Stylish Maggie aims to dazzle with 50 years of homemade clothes
FASHIONISTA Maggie Hamilton reckons she could give Gok Wan a run for his money.
From pink roses sewn onto an everyday sun hat to a dazzling plaid two-piece with tassled wrap, the inspirational 86-year-old began designing and making her own statement clothes as a child.
Her unique creations grab people's admiring attention wherever the chic and flamboyant octogenarian goes.
Now stylish Maggie, from Sherborne, hopes they will impress audiences as she plans to hold a charity exhibition and sale of her collection.
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Set to show off her own favourites, she is also seeking models, preferably to work for free, to display coveted costumes dating from the 1950s.
"I've always been tempted to get in touch with Gok Wan and say: 'I could give you some lessons'", she said.
"I don't copy anyone. I've never been trained – it's been something intuitive as I've a very good eye for colour."
New Zealand-born Maggie, who had just arrived in England as a child, wanted to be creative and asked her mother for material. She made a blue gingham dress for herself and a red one for her sister, Jean.
By the early 1940s she was rubbing shoulders with high society, including the royal family, and film stars such as Stewart Granger and Michael Wilding, working for Mayfair-based interior decorator Eily Donald.
"I didn't have lots of money, so started dabbling and making my own clothes and they were very much appreciated and admired," she said.
"I only ever sold one outfit. A very important American woman loved my pale turquoise knitted dress and asked me to make one for her daughter's wedding.
"I never became commercial as not long after that I met my darling husband Joe."
Coming to the Cotswolds 35 years ago, Maggie sold a treasure trove of clothes hats, bags and scarves, chronicling the eras, to Pinewood Studios.
"They were shocked – they'd never seen so many beautiful clothes all with their own accessories," she said.
Maggie has made some 120 entire outfits, plus dresses, tops, blouses and customised accessories.
She hopes to hold her show near Christmas, or early next spring, to raise funds for causes including Sherborne parish church St Mary Magdalene and Save The Children. Any interested models, size 12 to 14 and about 5ft 4ins can contact Maggie on firstname.lastname@example.org.