Roland Klein Maggie Semple Vintage Clothing

Jan Leeming

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Jan's Blog

Computers and the internet are amazing things. One of my concerns with putting together this site was that it could remain current, yet with all my travelling I've often much to say, but little time to say it. Years ago when reading the news it would take me days on end to reply to the kind letters people sent. Now, with the magic of the modern age, I can keep you up to date with what I'm doing and other events in my life.


Date: 2nd November 2011


I really am becoming an old stick in the mud and don’t like having to go into London these days. However, I had an invitation to an event at the Ivy Members’ Club to profile Maggie Semple and her latest venture.

If I understood the presentation correctly, apart from her many other activities, Maggie will be running a project which in essence would create a unique gift for a loved one's special day. When I was 50, a friend gave me a present of a copy of The Times printed on the day I was born - it was an unusual  gift and very much appreciated.

Now, we women probably all have our classics in the wardrobe or a photo of us in a treasured article of clothing. Give the details to Maggie’s team and they will research the item and produce a small book with the ‘story’ of your creation. In these days when we have so much and it is a hard job trying to buy a present with a difference, I think this is a lovely idea.

My main reason for making the trek into London was to see my friend the designer Roland Klein. After Gina Fratini stopped designing I met Roland and for many years was a wearer of his lovely creations. Maggie has formed a friendship with Roland and is finding out and bringing together the women who wore ‘Roland’. So off I went in a lovely Roland jacket and culotte-type pants which I must have had for between 15 - 20 years. Apart from the shoulders being a trifle on the wide side, the jacket is still absolutely lovely and made from the most beautiful grossgrain. In fact it is a very special jacket as it didn’t go into production so I think there is only one other in existence.

What made Roland's designs so wonderful and wearable is that his ethos was to create clothes which enhanced a woman's personality so that when she walked into a room and her attire was admired the attention would be focused on the overall appearance not just the garment.  Years ago there was a Japanest designer called Yuki and I can still see the model on the catwalk  with her arms outstretched to give the line to the article - and always wondered how an ordinary mortal would cope with wearing it when her arms were by her sides.  What I'm trying to say is that clothes should enhance and be comfortable to wear and Roland's always were.

The photo, taken by Alberto Bona, is of  Roland, myself,  and a very very lucky young lady, Susie Stone, whom Roland has taken under his wing. She has set up a business making Bespoke Womenswear and Roland is giving her guidance.


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