A real treat for my Bijou brides today as I’ve managed to steal a some time with the talented Charlotte aka Wilden Bride London. Charlotte Wilden is a relatively new kid of the bridal block who offers a bespoke couturier service to brides with unique Wedding dress dreams. You’ll find details not only about Wilden Bride London but also a rare insight into the bespoke Wedding dress design process and what you should expect as a Bijou bride.
How did you get started in the bridal design industry?
“I studied Costume at University but always had fashion and bridal in mind. While on a beading course, I met a girl from a bespoke design label who admired my work and invited me to work with her. I made some really incredible things, learnt so much about manipulating fabric and making beautiful beading designs. I started being asked to make wedding gowns and so I broke away to discover what else was out there. I have worked with some amazing designers in New York and in London, and have found real confidence in my work from the people I have worked with and the brides I have designed for.
I love to get creative with bridal, and prove that you can be alternative with bridal, and that having bespoke doesn’t have to be over-priced. It is hard work, but I love it.“
What inspires your design work?
“It is difficult to say which one thing thing inspires me and my work… What I really love to do is mix things up, choosing things that you wouldn’t automatically put together, like clashing colours, mixing textures and little details which are out of place, which makes them stand out more. I also like secret details which have meaning for the bride that we can incorporate into a design and I can get really involved in the bride’s story.
I like to work vintage items into designs such as lace or brooches and beads so the bride will have something that nobody else has. I like for details to have meaning. For example, for one bride we used the lace from her mother’s own Edwardian wedding veil, it was so much more beautiful just for that reason.“
Is there a typical bride you work with?
“Being inspired by so much helps me work in bespoke design because all of my brides have been so different and have different influences to work into their dresses. A few of my brides work in fashion, design and creative industries themselves, so that can be a little daunting as they already have really strong ideas about what they are looking for and the reason they will have chosen bespoke is because they can’t find what they want from ready to wear designs.
Other brides sometimes feel that they don’t like the experience they receive in bridal boutiques, so I like to keep things really personal, not too pushy and let them make the choices, and I will be honest about what will look the best for them.
Some brides feel that their body shapes don’t fit ready to wear dresses so choosing bespoke, I can create something that will really flatter the brides shape and size. The one thing that my brides have had in common is that they are all so relaxed, and trusting in the work that I am doing for them, so I hope that is a reflection on me!“
For those Bijou brides thinking of a bespoke wedding dress, can you explain both how it works and how long they should allow from creative start to the finished article?
“When a bride first comes to me, I will meet with her and we will start to think about the style of dress she would like, fabrics, shape and design details. I can then advise on what I think would suit her which fabrics will work and how much fabrics will cost, and the time scale. In an ideal world it is good to allow 5-6 months but I do hate to let people down, so if I work extra hard we can achieve a dress in 2-3 months.
After we’ve decided on the basic design, I will take measurement and make a toile, which is a mock up of the final dress so I can perfect the shape and fit and sketch out where design details might be placed such as lace or beadwork.
We can also look at materials, lace, beads and figure out a budget. I ask for a fee which is separate to the cost of materials. That way, brides can have much more control over the cost of the dress and see exactly where their money is going. I am always willing to work with brides on a budget and can recommend excellent alternatives to more expensive fabrics which can look just as luxurious. The trick is how you use the fabric! Because I make every item of the dress myself, details can be changed and re-designed at any stage. Nothing is set in stone until we start working in the final fabrics!“
Any exciting Wilden Bride London plans for 2012 you can share with the Bijou girls?
“For 2012 I really want to work on a collection of samples to showcase my ideas. The designs are drawn up so I just have to find time to develop and make them! There are vintage and modern influences, so something for all brides. I’m also working on a lingerie label which will incorporate some bridal styles too, bespoke corsets and panties for the wedding night, I’m really excited about that too!“
This is the lady who really can turn your bespoke wedding dress dreams into reality and I adore her.