Backstage again

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Hello

Just a quick update tonight. We’re so busy that I barely have time to blink. We’re in peak production at the moment and the Dresses we’re working on are for all the June, July and August Celebrations coming up. It’s a wee bit frantic but we’re on schedule and delivering everything we’ve promised. (Of course!!)Eli3

I had a quick look through my archives for a nice picture to share and I LOVE these! They are backstage catwalk photos from my private collection. This is our beautiful Eli, pretending to sulk because I was trying to take a picture of the other two models standing behind her.

Please dont think that Eli is having a supermodel strop though, she’s a lovely girl and a natural star. She looks amazing in all our styles so in the second one you can see her usual sunny smile.

Hope you like it!

Love Maria xx

 

Featured in Your Manchester Wedding!

Press - Your Manchester Wedding LogoEditorialWow!

We’ve been featured in the May Edition of Your Manchester Wedding! They picked out our Susannah Dress and we’re in the magazine in the ‘Dress your Bridesmaids’ feature as

‘Vintage Vixen’

Love it!! They were kind enough to quote me too (below) To say I’m a bit thrilled is an understatement. Huge thanks to ‘Your Manchester Wedding’ – the new issue is out to buy on the 29th of May!

Love Maria xx

“This Ballerina silhouette is adaptable for everyone from the tinest Flower Girl to the Maid of Honour. The slightly vintage styling is right on trend and is univerally flattering to all figure types. The style can be made with or without straps, a matching bolero jacket adds a little coverage for the tops of the arms if required. This Dupion Silk is available in a rainbow of beautiful shades, so I’d recommend having your Bridesmaids and Flower Girls in one shade, and the Maid of Honour in another perfect toning shade to ensure she stands out.”

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Many Congratulations Catherine and Frank!

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These amazing images just arrived from Catherine and Frank following their Wedding on the 9th of March. Dont they look amazing?

Catherine chose to combine elements from our ‘Natalie’ and ‘Amanda’ styles to create her unique Dress, and then selected an ‘Evie’ jacket to finish the look. The fabric is 100% Pure Silk Dupion in a stunning shade called ‘Gilver’ – a striking mixture of Gold and SIlver, paired here with classic black.

I think she looks stylish and elegant but most of all she looks really happy and confident. However much I love creating gorgeous styles I always know the outfit is a complete success when you notice the lady first and the dress second!

Thanks you so much for sharing your pictures with us Catherine, and many congratulations on your Wedding to your handsome and lucky Groom!

Love Maria xx

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Random Loveliness..!

Woohoo!

The Random Quote ‘thingie’ (Technical term there…) is now working on the website. We’ve had so many lovely compliments from our Clients and now every time you log into the site you’ll get to read a few of them. They’re on the Home Page, and also the Real Clients Page.

If yours is missing and you’d like it added just let me know!

Thank you all for the lovely things you’ve said. It gives me an amazing warm feeling whenever I read them and I feel incredibly lucky to have been part of so many happy occasions.

And, as this post is all about randomness I thought I’d share some random pictures. These are a few behind the scenes pictures from some previous Photoshoots.

Hope you enjoy them.

Love Maria xx

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The Sparkle Baby is here

Its a boyHello

Congratulations to our our Sparkle Fairy who finally stopped teasing us and delivered her baby.

A big ‘Hello’ to Eliot George Oliver who arrived on the 18th of May weighing 7lbs 9oz.

I didn’t win the sweepstake so I cant give up work. Talking of work though, Donna, Eliot is three whole days old now, isn’t it about time you came back…? :)

Love from Maria and the whole Team xx

My kind of Flower Show

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I’ve been watching The Chelsea Flower Show on tv tonight and getting inspired by all  things flowery.

Much as I might aspire to being a gardener I’m afraid my talents (and my time) are very limited.

I do plant up all the window boxes on the shop front but I confess I’m thinking more along the lines of ‘Please dont die!’ and crossing my fingers rather than expecting them to win a gold medal.

The flowers that I am far more at home with though are these. Hand made silk flowers –  used here to embellish the back of a bustle.

 

MMC-Roseanna1We make these flowers ourselves in the workroom and as you can imagine they’re quite time consuming. Totally worth it though when they are this pretty and feminine!

This Wedding Gown is called Roseanna and as you can see it has quite a generous number of flowers. If you want more though, and like the idea of an entire Flower Show to follow you up the aisle, you only have to ask. Just like everything else we make, every single detail is customisable to create the dress of your dreams.

The other good thing about these blooms is of course, they last for ever!

