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What I know about women: Designer Bruce Oldfield, says they want to know if their bum looks too big!

What I know about women: Designer Bruce Oldfield, says they want to know if their bum looks too big!

  • Designer Bruce Oldfield, 69, counts the late Princess Diana among his following
  • The London-based haute couture specialist, says clients trust his instinct
  • He claims to be honest if their bum looks too big, but women do want curves 

The 69-year-old specialises in haute couture. His loyal following has included actress Rosamund Pike, Jerry Hall and the late Princess Diana, who became a friend. He lives in Kensington, West London, with his dogs Baz and Boo.

Every woman, no matter what her age or persuasion, wants to look and feel her best — that much I know after nearly half a century working as a couturier and fashion designer and completing thousands of fittings.

I’ve dressed women young and old, from Charlotte Rampling to the Princess of Wales, Faye Dunaway to Queen Rania of Jordan.

My clients trust my instinct and honesty. I’m a sounding board — the good friend a woman can tell everything.

Designer Bruce Oldfield, 69, (pictured) says after nearly half a century of working as a courtier, he’s learned that every woman wants to look and feel her best

So if their bum looks big in something, I tell them. If a bride and her mother want a short, sexy wedding dress with cleavage or one that follows an outré, flash-in-the-pan fashion trend, I remind them the wedding photographs will be on mantelpieces in 20 years’ time and they don’t want to look like idiots. They always thank me in the end.

Women now no longer just want to look thin. Since Kim Kardashian — a Vogue cover girl, no less — the goalposts for what a woman wants her figure to be have changed. They want curves. In the old days, you’d cover up a big bum. Now, young It girls and influencers display theirs with pride in figure-hugging clothes. It’s great that we’re moving away from one prescribed body shape; it’s more democratic and realistic.

I grew up in a poor household in County Durham in the 1950s, with a foster mother called Violet Masters and four foster siblings. Violet was a strong, independent woman and a dressmaker by necessity rather than choice. I’d watch her cutting out patterns and making our rugs — hooky mats — by tearing up shreds of fabric and crocheting them onto big frames.

I would make clothes for my sisters’ Barbies. Violet instilled in me a love of technique and the knowledge that it’s integral to design, not superfluous to it.

My birth mother was half-Irish and my father Jamaican, though I never met either. But I’ve never thought of myself as black. I just don’t consider it.

Don’t let life pigeonhole you. That was a life lesson taught to me by another strong woman: the Princess of Wales. We were friends. She had such grace and charm and also taught me another thing I’ve come to live by: not to let the brutes get you down.

The most content, confident women know themselves better than anyone else. They know what suits them. They have a touch of Grace Kelly elegance and good taste, too. And, of course, a very organised wardrobe.