I'm super excited to introduce a truly fabulous post written by one of the most fashionable people I know. So it only seems fitting that this piece is all about a bespoke designer. Everyone, please welcome Phillipa....
It was two years ago this month when, on the 10/10/10 I stepped out of the shower of the quaint boutique hotel in the lake district where we had spent the weekend, and found my then boyfriend now husband sat on the balcony with what looked like a wrapped up shoe box. As it was not a special occasion and my husband does not normally present me with wrapped up gifts on a Sunday morning for no reason, I wondered if this could be the moment I had been waiting over five years for but couldn’t quite work out why the wrapped up shoe box. The confusion subsided when I ripped off the wrapping paper to reveal the famous brown box synonymous with my favourite shoe designer M. Christian Louboutin and I knew that this proposal was going to be so special and so me. Inside the box were the most beautiful pair of ivory, snakeskin, Bianca Louboutins (if you haven’t guessed by now, I am something of a shoe obsessive) and inside the shoes gleamed a stunning one carat, square cut platinum ring.
Since that moment I have spent the past two years (until my wedding day this summer on 04/08/12) submerged in a world of wedding wondrousness and when a friend pointed me in the direction of my ex-classmates blog, I quickly became an addict and now feel extremely honoured to write this guest post. I don’t want to spend this article recounting tales of what was, ultimately, the best day of my life, but instead tell a tale of a very modern relationship, formed and developed through Twitter, a social-networking medium that can have an array of advantages for wedding planning and beyond if you look in the right places.
It was May 2011 and my wedding plans were well underway when I first met designer Kirsty Doyle at a hot yoga session organised by Justine Mills, owner of the boutique Cricket in Liverpool, where my stunning Louboutin shoes had come from. I started to follow her on Twitter and, after her mentioning in the changing rooms one week, that she was about to spend her Saturday doing some fittings for some bespoke clients, I decided to send her a tweet asking if she specifically did mother of the bride outfits. It turns out she did and, although this bespoke bridal aspect of her business was in the early stages of growth, she had started to be approached by a number of bridal party guests for outfits for their loved ones’ big days. I knew this would be the perfect option for my mum, who always likes to do something a bit different, as well as solving her problem of finding something to fit her ultra-petite frame.
Even before I met Kirsty, I was aware of her reputation as an up and coming designer in Liverpool and had spent many a Saturday browsing the shop she used to have in Liverpool 1 showcasing her latest range of designs. I knew that she favoured bright colours, good quality fabrics (specifically silk) and bold, sleek cuts that gave her clothes a distinctly recognisable quality for those who, like me, have an unhealthy interest in fashion. When I mentioned to friends that I was thinking of asking her to make my mum’s 'mother of the bride' outfit, they filled me in on her background which made my decision for me; she was the perfect candidate to make my mum feel special.
Kirsty started out selling customised t-shirts on Liverpool’s Great Homer Street Market before being chosen to compete in Sky One’s first series of Project Catwalk. Not only was Kirsty given the opportunity to work and network with some of fashions most prominent designers and figures, she also went on to win the show and have a feature in UK’s Elle magazine. From there, Kirsty’s career has gone from strength to strength with her clothes being stocked in Liverpool’s flagship boutique Cricket before the opening of her own store in Liverpool One. Kirsty has developed her brand into an ultra-modern enterprise, with the removal of her high street presence in favour of her website and a move into the bespoke market which has blossomed incredibly over the last 12 months into a thriving bridal business. Kirsty still does her normal ready to wear clothing line, Kiki by Kirsty Doyle which can be found on her website Kirsty Doyle but it is really her bespoke service for bridal parties (mother of both the bride and groom), bridesmaids and more recently, brides which are really becoming her flagship designs.
Two months after the initial tweet was sent, and many more Twitter conversations later, my mother made the two and a half hour drive from where she lives in Grimsby to Liverpool to meet with Kirsty at her studio. My mum and I had spent time doing a bit of research into what kind of style she wanted and came to the studio armed with photos and magazine cuttings to show Kirsty. Together, the three of us pieced together an idea of what we wanted and before long the basic outline of a design had come together. At this point my mother still had no idea as to what colour she was going to choose and so Kirsty pulled out a large range of sample colours and offered numerous colour combinations for my mum to choose from. Meeting one complete and both my mother and I were excited to leave Kirsty to produce a mock-up of the dress for my mum to try on at our next session. A few weeks later we were back in Liverpool, this time to try on the design Kirsty had come up with after our brainstorming session, enabling us to have a visual idea of what the outfit was going to look like. The sample design was not in the same colour or material as the final piece but gave us an idea of how the final design would fit together, enabling us to play around with bits that we weren't completely happy with.
This time we added a peplum to the bottom of the dress, another exciting feature to the outfit, suggested by Kirsty and quickly put together whilst mum stood modelling the design. Things so far were looking good!
For the third meeting, Kirsty actually visited my flat for the unveiling and first fitting of the final piece. It looked fantastic, however, my mum had shrunk even more since her original measurements were taken and a few alterations were needed, as well as the three of us deciding that the collar detail on the jacket should be stiffer and the peplum should be more defined. Kirsty went away again and, after a fourth and final visit, mum’s outfit was ready to be taken away.
Nearly twelve months after our original meeting, mum put on her outfit to watch me walk down the aisle, she looked absolutely stunning and received many compliments on the day. Furthermore, having the opportunity for my mum and I to meet regularly and bond over the development of her outfit was great and now the wedding is over we are both somewhat bereft at that fact she no longer has an excuse to visit me regularly (especially as I have since moved to Richmond which is even further away).
The advantages of going bespoke are endless and after enjoying the experience of creating the mother of the bride outfit so much, I was actually a little jealous that I had not gone for a bespoke gown myself. By this point I had already ordered and paid for my gown but I have excitedly followed Kirsty’s expansion into bridal designs over the past 12 months.
If you are looking for a personal and unique experience, where you can collaborate with a professional designer to produce the dress of your dreams, feel like a princess whilst indulging in the numerous appointments and fittings to fit the dress perfectly to your figure, whilst safe in the knowledge that no one else anywhere in the world will be wearing your wedding dress then bespoke really does win hands down. Another advantage with this choice of wedding dress is that you can give the designer your budget and they can (hopefully) try and work to it, giving you a designer experience suitable for your pocket.
If you would like to enquire to Kirsty about her Bespoke Bridal service then either follow her on Twitter or sign up to her website here - (there is a promotion on at the moment where if you sign up to her newsletter you get a £100 voucher towards your bespoke outfit!).
Good luck to all you fabulous brides currently planning your own day of your dreams, I only wish I could go back and do it all again!
Thank you Phillipa for sharing this with us. I'm sure everyone who reads this will agree you all look stunning. Not only is your mum's dress fabulous but your's is amazing - very jealous!