Now thats my kind of ‘gardening’

Love Maria xx

Yummy Mummy – Modern Mother of the Bride

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Hello

Just a quick update tonight. We had another full day of Consultations and Fittings today and we have the same again for tomorrow. I might need to spend Sunday lying down in a dark room at this rate. Or possibly in a pub garden! I’ll check the weather forecast and then decide :)

We usually have a mix of appointments but today was almost exclusively Mothers of the Bride or Groom. It’s such an important role in a Wedding and I’m passionate about getting the designs right for every single Client. The clothes have to look amazing and fit perfectly (obviously) but you should also feel comfortable when you wear them. When you look in the mirror you should see YOU on your best day, not a stranger in the standard ‘Mother of the Bride’ uniform.

Ditch the frump! Choose something sassy and flirty. Maybe even a bit sexy!

The picture today shows our Susannah and Gemma styles on a recent Catwalk. (Click on the image to make it larger.) Both can be made in a whole rainbow of colours. We can add sleeves, make the hem longer or shorter, change the neckline and make any other adaptations that you’d like to make sure that the finished result is perfectly ‘You’!

The pictures of the happy day will last forever so make sure that when you show them off everyone sees you smiling and looking amazing instead of asking you who the old lady in the beige suit is…

Love Maria xx

Go Mary Berry!

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Did you happen to see Mary Berry at the recent BAFTA awards? I thought she looked amazing! So lovely to see her wearing one of her trademark bright colours. The cut of the neckline of her dress was flattering and the bracelet length sleeves give her just a little coverage. All in all a great choice.

Back to the colour though – I LOVE it! Soft, but deep, rich and vibrant too. It would suit any girl of any age.

I am lucky enough to get the chance to dress lots of ladies who fully embrace their age and are the very definition of ‘Grown Up’ glamour. I find them an amazing inspiration! Looking good has no upper age limit and if Mary Berry can do it at 80 there’s no excuse for any of us :)

Love Maria xx

The Sparkle Fairy!

Isabella GownHello

Our lovely Donna finished work last week to start her Maternity leave.

Donna is our head ‘Sparkle Fairy’ and a wizard when it comes to beautiful embellishment. She’s temporarily handed over the keys to the sequin, crystal, bead and pearl vault though – we have to make sure that no-one is left without bling while she gets on with the important business of having a baby!

This is an example of Donna’s exquisite hand beading on our Isabella Gown.

Donna has very meanly refused to tell us if she’s having a boy or a girl and just smiles sweetly every time we ask. Anyone would think she was enjoying keeping us guessing! The sweepstake to guess the date, the weight and the sex of the baby is therefore being hotly contested and the winner is going to walk away with untold riches (About fifteen quid!) so we’re all on the edges of our seats.

Not long to wait now though! (Come on 18th of May, 7.5lbs, GIRL!!!) Best Wishes Donna, we miss you…

Love Maria and the Team xx

Hello and welcome!

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Welcome to my Blog!

We want to give you a peek into what goes on in the Studio behind the scenes and let you know what we’re working on. So many clothes are now made abroad and imported to the UK and we’re very proud of the fact that we design, cut and manufacture everything ourselves. It’s Couture in the REAL sense of the word!

I’ll explain some more about that in my next post but in the meantime, I was asked recently for some tips on finding the PERFECT dress. I wrote the following article and I thought you might like to see it.

Let me know what you think – and if there are any questions that you’d like answered or anything you’ve always wanted to know then leave me a comment and I’ll do my best to answer.

Love Maria xx

Finding your perfect dress

When should I start looking for my wedding dress?
Ideally you need to start looking a year to 18 months in advance. It sounds like a long time but a successful Designer will have a busy order book, especially in peak Wedding season. We do occasionally have space in our Workrooms for a last minute request, but as much as I love the romance of an elopement there is a limit to how many miracles we can pull off!

How do I pick the right dress silhouette for my shape?

You probably already know what shapes suit you and what works for your figure type. If you think about your favourite dress, the one that makes you feel a knockout on a night out, and it has a nipped in waist and a full skirt then it’s probably that kind of silhouette that’s going to work for your Wedding Dress. Likewise, if you feel your best in narrow slinky shapes then that’s probably where you should start.

Having said that though, the only way to be sure is to try on lots of samples – when you try on a shape that makes you want to stay in front of the mirror then you know you have the right one!

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Isabella is made from the palest shades of pink blush, overlaid with sequinned lace. Delicate and feminine but with a daring and sexy low back.

Does it have to be white? What other wedding gown colours are trending?

White will always be a traditional option but shades of Ivory can be softer and more flattering to wear. My Brides are getting more adventurous though and we’re seeing lots of interest in our ‘Isabella’ style which is a soft blush pink. This is a beautifully feminine and romantic look and the trend for pastels is definitely gathering pace.

