Monday, 2 December 2013

Studio Diary - Beading the Bridal Collection

Today is the start of the final leg of the 2014 bridal collection production. Beads and feathers scatter the carpet of the studio where I work on the collections whilst crystals and sequins are silently sewn individually to the dresses. Every time I think a dress is complete I say to myself, just a few more beads and then it really will be something special!

Thursday, 21 November 2013

Black Tulle Dotted Cocktail Dress - Matte

Black Polka dot Tulle Prom Dress 

This black version of our classic tulle prom dress was made earlier this year for a bespoke client. When she suggested the idea of black sequins on the black tulle, I just loved the idea of using matte black penny paillette's to make the dots.

This subtle detail really changes the mood of the dress, a little less Prom Queen and a lot more Black Swan. 

N.B Please excuse the slightly blurred images, getting the dots to show up was a little tricky when photographing.

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Artisans - Lindsey King Embellisher of Beautiful Things - Wedding Garlands

Lindsey King - Bespoke Sequinned Garland Decorations.

Lindsey King is not just a talented lady when it comes to beading and painting but also with a needle and thread. 
Lindsey and husband Rich first made their fabulously decorative bunting garlands together (with an original 1900s Singer sewing machine with hand wheel!) for their wedding earlier this year and the bespoke orders just kept coming for every kind of event since. 

Now if I'm honest I haven't always been a fan of bunting, It usually tends to be a bit washy in baby blues and never really is enough to style a room properly, but Lindsey's bright and colorful sequinned garlands completely won me over. 

By confidently combining big, bold and bright prints, with saturated colour trims and working them further with hand embellished sequins the result is a statement decoration that really makes a room. The lettering is divine, shaped in perfect fonts of curls with such precise needlework. These really will become beautiful family heirlooms taken out for special occasions over the years. 

Lindsey King is someone with an untainted outsider talent who simply adds joy to every project she works on. She's quite an inspiration. See more of Lindsey King's painted things in her Etsy shop HERE. 

Monday, 18 November 2013

Sparkling Cocktail Purses

We've been very busy here at the studio prepping for our Pop-Up shop at the end of the month in the beautiful city of Bath.
Here are a few of the sparkling glitter purses that will be available over the weekend from the 29th November to the 1st December. 

You will be able to pick up these little luxuries (they are all lined in sumptuous silks) along with our favourite accessories ..... belts, key fobs and our classic velvet hair bows. Great for special stocking fillers.

Of course, if you are not visiting Bath that weekend all of these gifts are available to buy in our online shop HERE. 

Thursday, 7 November 2013

Bespoke Gown for the Barbican

This dress was made for a wedding at the Barbican Arts Centre this September and was commissioned as a bespoke piece for a bride looking for something to fit perfectly with the venue and her style.

Based on our Christy dress the French corded lace used was a deep champagne colour to match the dark ivory of the silk duchess satin. Once again we turned the silk on it's back to give the lustrous depth of sheen without the high shine.
This fitted design with its dramatic low back, smoothed hips and feminine sweetheart illusion over the bust gave a beautiful balletic quality. Contrasting with this delicate fit the double full circle skirt drapes in dramatic curls to the hand bound hem made from the matching silk satin.

The bride chose a fabulous pair of spectator shoes from Chie Mihara with a lemon yellow bow which we picked up in stripes over the finely beaded belt.
Each of the covered lace buttons was hand beaded with Japanese foil lined glass beads in a mix of champagne and cream tones. This design matched the edging of the neckline also adorned in subtle beads.

It has been an honor to design a dress to be worn at the Barbican surrounded by so much inspiration and style.

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Proud Moments - Larry and Daniels West Point Wedding

Photography by Jill Knight 

This all started with a little glitter bow tie that I made as a bespoke order for a Mr Larry Choate III. He explained via email that the wedding was very important as they would be the first male West Point graduates to marry at the United States Military Academy.

I didn't really consider how HUGE this was. Equal marriage will at last be an everyday occurrence here in 2014.
I naively really did think everything was equal already until I read into this on Stonewall and have to say I'm quite ashamed of my ignorance and the British government for taking so long on this. The thought of other human beings having to abide by different laws to me (an average whitish person married to a tall grey haired person) because of the skin between their legs is utterly ridiculous.
Thankfully Larry has documented the challenges Daniel and himself faced in the U.S military very eloquently on his blog here.

Photography by Jill Knight

I was mostly excited that this bow tie was to match Larry's Jimmy Choo Sloane shoes!

I designed and made the bow tie with the matching coarse glitter they use at Jimmy Choo and lined the bow tie in silk with another silk bow underneath to keep the bow plump. The bow was then centered with the hand woven silk and placed it on a narrow silk band. Larry teamed the tie with a beautifully cut black tuxedo (which took some finding) and a classic white shirt. Perfection.

Larry sent me an email last night reading .... " Alexandra, I wanted to take a second to let you know that your bow tie is getting quite a bit of attention. The New York Times selected a photo of it from their story that covered our wedding this past weekend. I have received countless compliments about it and wanted to share the link with you so you could share it if you wanted. Your work is so great and I wanted you to get the credit for what you made for me."

A very big sparkling congratulations to Larry and Daniel, I am so proud to be just a tiny little part of this addition to equality!

Read and see beautiful photographs on the New York Times Blog Here. 
Read a great article by Nina Ippolito on Policy Mic here. 

Monday, 4 November 2013

Artisans - Lindsey King Embellisher of Beautiful Things - Bridal Sashes

Lindsey King hand beaded bridal belts. 

I met Lindsey last year whilst working on her wedding dress and we instantly shared our love of all things embellished and sparkly. Lindsey really wanted a beaded belt to wear with her wedding dress and knowing her skills with a paint brush (check out her hand painted table wear here) I gave her the option of making one herself.

