I thought I’d share with you a sneak peek at a bridal sketch book. Wedding dresses are one of my favourite pieces to work on. From the wildly fantastical to minimal simplicity, every bride has her own dream dress and helping them realise that dream is both a pleasure and an honour.
The process always begins with a brief, created by the theme and any specific ideas the bride wishes to incorporate, often using mood boards or Pinterest links. Of course, some brides have no clue what kind of dress they want, or feel utterly overwhelmed by the vast choice. By talking things through and helping them create mood boards, we begin to narrow down design details. Sometimes you know you have “The One” from the very first sketch and other times you can fill many pages before you strike lucky.
Next comes research. Naturally, I draw on my knowledge of fashion history, as well as referencing contemporary couture but I also explore art, movies, travel and literature. You never know where the next source of inspiration might come from. The majority of my research is done by sketching. Sketching requires an intensity of observation which allows a designer to pick up on the finer details; you begin to understand how a dress can work or be reworked to suit your particular bride.
A calico toile allows the designer & bride to explore the design in 3D form and to refine the fit and detail. Even where the bride is absolutely certain of the exact style of dress she wants, I will never miss out this stage. It can sometimes require a bit of imagination on the part of the bride to see how a simple calico dress will relate to the thing of beauty she dreams of but even in this form you can begin to see the way the cut will drape & flatter and, perhaps more importantly, what doesn’t work.
Once we are both happy with the toile, I begin work on the final design, arranging further fittings as required. Each step of the process is carefully documented and sent to the bride for approval if necessary. Keeping sketchbooks of the process is what every good designer does and a copy given to the bride at the final fitting is a lovely addition to her wedding memories.
I promised this particular bride that I naturally wouldn’t reveal the final design on here (nor the other designs she chose from as there was a very specific theme) until after her wedding but I will continue documenting the process itself in future posts.
I am also currently designing a range of “ready to wear” gowns which are mostly one-of-a-kind unique pieces and which will be sold via Etsy. If you would like to explore the possibility of having your own gown designed, please do leave a message here!