How CC Couture are causing a stir on the red carpet

Claudia Croazzo of CC Couture

Claudia Croazzo of CC Couture - Credit: Archant

One of the most talked about red carpet outfits came from the studio of a highly talented designer in Burnley. Mairead Mahon reports.

IT was the dress that set tongues wagging with its tissue-thin drape of diaphanous material leaving very little to the imagination. Television presenter, model and former WAG Lizzie Cundy arrived on the red carpet of an awards night at London’s Grosvenor House in an outfit that had the paparazzi in a flashgun frenzy.

The next day’s national newspapers were full of comment about the daring dress complete with pictures, of course. What many of us didn’t know at the time was this creation was the work of a highly-talented designer from Burnley.

Designs from the Lancashire studio of CC Couture have sashayed down the London catwalk, celebrities have been spotted wearing them and they have appeared in that bible of all things fashion, Vogue. But possibly nothing had quite so much impact on the career of Claudia Croazzo than that one see-through frock.

Quite an achievement when you discover that Claudia is just 24 and that her company – the CC comes her initials – was only founded in February of last year.

But this young woman knew she wanted to be a fashion designer from an early age and, as you can tell from her name, she has the natural advantage of family heritage that combines the innate sense of Italian style with Lancashire determination.

‘Yes, that’s definitely been an advantage,’ she says. ‘The Italian side of the family are based in the north of Italy – it’s where the drink Grappa is made – and I visit them several times a year, so it’s easy to absorb their sense of style. And, of course, Lancashire is home, where it’s just as easy to absorb commonsense and determination.’

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She certainly showed her interest in fashion at an early age, when her mum, Pamela, would discover ‘improvements’ to any clothes that weren’t safely put away and her own collection of Barbie dolls were treated to couture design. These were early indication that Claudia was going become a special talent. Having completed a Fashion Design and Styling degree at Salford University – she created a stir there by making a dress out of loo paper – and gaining some experience working for a fashion house, she decided to go it alone.

‘I was spending all my spare time working on my designs,’ she says. ‘I liked them and, more importantly, so did others, so that gave me confidence. My family were encouraging and supportive, so I took a deep breath, opened my studio in Burnley, picked up my pencils and began.’

The elegant studio is situated in pretty countryside outside the town and is furnished with a designing table, mannequins, sample pieces and, in pride of place, a state-of-the-art sewing machine. It was from here that Claudia began making her mark on the fashion world. Luckily for her, there is not any part of the creative process that fazes her. As well as creating stunning designs, she also cuts the patterns and makes the pieces.

‘It is so important to make sure that the materials, many of them embroidered and bespoke to CC Couture, and the design complement each other perfectly and that’s why I make sure that everything is exactly right and done to my own standard.’

Her website offers affordable, made to order, couture, so prices range from £300 to just under £1,000. These dresses and jumpsuits range from size 6 to 16. ‘I am designing for real women,’ says Claudia. ‘That said, I’ve been really pleased to see that my gift voucher scheme has become popular with chaps who want to give a couture present but aren’t always completely confident with choosing or sizing. It can be a bit of a minefield.’

Women can also order a bespoke gown. It’s a close collaboration with the client taking into account where it’s going to be worn and noting special requests, such as what to disguise and what to highlight.

With such attention to detail and absolutely gorgeous designs, it was only a matter of time before news of this Burnley phenomenon began to trickle through to the movers and shakers of the London fashion scene.

Her big moment came when Claudia was asked to close one of the shows at London Fashion Week – a rare honour for a very new designer.

Before long, celebrities began to wear CC Couture on the red carpet. As well as Lizzie Cundy, TV reality star Charlotte Dawson wore a custom-made gown to the MTV EMA awards and beauty blogger Lauryn Goodman wore one to the premiere of the film ‘Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them’.

Vogue took notice and included CC Couture in a selection of exclusive designers featured in a winter fashion supplement and Elle magazine featured some of Claudia’s designs in a piece about up and coming designers. National newspapers followed suit and, before long, Claudia was not just a Lancashire designer but a national designer based in Lancashire.

‘It has been an amazingly heady journey and I do appreciate just how blessed I have been – sometimes I feel as if I’m constantly touching wood but I do have faith in my designs and they have taken me a long way,’ she says.

So what’s next? ‘It’s early days but I am interested in placing some of my designs in prestigious stores, as well as progressing my bespoke collections. I’m aiming for them to be known worldwide but do I have any plans to leave Lancashire? Absolutely not!’

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