After a few months working away on the belts a little at a time, Lindsey arrived with the most breathtakingly beautiful beaded sashes. Very different from my strictly patterned designs, these belts included vintage 1950s rhinestone hearts glistening in scarlet reds surrounded by silver, gold and pearls, all individually picked and placed. Coral and blue Swarovski crystals are hidden amongst opalescent vintage milk glass beads and tiny crystal bugles that contain the sparkles.

Turn the belt over and you can see the painstaking craftsmanship in fine beautiful stitches where each of the two and half thousand beads have been hand sewn.

One of these belts is all you need with a simple ivory dress to make your wedding dress shine and you will most certainly wear it again!

These belts are available from Lindsey's Etsy shop here. 

Monday, 28 October 2013

Beautiful Blue Bride





I love receiving wedding photos especially when they include a beautiful bride wearing one of my dresses! 

This little blue silk dress trimmed in silver sequins with a full deep hemmed tulle skirt looks absolutely stunning on bride Georgie in Melbourne. Congratulations to the happy couple! x

Happy Birthday Edith Head

Today is Edith Head's birthday, she would have been One Hundred and sixteen.
Bette Davis read in her eulogy "A queen has left us, the queen of her profession. She will never be replaced. Her contribution to our industry in her field of design, her contribution to the taste of our town of Hollywood, her elegance as a person, her charms as a woman - none of us who worked with her will ever forget."
As we earlier spoke about Edith Head working with Hitch and Grace on 'To Catch a Thief' HERE, this is just a celebratory post including my favourite Hitchcock/ Head collaboration. Rear Window.
Edith said about this film in the book 'Edith Head's Hollywood ...
"Hitchcock told me it was important that Grace's clothes help to establish some sort of conflict in the story. She was to be a typical sophisticated society-girl magazine editor who falls in live with a scruffy photographer, Jimmy Stewart. ...... Hitch wanted her to look like a piece of Dresden China, something slightly untouchable. So I did that. Her suits were impeccably tailored, her accessories looked as though they couldn't be worn by anyone else but her. She was perfect. "
" the black and white dress I used in the first live scene had a simple nec.kline which framed her face in close ups. Then as th camera pulled back, the beaded chiffon skirt immediately told the audience she was a rich girl. "
Watch it tonight to start of your Halloween festivities and gaze a the beautiful Grace in her divinely designed dresses. Happy Birthday Ms. Head, goddess of costume.
Rear Window by Alfred Hitchcock
Edith Head's Hollywood by Edith Head and Paddy Caliistro

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Bespoke Bride Kelly by Anna Vickery

Here is another of Anna's spectacular bespoke wedding dresses, this time for beautiful bride Kelly who was married in the first weekend in September. 

Anna met Kelly through teaching dressmaking workshops at Millie Moon in Frome and to cut a long story short came to the rescue when Kelly was let down on her first wedding dress order. 

This worked out wonderfully as Kelly was now able to have the exact dress of her dreams, a stunning 1950's inspired couture gown. 
The design included a fine French corded lace bodice with elbow length sleeves that fitted over the smooth sweetheart bodice trimmed with covered buttons down the back.  A sharp pleated silk belt cinched the waist and the dress finished in a glorious full circle skirt made of handwoven silk. 

In Kelly's words " Thank you very much for making my beautiful wedding dress. Michael and all the guests really loved it. I was so pleated with the outcome. 
                                    With many thanks and love from Kelly "

For more info on this dress and other bespoke gowns please contact Anna Vickery at 


Photography: Gareth Hannam 
Shoes: Rachel Simpson
Hair and make-up: Townhouse Retreat
Accessories: Vintage pearls and Kelly made her own hair bow from scraps of the dress fabric.
Flowers: Bramble and Wild
Transport:VW Split Screen Hire
Bunting: Millie Moon Haberdashery and Sewing School
Marquee Hire: Archers Marquees

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Revisiting the Astor Dress

Working again on dresses from past collections is always like visiting an old and very lovely friend. The Astor dress is one that I am always happy to go back and revise to each of our brides specific bespoke requests.

This year the Astor was re-designed with a mirrored asymmetric draped back and side button fastening. The original had no buttons and this year the buttons have ran along the side and cascaded down the spine. Both are a welcome addition to the overall look of the dress from all angles.

I photographed the dress nude without the beaded embellishments and I love the raw texture of the handwoven silk that drapes and folds like an origami dream. The sparkles make it really something but in its naked state it's just as beautiful which is rather reassuring.

Monday, 14 October 2013

Green Deco Wedding Dress

It's always a heart in your mouth moment when the words design change are uttered, but I'm so glad this dress managed to pull through the all the nervous 'will it work?' worries. Going from a classic fifties full skirted design to this elegant and sophisticated take on the 1920s, the dress most definitely worked.

The dress emerged as an art deco, modest twenties stroke fifties cocktail hour design with a sweetheart fitted bodice in silk duchess satin to match a pencil skirt of the same silk. The bodice was then hand draped and overlaid in fine silk chiffon with beautiful deco inspired bead detail.

I always say I would be happy sewing beads for the rest of my life and this is why when you look at the waistband peeking out from the bodice on the dress. To be able to say that all this beading is hand sewn in the UK is something I am also very proud of, no childrens fingers were harmed in the making of this dress!

The subtle glimmer of the frosted metallic seed beads dotted over the bodice and the eye catching shoulder motifs all embellish the dress like jewels. Fine silk covered buttons trim the spine each individually encrusted with the matching silver and green glass beads.

Worn as a demure wedding dress this Summer and a design to definitely influence pieces to come. Fingers crossed this dress makes it to a museum one day.