Gini Palm, the owner of Julie Fitzmaurice, on nearly a century in business, Royal inspirations and loving life in Harrogate
What can you tell me about your background in fashion?
I trained in buying couture and spent many years in London and Paris working with members of the Chambre de Syndicale learning skills in the art of buying and creating. At Julie Fitzmaurice careful measurements are taken of the clients, concealing and revealing in the appropriate places to flatter the client’s figure so that they are happy and confident for their important social occasions.
When did Julie Fitzmaurice launch and what inspired it?
Julie Fitzmaurice was first established back in 1932 by Julie Fitzmaurice’s daughter, Paddy Franklyn, and was later acquired by me in the 90s. The company was a well established business known as a fashion house, specialising in designer labels. From day one my daughter, Sally, and I had a clear vision to build on the already successful business and offer a specialist bespoke service using very high-end fabrics. We wanted to offer our clients the freedom of choice – to have individual, one-off outfits created along with high end ‘ready to wear’ items.
How does your bespoke approach work?
In the bespoke section of our business we have a huge selection of samples of our designs, some of which are featured on our website. This allows our clients to browse through the collections and then contact us to discuss their requirements and make an appointment to visit us in Harrogate. Whatever their shape or size we are always able to fulfil our customers’ wishes and expectations.
Do you think people can recognise a Julie Fitzmaurice style?
Yes, through elegant and understated styles designed by myself. I use the most beautiful natural fabrics that are instantly recognizable and will be wearable for many years to come.
Do you ever stock other brands, and if so how do you choose who to feature?
Yes we do choose other high end brands so we can offer ‘ready to wear’ to enhance our clients’ bespoke wardrobe. These take much researching to make sure the fabrics and manufacturing are of a very high standard.
What’s new from you this summer season?
We have designed exquisite coat dresses, very similar to the styles our Royal Family wear in wonderful plain colours. These are in the best quality Italian wool crepe fabric or pure silk crepe marocain as both of these fabrics will stand the test of time and are also available in printed velvets. These outfits cover all occasions from bride, mother of the bride and mother of the bridegroom along with smart business functions or Royal garden parties, to mention but a few.
What do you love about being based in Harrogate?
Harrogate is such a special place to have our business as it is full of individual shops and restaurants. Many of our clients love to come to Harrogate for the day or an overnight stay in one of the luxury hotels that it has to offer.
Does the area inspire your work in any way?
Yes the beautiful floral displays in our town and the Valley Gardens and the RHS at Harlow Carr are linked to so many fashion colours. We are surrounded by beautiful buildings including the Roman Baths and indeed the Royal Hall was renovated in 2009 and opened by King Charles III who, along with his Queen, also loves Betty’s Tea Shop, so we are proud and privileged to be in the centre of Harrogate.
38 Parliament Street, Harrogate, HG1 2RL
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