"I design clothes that will be desirable to men": Designer and close friend of Elizabeth Taylor brings French couture to HSN

'I design clothes that will be desirable to men': Designer and close
friend of Elizabeth Taylor brings French couture to HSN

By
Olivia Fleming

PUBLISHED:

21:17 GMT, 25 April 2012

|

UPDATED:

21:17 GMT, 25 April 2012

For forty years, designer Vicky Tiel has been making one-off couture gowns in Paris, many of them made especially for the late Elizabeth Taylor.

Now the 69-year old is designing for the masses with a collection for HSN, which launched today.

A far cry from French couture, the longtime friend of Taylor reveals how she started making clothes for the legendary movie star, only designing pieces that are desirable to men, and how bringing her old patterns to HSN was a natural progression in her successful career.

Fast friends: For forty years, designer Vicky Tiel (right) has been making one-off couture gowns in Paris, many of them made especially for the late Elizabeth Taylor (left).

Fast friends: For forty years, designer Vicky Tiel (right) has been making one-off couture gowns in Paris, many of them made especially for her good friend, the late Elizabeth Taylor (left)

The moment she first met Ms Taylor in the early Sixties was a serendipitous accident, the designer revealed to Styleite.

The pair were walking past each other down a hallway in Paris' Billancourt Film Studios, and the designer owes their encounter to the fact she was wearing a very short skirt, she explains.

'Elizabeth’s skirts were all made by the studio so they were down to her knees. So there’s Elizabeth passing me in the hallway and looking at how dowdy her skirt was. She was dressed like Jackie O in a sheath dress,' said Ms Tiel.

She continued: 'Then Richard [Burton]
comes to find me – “Hey baby, where’d you get that dress” I told him I
made it and he said, “My wife, she’s gotta have this dress.” And that
was it, we were friends until her death.'

Vicky Tiels collection for HSN launched April 25, ranging from $49 to $100

Vicky Tiels collection for HSN launched April 25, ranging from $49 to $100

Vicky Tiels collection for HSN launched April 25, ranging from $49 to $100

Fashion for the masses: Vicky Tiel’s collection for HSN launched April 25, and ranges from $49 to $100

Vicky Tiels collection for HSN launched April 25, ranging from $49 to $100

Vicky Tiels collection for HSN launched April 25, ranging from $49 to $100

Vicky Tiels collection for HSN launched April 25, ranging from $49 to $100

Couture patterns: Ms Tiel gave HSN her dress patterns from the ’70s, which were used, right down to the details. 'They came as close as they could to my French seams,' she said.

The designer says she learned her tricks about seducing men from Ms Taylor, which is part of the reason she has always specialised in making clothes that men will like.

Friendship credit: Richard Burton (left) first approached Ms Tiel about making a dress for his wife, Elizabeth taylor (right), they were friends from then on until the star's death

Friendship credit: Richard Burton (left) first approached Ms Tiel about making a dress for his wife, Elizabeth taylor (right), they were friends from then on until the star's death

She explained: 'Half the planet is women and the other half is men. We have to love each other and how do we get men to love us By being hot and fabulous, there’s no other way.'

The designer continued: 'I want a woman to be feminine, beautiful, fabulous, and girly. I specialise in making and selling clothing that’ll make you feel like that.

'My whole life, I’ve just made clothes that will be desirable to a man. I don’t make t-shirts and sweaters,' she said.

Ms Tiel says that even though her collection for HSN is a far removed from the couture designs of Paris, she was ready to make clothes for the masses.

The designer revealed how the process unfolded: 'I created the couture department in Bergdorf Goodman 25 years ago, they had no couture back then. One of my customers, whose wedding dress I had done years ago, came into the store and said, “I want to talk to you about making clothing that isn't couture but for the masses.”

She added: 'So we talked and I agreed, obviously, to work with HSN.'

Vicky Tiel’s collection for HSN launched April 25 on HSN.com, and ranges from $49 to $100.