Designer’s success looks in the bag

Dress sense: Yaelle Caplan's designs will feature at the prestigious Brit Awards
Dress sense: Yaelle Caplan's designs will feature at the prestigious Brit Awards
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Beyonce, Adele, Rihanna and Jessie J... They’re the sizzling A-listers any designer would fight tooth and nail to swathe in their creations.

And come next Wednesday morning, the most glamorous and feted songbirds of pop could be draping themselves in a stunning slice of Sheffield chic - and picking up the phone to call a young designer who launched her fashion line from her parent’s kitchen table in High Storrs.

At the Brit Awards next Tuesday night, the world’s biggest, brightest music stars will be battling it out for the honours.

But whether they take home a trophy or not, the like of US beauties Beyonce and Rihanna and home-grown songstresses Adele, Jessie J and Pixie Lott will be leaving armed with a consolation prize... one of the most lavish and luxurious goodie bags in the business.

As they wake, bleary-eyed from the after-parties, they can cure any hangover blues by rummaging through their freebies to find covetable luxuries from Christian Lacroix, Hugo Boss and Agent Provocateur... and Yaelle Caplan.

Just 25, the former Silverdale pupil could well become the next name on their beautiful lips.

The Ecclesall designer, who crafts stunning, digitally-printed scarves from a tiny studio tucked away behind Sheffield’s Decathlon store, got a potentially life-changing phone call from the Brit awards team a few weeks ago. Could she donate 40 scarves for the goodie bags to be handed out to Brit nominees, winners and presenters, they asked?

“They told me who they were and asked to speak to my PR or marketing department. I hardly dared tell them it’s just me, in my little workshop,” she says.

“When they told me what they wanted I just couldn’t believe it. They wanted a silk scarf for every goodie bag and had been searching and searching but couldn’t find any as beautiful and classy as mine.

“It was such a huge compliment; they told me the names of the other designers who had donated and I couldn’t believe it.”

She was even more overwhelmed, though, when they told her who her scarves would be going to.

“Beyonce could actually be wearing one of my scarves in her hair next week - it’s unbelievable,” she says.

It’s the type of high-profile exposure every designer dreams of, says Yaelle, who only graduated from Manchester Metropolitan University in 2010. She has spent all week printing, then carefully wrapping in tissue paper and gold-embossed boxes 40 of her newest designs, which range in price from £85 to £145.

Adele and co can expect a silken flurry of the luminous and often witty prints in a kaleidocsope of vibrant colours which have become Yaelle’s trademark.

Her inspiration for prints, which are digitally printed rather than by traditional screen-printing techniques for greater detail and clarity, come from the most unexpected of places.

Previous designs have even featured highly-magnified science images, which actually look like stunning hothouse blooms, plus a profusion of Russian dolls. When she was commissioned recently to create scarves for staff at ritzy Mayfair hotel Dukes, she came up with a design featuring contemporary, hand-drawn images of objects and furnishings at the hotel- everything from mirror frames to the hotel’s house champagne.

But essentially, her passion for vibrant hues and knock-out designs stems from her mother’s Tunisian roots and many a summer holiday spent in the South of France as a child. “I’ve grown up seeing women looking stunning in glowing colours and stand-out designs and to me, that’s so much more appealing than fashionista black,” she says.

Each pure silk scarf bears a detachable Hamsa hand charm, the sign of good fortune in North African countries. “My mum always had one on a key or on the wall when I was growing up and I thought it would be a lovely thing to incorporate. Hopefully it will make my scarves identifiable. When a woman is wearing my scarf I want people to see the charm and say –‘that’s a Yaelle scarf… I want a Yaelle scarf.”

Student days paved way for heights of fashion

An eye for stunning colour combinations and her innovative prints were getting Yaelle noticed long before next Tuesday night’s Brit awards.

While still a student in Manchester, she was singled out as a name to watch. Tutors put her forward for a national magazine photo shoot to celebrate the best of that year’s Graduate Fashion Week participants.

The models were all celebrities - and a flowing silk dress created as a graduation piece by Yaelle was photographed by Sir Paul McCartney’s daughter Mary adorning the slender frame of model Leah Weller, the daughter of Paul Weller.

After gaining her degree, Yaelle’s style was spotted by British designer, Matthew Williamson. The celebrity favourite plucked her CV from those of thousands of eager interns and gave her an eight-month placement at his Mayfair studio.

Her first day was just two weeks before London Fashion Week and to her amazement, she got to go to the after party and mingle with A-listed clients, including film star Thandie Newton.