About Michèle

South African born Michèle Keffen moved to the UK in 1999 having firmly established herself in the world of fashion and art.

Soon after qualifying as a fashion designer she was awarded ‘Young Fashion Designer of the Year’. She had a weekly fashion trends feature on East Coast Radio in Durban, was regularly featured on Highway Radio and wrote a bi-weekly article on fashion for a local radio station’s magazine “Up the Hill”.Fashion Designer Michele Keffen

Her Durban-based evening wear and high class bridal wear business attracted clients from thousands of miles across the continent of Africa.

She had a team of around 40 seamstresses and designers in her couture team. At the same time as running her successful design business, she also spent her time judging design contests and organizing conferences. In her spare time she worked for the Durban Natural Science Museum as a volunteer, which included assisting with genetic bat research.

Just after moving to the UK, she was offered a position on the Versace design team. Michèle turned this down as she had recently met British Fashion Photographer and Designer David Keffen. They married in 2000 and decided to open Society Brides (one of the UK’s largest designer wedding dress stores) in Christchurch on the south Coast.

They formed and led a skilled team of designers, seamstresses and fashion undergraduates. They were always keen to encourage those seeking work experience in the fashion industry to improve their practical skills.

Michelehas styled, designed, and sewn for the royalty of five different nations across three continents

In 2003 Michèle and her team received two national awards from the bridalwear industry. ‘Best Shop Design’ and perhaps, more importantly ‘Best New Bridal Retailer’.

Michèle has been asked to speak at industry events, (for instance, she was asked to be a guest speaker at the Drapers Global fashion sourcing meeting held at London’s Waldorf Hotel), judge both adult and student design competitions and is generally accepted to be an expert in her field. Her work has featured in many of the national glossies.

Michèle is, like her husband, also involved in fashion photography as an artistic director and studio photographer and was, for a time, editor of the magazine ‘Fashion Today’.

In 2009 Michèle was taken severely ill and so it was decided that Society Brides would close and she would work from her home studio. After a gradual return to health she began a dancewear label that included outfits for World Class Latin and Ballroom specialists as well as top-ranked Ballet dancers.

Michèle’s couture design team has produced tens of thousands of dresses. She has styled, designed and sewn for the royalty of five different nations across three continents as well as politicians, ‘Miss Great Britain’ and well known celebrities. Her evening dresses and flamboyant ball gowns are now highly sought after, and often clients need to be placed on a waiting list in order to enjoy her bespoke designs.

More recently she has returned to one of her chief passions in life – Art. She is an accomplished painter and sculptor. Having spent many years engaged in representational art and fashion illustration, Michele has now begun painting more freely and from the heart. This has enabled her to express her deep love of colour in many and various abstract forms.