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!
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.