Princess Diana’s favourite fashion designer Bruce Oldfield sits for Royal sculptor at Lambeth Palace

Bruce Oldfield, who was supported by Barnardo’s in Yorkshire as a child, poses for a live sculpture to help raise awareness of the critical services needed for vulnerable children and young people. Stephanie Smith reports.

Frances Segelman and Bruce Oldfield with the live sculpture.
Frances Segelman and Bruce Oldfield with the live sculpture.

Princess Diana’s favourite fashion designer Bruce Oldfield OBE last night sat for a live-sculpted bust by Royal sculptor Frances Segelman at an event to raise awareness and funds forthe important work of Barnardo’s, a charity close to his heart.

Born in 1950 to an Irish mother and a Jamaican father, Oldfield was fostered in County Durham by seamstress Violet Masters, who inspired his love of fashion.

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After passing the 11-plus, he attended Ripon Grammar School and lived at a Barnardo’s children’s home in Ripon. Barnardo’s paid his fees and provided a grant for him to attend Saint Martin’s School of Art, following a teacher training course at Sheffield City College of Education.

The live sculpting event at Lambeth Palace.

Oldfield has created couture gowns for fashion icons including Dame Joan Collins, Charlotte Rampling and Rihanna. He was famously the favourite fashion designer of Diana, Princess of Wales, who was president of Barnardo’s for 12 years. He now creates couture pieces for Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, Barnardo’s Royal patron.

Last night at Lambeth Palace Gardens, Frances Segelman, who is also known as Lady Petchy, sculpted Bruce Oldfield using clay. Segelman has previously crafted likenesses of The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh.

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The live-sculpting evening was Barnardo’s first event since the pandemic to raise awareness of its Positive Futures appeal, which includes services for children in the care system and young people who have left care and are starting to live independently.

Frances Segelman has also sculpted royal family members.

Before the event, Oldfield, who is vice president of Barnardo’s, said: "I’m delighted to be able to support Barnardo's to help them promote their vital work and I’m looking forward to sitting for Frances Segelman in such a wonderful garden setting.”

Frances Segelman said: “I had the idea of creating this unique event to give Barnardo’s supporters the opportunity to enjoy an evening of art, culture and the unfolding of a fascinating story. I am especially excited to sculpt Barnardo’s vice president, the exceptionally talented designer Bruce Oldfield. How wonderful that Lambeth Palace has enabled us to host this live sculpting event in such a breath-taking and historic setting."

Last year 358,800 children, young people and parents were supported by Barnardo’s through more than 800 services across the UK working with young carers, care leavers, foster carers and adoptive parents, training and skills or parenting classes.

Bruce Oldfield with Sophie Dunne, photographer