I also love metallic embroideries and tulles, and for pure glamour you can’t beat silver and cool shades of palest icy blue. The shine gives texture and drama and as the celebrations move from day to evening the changing light will make sure the Bride and her dress stay the centre of attention. You can see this in our ‘Tiffany’ style.

We have sample books full of thousands of fabric options though and I work with each Bride to make sure we can find the perfect shade for her. I’m happy to guide and to make suggestions but I never dictate. I love doing something more unusual and my own Wedding Dress was red silk velvet so I’m always happy to push the boundaries!

Will it cost an arm and a leg to have a dressmaker/designer make ideal my dress?

It’s probably far more affordable than you think. The average UK Bride spends £1400 on her Dress but my prices start at around £1000 for a Bellerina length Dress and around £1600 for a Full length Dress. For that you get the absolutely luxury of a Gown that has been designed and created with you and only you in mind. Every single stitch will have been precisely placed to fit and flatter your figure.

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Tiffany in palest icy blue with silver metallic lace is an absolute show stopper of a Gown.

I wish more Brides would investigate the possibilities of a Bespoke Dress as I hate the thought that they might compromise – this is the one special day in your life when you absolutely, positively HAVE to have the dress of your dreams. You, and your partner, deserve nothing less.

What are the benefits of going to a dressmaker/designer rather than a bridal boutique?
Firstly I think there is the guarantee that your dress is unique. There is definitely a place in the market for the Bridal warehouses where there are racks of identical dresses but if you’re looking for something special that reflects your personal style then having a bespoke design is definitely the way to go. I work with my Brides to tailor every single detail to their exact requirements and to ensure that their dream dress really does come to life.

The second real advantage will be the fit. Lots of Brides are sold what is described as a ‘made to measure’ dress but in reality they are buying a standard size dress which is then just altered. If you are what Mass Manufacturers call ‘standard’ ie: 5ft 8in tall and a B cup, then you might get lucky, but for anyone else running a dress in down the side seams and chopping a bit off the hem is not going to result in a dress that is as flattering as it could be.

We follow traditional Couture principles so we create a trial version of the Dress in an inexpensive fabric (known as a Calico, or Toile) for the Brides first fitting. Once that is perfect we make the Dress again, this time in the Brides choice of fabric, and we have the second or ‘Silk’ fitting. We again check the design and the fit and make any further changes before we start the embellishment. My designs often include embroidery, beading and crystals which are all painstakingly applied by hand. When you commission a bespoke design you can have every single detail exactly how you want it.

Can I still go to a dressmaker if I’m not sure what style I want or do I need a particular style in mind?

It’s absolutely fine to come along with a completely open mind. I ask lots of questions about the Brides vision for the day, and I can pick up clues from which of our sample dresses she might linger over too. I’ll ask about the venue, the time of year, whether the Bride needs a day time Dress, an evening Dress or a look that will adapt for both. Even something as simple as asking what shoes the Bride wants to wear can give me a clue about what is going to be the Dress of her Dreams.

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One of my finished Design sketches.

I usually sit with my sketch book in hand and just start drawing the preliminary thoughts which the Bride and I then chat about. We’ll discuss which features the Bride is happy to show off, and if there’s anything she’d like the eye discreetly drawn away from then I make sure that happens too.

I’ve found the perfect one, how do I choose bridal party wear to go with it?

It can be hard finding styles that work for attendants who are probably a range of ages and sizes but the golden rule is that all the looks must complement that of the Bride. If your chosen dress is soft and romantic then your attendants will look best in a similar style and likewise if your style is sleek and contemporary then your attendants will need smoother lines and a sharper cut. Choosing a colour palette and then having differing styles for your grown up girlfriends and tiny little flower girls can work beautifully. Never forget though – it’s the Brides choice!

What is the one thing you wish you could tell all brides when they start looking for their perfect dress?

Just one thing? Lol – this is far too important for that! My top three tips though would be these:

Have Fun.
Choosing your Dress is an important decision – but it’s supposed to be enjoyable. Don’t tolerate anyone trying to apply pressure or using hard sell techniques – just because they have a target to meet or a dress to shift it doesn’t mean that it’s the right one for you. Likewise with anywhere you encounter an ‘attitude’ from the Staff – we’ve heard some horror stories about snooty shop assistants so if you’re not feeling comfortable, happy, welcome and inspired then walk away.

Don’t compromise.
We all grow up with an idea of what our Wedding Dress might be like and although the details might change the one constant is that it must be PERFECT! If you look at a Dress and think ‘I love this but…’ then it’s not right for you. You took your time to find the right partner, and you’re going to be admiring your Wedding photos for many years to come so you need to look your very best,

And lastly, follow your heart.
If you try a sample on and it makes you smile, and look good, and feel amazing then that’s a good sign regardless of what anyone might say about the latest trend. Trust your own sense of style and have exactly what you want.

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