Essay on British Designer Bruce Oldfield

Essay on British Designer Bruce Oldfield

Bruce Oldfield, was born in London. He was a mixed race child and he never knew his parents because at only two days old his parents gave him up for adoption. He was raised within the childrens society Barnardos.and was known as a Barnardos baby. He spent the first six months of his life in Great Ormond Street Hospital, in London. It was found that he was suffering from gastroenteritis. Up until the age of 13, Bruce was fostered in a village called Hett, in Co Durham. His foster mother was a dressmaker called Violet Masters. By the time he was 13, he got sent to West Mount, in Ripon, North Yorkshire, a Barnardo’s branch home after becoming a troublesome teenager. At the orphanage, Bruce slept in a small dormitory, there were only three or four to a room. He went to Ripon Grammar School, in North Yorkshire, and studied at Ravensbourne and St Martin’s art colleges. Bruce failed his O-level art exam twice, and he left West Mount when he was just 17 years old. He moved into lodgings in Harrogate. He later then got two A-levels and went into teacher training before he realised he had a strong passion for fashion.

This love and interest of fashion lead him to launch his own fashion house in 1975. Barnardo’s provided Bruce with a start-up loan for his business. Bruce would often visit his former foster mother, and she would give him advice and help him to make clothes and also teach him how to sew and cut cloth correctly. He had always shown an interest in fashion from a young age and she had seen this. He also launched his ready-to-wear collection for the UK and the international market at this time. Then in 1978, his couture line, for private clients. Later in 1984 came the opening of his London boutique. Here he would sell his ready-to-wear collection and couture designs to the public. After living at Barnardo’s himself, in 1986 and 1988 Bruce organized gala evenings in London’s Grosvenor House ballroom. He wanted to achieve a higher profile for the childrens’ charity and he also wanted to give them a more glamorous image.

In 1990, Bruce was awarded for his services to the British fashion industry with an OBE and he also received an award for an honorary fellowship from the Royal College of Art. Since Bruce organized events to raise money for Barnardo’s, in 1998 he became the vice president for the children’s charity. Lastly, in 2009 opposite his couture boutique in London, Bruce opened a second boutique for bridal atelier. Who would of thought that a child that came from such humbled beginnings would rise up to become a true doyen of the British fashion world. “I had no idea that I was going to be a success, but there was always something working inside me, some machination that kept me going. It was a strange feeling — but it was completely natural.”

Bruce Oldfield is one of the world’s leading British fashion designers who specializes in demure, regal, clinging creations of bridal wear using classic fabrics such as lace, crepe and silk. He is known to favour mature and effortless-looking grace, but he is not scared of showing a little flesh and has previously condemned to the death of elegance. Peta Hunt, fashion director of You and Your Wedding magazine, knows the designer well. She said:
“His designs use crepe, lace and wonderful construction underneath to achieve beautiful, elegant, low-key dresses. His evening wear shows legs and a bit of cleavage. He’s done some big society weddings where matronly aunts wouldn’t approve. But he will design to suit the occasion. He’s a classic couturier with true longevity.”

Bruce’s custom-made bridal gowns cost between £2,500 - £4,000. This may seem expensive and extravagant to some people but with each gown being hand made they are graced with the labour of love and passion.

During Bruce Oldfield’s 35 year career in fashion designing, it has seen him make elegant creations for clients including Catherine Zeta Jones, Kelly Brook and Samantha Cameron. Bruce’s favourite stars to dress were Audrey Hepburn and Grace Kelly. Bruce Oldfield has worked with many stars to be named but probably his biggest and most glamorous customer was Diana, Princess of Wales. Diana, at the age of 19 and painfully shy, was introduced to Bruce before her 1981 wedding to Prince Charles. Diana decided to drop Bruce without any explanation in 1990 after wearing his elegant gowns for over 10 years.

Three years ago McDonald's recruited Bruce to design uniforms for workers at their fast food restaurants. "One doesn't necessarily think of McDonald's and chic in the same sentence, but my aim was to design a uniform that was exactly that. It was a big challenge but I am very, very pleased with the result." Bruce said.