Last week, the Semple team were lucky enough to meet with the inspirational Anne Weyman OBE. Having worked in the voluntary sector for most of her life it is no surprise that Ann Weyman is a campaigner at heart. Not only was she the chief executive of FPA (Family Planning Association), the UK’s leading sexual health organisation, for 12 years, she is also a trustee for numerous charities.

“There is no such thing as a normal day in my life!” states Weyman and from the way she describes her average week, it is clear that each day is a new challenge in her diverse life.

Growing up in London during the 60’s and 70’s she was exposed to the creative explosion that occurred in the arts, the most iconic being fashion. This saw designers such as Mary Quant burst onto the scene, revolutionising the way girls dressed, allowing them to take control of their wardrobes and of course their lives. This new found freedom was what made the 60’s such a pivotal point in Anne Weyman’s life and it is this freedom which is immortalised in her treasured garment, a bespoke dress made in a shop in Marylebone. “I just used to feel fantastic in it and because miniskirts came into fashion back then, I had it shortened and then when they went out of fashion, I wore it over black trousers. It was really something quite special, I felt quite up to the minute…when I wore the dress” remembers Anne as she looks back at the dress hanging behind her on the fireplace of the Maggie Semple office during our meeting.

Being surrounded by so many inspirational people during the course of her career, the most memorable being one of the first female gynaecologists, Josephine Barnes, she has now developed a wealth of knowledge which she was eager to share with us. The whole Maggie Semple team sat in awe around the table, listening to Anne’s every word as she detailed the benefits of ‘getting your colours done’, her one piece of style advice, as it “simplifies your shopping as you can just target the areas in the store where you know the colours will suit you.” If you met her in person, you will be able to see that colour is something Anne is very passionate about, incorporating it into a statement item as part of her outfit and always choosing a bright colour over black and taupe which dominates most of our wardrobes today.

Anne Weyman (far right) at a friend's wedding in 1968

Anne shares Maggie Semple’s interest in “clothes and their relationship to the individuals who wear them” and this is something which has been passed down to Anne’s daughter who has also worn the dress during pivotal events in her life. It is the timeless elegance of the dress that allows it to transcend generations and become entwined in the memories of both mother and daughter. It is this alone which makes the dress a treasured garment.

Grace Molan

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