Next month, One Warwick Park hotel opens in Tunbridge Wells. Here, couture designer Nicole Manier who created their new uniforms tell us about the crafting process.
Can you tell us a bit about your background, and how you came to be doing the job you’re in?
I was born and raised in the South West of France in The Atlantic-Pyrenean region where I grew up with my family. At that time it would be fair to say I was more of a tomboy – heavily influenced by my two brothers. However I always remember thinking at that time, how stylish and sophisticated my grandmother was. I moved to London in my early 20s to learn English and in search of a more exciting life.
Where did your passion for design come from?
I have always had a passion for design and at the age of 10 I was already forecasting the couture trends for the next season; and usually getting it right. I never stopped designing, thinking and learning about fashion and being in London during the 60s gave me opportunities to express myself in different ways, as the English fashion scene was very different and very exciting.
How did you come to be involved with the One Warwick Park uniforms?
One of my couture clients recommended me to a person involved with this project. I was introduced to the team dealing with the uniforms for OWP and I immediately said yes, because I found it very exciting.
Where did you source inspiration from?
For this project I needed to understand the feel of the interior, the architecture and level of service offered by the hotel. Armed with all of this I went in search for fabrics from English mills so that I could provide traditional qualities with a contemporary feel.
When it comes to uniform design, do you have to consider different factors to when you’re designing other items?
Uniforms must serve many purposes, particularly in a hotel. One must consider style, comfort and durability while offering a unique look.
How long did it take you to design the uniforms?
We started work on this project last year to ensure we achieved the right feel for the hotel. After presenting four looks through mood boards we narrowed down to two concepts before agreeing on one final look. The final designs were trialled to ensure proportions and details were correct.
What was the end result?
We selected a navy blue 100% Merino English wool suiting fabric. The jackets are single breasted and trousers slim. The women’s suits are sober and elegant. These are teamed with white pure cotton shirts in a herringbone weave. We chose gold as the accent colour for the knitted ties, scarves and pocket squares. Detail is important to the overall look which is contemporary but understated. I have seen all the initial samples which I am very excited by. We now wait for the launch date to see the whole team dressed in the uniform.