What I love about my job is how much fun can be had on the creative journey of making gowns for clients who become friends.
My clients' ideas and aspirations for their dress are my inspiration.
Vintage dresses, couture collections, draping and textile details spark my imagination.
Nova McLaren founder and owner
Nova McLaren is a name I created for my brand combining the Latin name for my home town and my Mum's maiden name, it is a couture standard label designed and made by me, Olivia Humphreys, in Connecticut.
It is the culmination of over ten years work in the fashion industry in London and New York and Connecticut and a life long desire to make beautiful, unique and personal things.
My love for making clothes, shoes and accessories started in early childhood (in the dining room of our house in Newport, Shropshire, England) when my Mum, Annabel, encouraged my younger sister Sallie and I to draw, paint and create! I remember a pair of exquisite platform mules I made for Sallie (probably to perform a Spice Girls song in) with sequined straps sealed with sticky-backed-plastic! About 10 years later I made a collection of newspaper dresses and parasols for my school fashion show; doodling dresses in my English Lit. class and making them in the evening to wear out in our town at the weekend. I finished my high school fashion and textile ambitions screen printing 5 yards of fabric (in repeat) on a tiny table and making in into a (very much 2002) halter top and handkerchief hem skirt.
After studying Printed Textile Design at Loughborough University (spending much more time making clothes than fulfilling my course requirements!) I decided a Pattern Making course in London would be the pathway to my destiny. I spent my first year in the Capital at London College of Fashion, experiencing city life in the ultra hip Hackney; racking up invaluable hours on internships, Juki sewing machines and the number 55 bus into Central London.
I was very lucky to be employed at the well respected Jenny Packham one week after graduating and spent the next four years absorbing the talent that was all around me - it was such a great mix of experience, fresh ideas, vintage inspiration and team spirit. My next stop in London was at print-lover Matthew Williamson, another great experience with talented designers and machinists. Private commissions for bridal gowns and bridesmaid gowns kept me busy outside work and was a great opportunity to work with clients on a personal level, which I love. In Summer 2013 I made my move over the pond to NYC, so exciting to begin a new adventure and turn 30 in such quick succession! I have worked for Reem Acra, Marchesa, Christian Siriano, Modern Trousseau, gaining great experience and knowledge into the American bridal and evening wear market.