I've loved clothes all my life, and given my family heritage (craftswomen, from embroiderers to potters and everything in between) and my height (6'2") I made my own clothes from a very early age, with my Mother, who trained at Barrett Street Tech (now the London School of Fashion) as my teacher. When I moved to France in 1989 and was looking for a way to finance my life here, inspired by the many comments from friends who asked me where I got my clothes, I decided to take the plunge and start my own business offering the style of clothing I wear to others. And that was the day I discovered my real passion and purpose in this world, and have never looked back.
How did I get to 'my style'? As I said, I've always been tall, a classic "rectangle" body shape and no boobs. That meant the body-hugging lycra style was never for me (apart from at the gym), but my height allowed me to wear pretty much anything else.
I can't draw at all, my way of drawing is by sewing, so I go from mental image to paper pattern, always test new ideas on myself, wear it in the shop to see what the reaction is and edit accordingly.
I'm a huge fan of generous cuts, letting the fabric and gravity work their collective miracles on a variety of body shapes, and nearly always wear one size bigger than I am to get that lovely drape that comes with the extra width. My body shape has meant that my clothes never needed much shaping and I have taken this style through to my collection. More sculpture than close fit, but it's definitely helped to define the Beverly Smart look.
The simple, uncluttered style I favour mirrors my need for order and tidyness, but also my love of fabrics ... when the cut is simple and kept clear of fussy details then the fabric shines through and does what it does best. That's also why I'm such a fan of bias cut clothes - the drape that comes from this way of cutting is simplicity itself.
I'm a huge wearer of accessories too, which are the best way to make "your" look just that, your own individual style. I like to think that my clothes stand well alone, or make the perfect background for that statement necklace or earrings or scarf.
As I continue to design collections that are based on my personal style, it follows that the mainstay of my clientele are 40 plus. By this age, you've got over the need to conform to whatever this year's fashion dictates are, generally know what you can't wear (although this particular comment deserves its own blog post) and are looking for stylish comfort in good quality fabrics; from the feedback I get my designs tick all those boxes! To end, here are some photos of my models from my recent fashion show, all over 40, just to prove my point.