and would be perfect for the red carpet. I’d also love to dress Jennifer Aniston in the best-selling Kitty Dress, she looks amazing in a little black dress.
3) You look amazing, a mother of three running a demanding business, what do you do to keep in such great shape?
I have an amazing personal trainer who I train with three times a week, I find it de-stresses me and completely energises me mentally. I also try and fit in Barry’s Bootcamp once a week too!
4) If you had to pick one skincare product to recommend, what would it be?
Ooh that’s a tricky one as I have loads of great products that I use. But one of my all time cult favourites is Skinceuticals Vit C and E.
5) What is next for Bernshaw?
We’re celebrating our 70th anniversary this year so we will be revealing those special moments that make up our history with a capsule collection. We’ll be delving into the archive and sharing the milestone with our customers and fans of the brand. If anyone has a picture of themselves wearing a Bernshaw cocktail dress over the years, we’d love to see it!
6) I get lots of questions about women who are top heavy, any tips on the kind of dress they should go for?
Top tips would be to make sure the neckline is not too high as this can sometimes be unflattering and give the illusion of looking larger. Cut away armholes give a narrowing line to the body. I also believe good underwear is essential for getting the best out of your Bernshaw dress! I make sure I design a lot of bra friendly dresses in the collection so you can have plenty of support.
From this collection the Rainbow Dress with a V-neck design and a floaty skirt to balance you out. If you prefer to cover your arms, try the lace Letizia Dress with a V-neck and long sleeves for a flattering look. If you are looking for a full length evening gown try Felicity, a sequin embellished long dress which holds you in with a gentle V-neck. If you have any questions on dresses you can always tweet me @bernshaw or Instagram @bernshaw1 and I can advise you.
7) If you are not heading to the office and doing the school run, what is your go to outfit?
It would have to be my skinny ripped J Brand jeans, Rails shirt, Zadig and Voltaire cashmere jumpers and IRO leather biker jacket with Isabel Marant boots.
8) What sets Bernshaw dresses apart from the competition?
Fit and finish. Bernshaw dresses are designed to create curves and hold you in so they will always be flattering. They are also designed with premium fabrics and finishes so you can trust your dress will be in great condition for years to come.
9) What was the last thing you bought from a High Street retailer?
I just brought some great t-shirts on line from a really fantastic website in the U.S. called Revolve.
10) What tips would you give someone thinking of getting into fashion design?
I would recommend that you get as much work experience in the fashion business as possible. It’s the best way to get a real feel for what fashion business and to see what direction best suits your personal skills set and personality. I would also suggest trying to understand fashion as much as possible – watch the catwalks, read magazines, look at the history of fashion to see how style has evolved. Work hard, be nice and network, if you do that, you are sure to be a success.
I love what Sara has done at Bernshaw, she designs well made dresses at affordable prices. I wanted to show Sara, wearing her own creations and I love the way she has styled them, very simply, letting the dresses do the talking. All the dresses featured are available online at Bernshaw, both Sara and I would love to hear what you think of the collections and your favourite pieces.