Kaye Heeley is sole proprietor of ‘Angel Couture’, which was formulated in 2004. Since the launch of this label, Kaye Heeley has acquired a large portfolio of clientele and producing work in the fields of bridal and evening couture, stage and theatrical costumes. Some of Angel Couture’s high profile clientele include the singer and star of ITV’s ‘Loose Women’ Jane McDonald. The start of Kaye’s working relationship with Jane in 2007 began with the manufacture of costumes for Jane’s upcoming tour dates. This grew into an entire collection, which still continues to grow, and now Kaye Heeley designs solely for Jane under her own label, ‘The Jane McDonald collection.’
Kaye began a career in fashion after completing a 2-year fashion innovation course resulting in distinction grades in levels 1, 2 and 3. Kaye then completed a 2 year BTEC national diploma in fashion, corsetry and tailoring, and winning student of the year for three years running, before creating her final end of year collection based around her chosen field, Bridal wear.
Since leaving college Kaye has worked for the established bridal house ‘Hoops a Daisy’ of sandal, Wakefield offering an ‘in house design service’ and her own collection of bridal gowns under the Angel Couture label.
Angel couture offers the best in bespoke couture and combines quality and uniqueness with a non-intimidating approach to design. Angel Couture can guarantee that any client will receive the garment of their dreams.
How did you get into fashion?
I came from a family of creatives, one aunty was a tailor, the other a sample machinist. I grew up loving design, and art, so I almost knew from a young age I would pursue a career in a creative field. I studied textiles at GCSE level, and then went onto to further my education with a fashion innovation course in garment technology. It was during this course I really found my niche in bridal, evening and corsetry which I then went onto gain more insight during my BTEC national diploma. My final end of year collection reflected the industry I fell in love with, bridal and evening couture.
How did you come to start your own line?
I left my studies at 19 and instead of continuing at university, I found myself wanting to start my own business doing bespoke couture dresses. It started by word of mouth after doing a few weddings for friends and family, a few lucky breaks with some high end clients, and my business partner who is an expert in marketing. The label gradually grew from year to year until 15 years later, ‘Angel couture’ was a recognised brand in Yorkshire where our studio was based.
Tell us about your collections
Angel Couture has been dormant for the last 3 years when I moved down to London to follow a new career opportunity which has enabled me to work with some fantastic people and companies, including Austrian TV shows and one of London’s leading department stores. After gaining 3 more years fantastic experience, I am returning to the label once again where I will work on a small collection for summer 2015. This will be based around luxurious beaded laces, sumptuous golds and nudes. I am taking my inspiration from the Far East and layering laces on top of tulles.
I also will still continue to offer clients a one to one, bespoke and non intimidating design experience where I take the clients ideas, and work closely with them to turn those ideas into reality.
How would you describe your design aesthetic?
Due to having a corsetry background, all my designs have built in structure in the bodices. I create this by using heavyweight duchess satin so whatever the body shape or size, the dress has the perfect shape and fit.
I create simple, elegant designs using the latest fabric trends and colours, however now re-entering the industry once again, I am working on a staple identity to set me apart from the other designers.
Is there any place in the world you haven’t been to yet but would like to visit from a professional perspective?
I use a lot a fabrics from India and the Far East but have never actually visited in person. That will change however as I do plan to travel in late February to purchase fabrics for the new collection.
How would you describe your personal fashion style?
I wear a lot of skinny jeans, with layered tops. Dressed down with ankle boots or flats, or dressed up with heels. I love my Massimu Dutti black leather jacket and black fedora. I bought them back in September last year and I have not taken either off!!! They go with everything, day or night. I guess, I could say I don’t follow trends, I use a few staple pieces and mix them with classics.
Where do you find inspiration for your creations?
When selecting fabrics. I can look at a fabric and have the dress designing itself in my head. During a recent trip to the U.S, I found myself in the most amazing fabric stores in New York! I spent hours looking at all the different textures, trims and even leathers that were in every colour imaginable!
I have taken a lot of inspiration recently from designers like Zuhair Murad, Naeem Khan and Elie Saab. I love the styles, so elegant and with a beautiful use of fabrics, but with the structure of Zac Posen or Dior gown.
Which phase is the most delicate in creating a dress?
I would say there are many phases that are delicate. Pattern construction is key, because if the fit is not right, the design will not work.
The sewing stages are important. I believe in pressing each seam as it is sewn. One of my favourite designers John Galliano was the pressing king.
The finishing and embellishment is so intricate as this is the first thing people will look at.
Can you tell us an anecdote of your experience with clients that revealed itself to be a big lesson?
Whilst working with a client last year on a high profile project, I was pushed to work so hard and think outside the box on every level. I was encouraged to work with materials I never thought I could incorporate into a garment. This was the project that opened up my vision to use not one, not two, but many fabrics with motifs, crystals and beads placed on top. The effect and end result was visually amazing, and set the bar for which I will always try and reach in the future.
What piece of advice would you give a young designer who just graduated from college?
To try and gain as much experience as possible. Spend as long as possible doing work placements and shadowing everyone in all sectors. People can go to so much expense getting qualifications, but experience has been the best education I could have wished for.
What is elegance according to you?
Timeless beauty. Simple styles worked in the most creative way.
What’s next for you professionally?
Working on the summer 2015 collection and hopefully travelling out to the USA in June to work alongside a global evening and bridal brand to hopefully enable me to build Angel couture into a global label. I have got some fantastic network connections over the last 15 years, and like I said before, listening to advice, and gaining as much experience as possible along the way.
To find more about the Brand please visit: Angel Couture