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Tamerlane's Daughters

Financial Times, March 2005, Delectable Collectables: Preserving the Glories of the Past through Inspired Modern Collections


Financial Times – 19 March 2005
Delectable Collectables: Preserving the Glories of the Past through Inspired Modern Collections

By Edwina Ings-Chambers

Not content to rely on dealing with antiques, Kyra Segal, co-owner of the Gallery of Costume & Textiles in London, a veritable trove of special pieces, decided to make her own range of clothes that paid homage to the best that’s gone before. ‘Over the last few years I’ve seen that the sources of the really beautiful vintage pieces have been dwindling and I wanted to try to keep them in existence’ says Segal. For Segal, this has been a labour of love. It took her 18 months just to perfect the cut of her coat: a motoring coat inspired mix of Mary Poppins Victoriana with a dash of Marni-esque modernism. Yet, in intricately smocked tunic tops in Irish linen, 1930s-inspired bias-cut jersey dresses, and bead-encrusted silk tops, Segal has not only taken inspiration from the past, but created pieces for the present. And her work can be worn by anyone, from a Kate Moss customer to a gardening grandmother – it just depends on the accessories.

Karina Duebner founded Tamerlane’s Daughters for similar reasons. A collector of 19th century Central Asian textiles and jewellery, she decided she would like to ‘use them in the way they were intended – to be worn by women. I wanted to breath new life into them as opposed to their being hung on a wall.’ Duebner used dressmaking skills acquired during her East German childhood (‘if you wanted to wear something nice you had to make it yourself’) to create her bespoke range of garments that incorporates old swatches of material or jewellery. So a gown may have a strip of antique embroidery across the bust, or a halter-neck dress will flow from a necklace, creating a modern way to look to the past.

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