From First Lady Melania to Presidential Advisor Ivanka, the Trump women are universally known for their sense of style and luxury wardrobes. And while she may not command as much headline space, President Trump’s youngest daughter Tiffany is no different.
Unless you've been hiding under a rock for the last week, you'll know the Trump family has been enjoying a three-day official state visit in the United Kingdom, and Harper’s BAZAAR Arabia caught up with British couture designer, Suzie Turner - the designer who made Tiffany Trump’s gown for Monday night’s state dinner at Buckingham Palace - to disect all the style details.
An off-the-shoulder ruby red gown made from silk organza and heavily adorned with Swarovski crystals, Suzie told us: “It’s made with two colours of red silk organza. Underneath it is much brighter, while on top is ruby red shot with shades of red and black, which brings real depth to the colour. It really picked up some sparkle as she moved in the light, but it’s subtle because it’s under a layer of organza. And then we made feathered flowers. Every single one is unique and every embellishment is either a Swarovski crystal or pearl - and no two are the same.”
Fully corseted - Suzie specialises in corsetry - the dress was specifically made to Tiffany’s silhouette, and she accessorised with elbow length white gloves and an Asprey of London diamond necklace, chandelier earrings and a pair of matching barrettes.
And she didn't stop there - Suzie also designed Tiffany’s gown for a second evening of dining with British royalty, when the President and First Lady Melania Trump hosted a dinner for Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall last night at the US ambassador’s residence in Winfield House in Central London.
“It's a grey corded lace dress made with French lace, with over four layers of couture Italian silk organza. The back is completely encrusted in four shades of Swarovski Crystals, all set on a nude silk organza so that you can see through it slightly with its strong structured shoulders.”
When asked how she connected with Tiffany to make her gowns, Suzie said it was a mutual friend, Lebanese wedding and event designer Toni Breiss, that introduced the two. “Tiffany heard about me through Toni. We’re very underground and our client base is very small. We only look after a handful of ladies globally but it was great that Toni connected us.”
Suzie got an unconventional start into couture dress making. While she’s not syndicated by the Fédération de la Haute Couture et de la Mode, she takes great pride in her work, and takes after her mum who was a curtain maker, making drapes for big stately homes in Britain. From the age of 12, Suzie would help her mum finish her curtain orders after school. “I was sewing from a very early age. I left school when I was 15,” recalls Suzie. She then managed to bag a job as a tailor's assistant, but it didn't come easy - the tailor thought she wasn’t skilled enough because of her young age, but after working for free for three days and sewing a pair of pants to prove herself, Suzie had a job. “I spent every waking minute trying to learn every element of tailoring. At 16 I met a pattern cutter who I still work with today. She’s 80 now and she taught me everything about pattern cutting. I’d say it took me 18 years to learn my craft.”
It’s very important to Suzie to do good quality work, and for her, it’s a labour of love. “There’s no shortcut: you just have to put the hours into learning your craft. And after all these years I still love making dresses. I love every stitch I make and I put all my heart and soul into every piece.” She calls herself an artisan, which allows her to go to any length to create couture art pieces.
When asked what makes the work that comes out of her atelier unique from other couture designers, Suzie says: “What we do in house is so personal. I work on every design with each client and it’s truly a collaboration. In the consultation I get to understand who she is, what her personality is and what her silhouette is. I cut the patterns, I make the gowns, and my team is trained in the stitching- everything is done in house.” Tiffany met Suzie in London as they worked on her gown together.
Photo credit:Emma Dalzell-Khan
Suzie is no stranger to the Arab region. “I have worked with the most beautiful women of the Middle East, some of them royal women.” Because of privacy, Suzie is unable to disclose names, yet she tells us: “From Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Kuwait, and Saudi Arabia, we have made the most beautiful gowns and wedding dresses for Arab women.”
Making Tiffany Trump’s gowns on her visit to London has been a joy for Suzie. She desires to empower women in the gowns she makes for them. And as our chat comes to an end, she states with closing words: “I want my clients to be recognised for wearing a quality garment that’s longstanding and represents who she is. That’s my desire for women.”