Ma Belle, Its All About British Designers…

Ma Belle

Dear British Bride,

Put up the bunting and break out the flags we are going to talk about some of today’s hottest British wedding dress designers. Some is the operative word here as if I listed all; those that aren’t so hot would know they didn’t make the cut.

There is only one designer that can graciously accept an award from the Queen herself while openly going against the grain of popular opinion…let’s face it…she said Michelle Obama’s fashion choices were a “nonstarter” when it came to finding an outfit that suited her. But do we still love the one and only Dame Vivienne Westwood?…of course we do and so does the rest of the world. She did that unforgettable dress in Sex and the City… and only that dress could personify Carrie (yes I feel like we are on a first name basis – I love that movie!). And when the world’s most famous Burlesque dancer, Dita Von Teese, chooses to wear your dress in purple…well…enough said right? As a wedding dress designer, she allows the bride’s inner rock-star to mosh down the aisle to the front man in her life. She takes risks with colours and shapes. And the beauty of it all people don’t even need to ask who you are wearing…it’s a Vivienne Westwood…and they know it. The casual but deliberate draping that creates beautiful bodices and silhouettes are one of a kind and scream individuality.

Since we are talking go big or go home…let’s look at some of the beautiful pieces that Alexander McQueen has graced us with. Yes, a very special Royal wore the label…and that dress inspired thousands of women worldwide as they searched for the perfect gown. But McQueen has historically been viewed as one of the greatest showmen in fashion history. The high necklines and hand-pleated organza skirts in the Snow Queen collection literally brought tears to my eyes. And only in the house of McQueen is it OK to pair a wide leather belt with a soft structure gown and call it a wedding dress. I’m totally game! It’s beautifully edgy and different. There is a strength that exudes from a McQueen gown while still reinforcing femininity. As a bride, you put on the dress…and think… “I’ll walk myself down the aisle…I am woman hear me roar!” But then shouldn’t every wedding dress make you feel that way just a little?

Phillipa Lepley is another designer that Brits should tip their hats to. She has built a reputation for handing over the paint brush to brides and allowing them to really share in the creation of their dress while guiding them towards a final garment that is synonymous with quality and class.

I have to give a special mention to David Fielden…as a designer, his dresses have a beautifully creative edge but they are not costumes. You can actually wear them! His background in theatre design is present throughout his pieces but it translates so well…like he knows just how far to go without completely going off the deep end. Remember girls…it is a wedding dress… unless you are going for a fancy dress theme…leave the characters from Gone with the Wind at home!

Stewart Parvin is a designer that has to be mentioned. His attention to detail and classical work has drawn the attention of the Queen herself. But one should not mistake this designer as one that only appeals to those with demure taste. He can roll with the best of them by adding fur detailing and sparkle as seen with his current collection and some of his more fluid dresses offer a sex appeal within the design while still being very much a wedding dress.

There are a few designers that are newer in the British market that definitely deserve a mention. Sanyukta Shrestha offers dresses for the eco-friendly bride. She has a dress made from milk silk…and rounded up recycled newspapers to create a runway piece that has received international recognition. She achieves classic designs in an innovative and greenway…a total win-win!

Elizabeth Stuart is a British based design house that specialises in classic dresses with a twist. Her brides want something unique that sets them apart from the rest. Her beautiful fabrics and attention to detail has quickly put her in the forefront of the bridal press. We all wait with baited breath for her collections as she really lives up to her “Where Future meets Fairytale and Falls in Love” slogan. Awww… I love that!

We might be a nation that is small in size but we are mighty in design! Rule Britannia! x

Words by Ma Belle

Illustration by Cedric Rivrain

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