British Polio Fellowship Ambassador Anne Wafula-Strike, has teamed up with celebrity dress designer Izzy Camilleri, a specialist in disability fashion, to create a dress fit to meet The Queen. The garment has been designed specifically to be worn by Anne as a wheelchair user when she collects her MBE (Member of the British Empire) at the Buckingham PalaceInvestiture on 14th October for her services to disability, sport and charity work.
“To be formally presented with an MBE at Buckingham Palace is truly the highest honour of my life and I cannot put into words how excited I am about the whole occasion,” said Anne Wafula Strike. “I can’t wait to receive my medal and I am so pleased to have been able to team up with Izzy to create a truly beautiful dress worthy of this regal occasion. The dress is beautiful and it proves fashion can be accessible.”
Sketches of Anne’s investiture outfits
Canadian Izzy Camilleri has worked with a number of high profile celebrities, including designing Meryl Streep’s fur coat in Hollywood classic The Devil Wears Prada. Izzy was also recognised as Canadian Art and Fashion Women’s Wear Designer of The Year in 2006. She has since turned her attention to disability and wheelchair fashion, creating her very own brand for the purpose called IZ Adaptive.
“It is an honour for me to work with Anne and be a part of this monumental day,” said Izzy Camilleri. “Anne is an amazing person who gives so much of herself and has done so much for so many that it is now her time to receive all that she has been giving.”
The first outfit, the teal green day dress was made with the African print that was gifted to Anne from the places in Africa she does her charity work for. The fabric has a floral print border that we strategically placed in and around the dress to flatter Anne in the best way possibly for the high honour Anne is receiving. The dress is also cut for a seated framed body, allowing room at the back while seated, as well as a cleaner look at the waist with no excess of fabric. Flowers were cut away from the fabric to create very unique wheel accessories to complete the look.
The second outfit, made from a mint coloured, rhinestoned lace is more sleek and fitted to Anne for the gala reception in the evening. Rhinestones were placed around the neckline to add more sparkle to her special day. A lace 3/4 sleeve jacket was made also for an extra layer if she needed in the evening. The floor length dress was also cut for a seated frame, allowing the dress to fall beautifully when seated.
The wheel accessories for the evening are designed to sparkle all night with sequins, rhinestones and shimmering flowers. Another African print is also used for Anne’s belt and part of the wheel adornment, while both ensembles are capped by stunning complementary headwear by milliner Karyn Gingras.
“Anne has worked tirelessly to help us mark the 75th Anniversary of The British Polio Fellowship and to raise awareness of the Late Effects of Polio and Post Polio Syndrome (PPS) and this MBE is richly deserved,” said CEO of The British Polio Fellowship, Ted Hill MBE. “We hope the recognition for Anne’s work will inspire others living with Polio and PPS and that this stunning new dress by Izzy Camilleri, will once again turn heads in aid of disability fashion.”
It is not the first time Anne has worked with a fashion designer to create a dress specifically designed to be worn with the wheelchair. In July Anne joined forces with designer Aleah Leigh to create a dress made entirely from train tickets in a bid to raise awareness of the Late Effects of Polio and PPS and the struggles that disabled people face when it comes to fashion.
“The PPS train ticket dress worked wonders to raise awareness of both PPS and disability fashion as people took pictures of me modelling it and shared them via social media,” said Anne. “It’s my hope that when I make my way to the Investiture in my beautifully designed outfit to collect my MBE, more people will realise that a wheelchair is no boundary for looking and feeling glamourous and wheelchair users can achieve their dreams and ambitions.
This year alone Anne has delivered talks at Rotary conferences in London and Sydney as well as at The British Polio Fellowship’s Heathrow roadshow event and she will be in attendance at a Parliamentary Reception on 22 October to mark PPS Day 2014.
The British Polio Fellowship is a charity dedicated to helping, supporting and empowering those in the UK living with the effects of Polio and PPS. Post Polio Syndrome (PPS) is a neurological condition which can occur in up to 80 per cent of those who have had Polio. It is thought that around 120,000 people in the UK are living with the effects of Polio or PPS today. For more details or information on The British Polio Fellowship, call us on 0800 043 1935, email at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the website at www.britishpolio.org.uk