British designer behind south of France fashion empire

'The first thing a French client does when she sees a garment she likes is to turn it inside out to look at the quality of the sewing' says designer Berverly Smart

Beverly Smart moved from London to Lagrasse 31 years ago but it was her need to make money that started a successful business, she tells The Connexion

Beverly Smart, 59, is a British dressmaker and designer who, for some years, has been wooing France with her original creations, which she makes herself in her workshop and sells in the adjoining boutique situated in the heart of the beautiful village of Lagrasse, Aude.

For several years she has held an annual fashion show in the village, using local women as her models, an event which has become a top annual attraction.

 

What is it like working in fashion in style-conscious France?

I moved out here 31 years ago when I was 28 because I was very stressed with a job I had in London in menswear.

I saw a photo of Lagrasse and knew that was where I wanted to go.

I had always worked around fashion in Britain, but I had only ever made clothes for myself. I am 6’2” and I could never find anything that fitted me. My mother, who is a trained dressmaker, had taught me to sew.

When I arrived here I found out it was pretty difficult to make a living because Aude is one of the poorest departments in France.

People began asking me where I ...

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