With a career in the bridal wear industry spanning over a decade, Ian Stuart has garnered an enviable reputation in bridal couture for his diversity in styles, shapes and colours, while never losing that all-important display of sheer luxury in his designs.
Since launching his brand in London, Ian Stuart has been awarded UK Bridal Designer of the Year an incredible five times, and has attracted worldwide attention for his daring, dramatic pieces.
From theatrical and intricate full length gowns, to short and sweet prom-style frocks, Ian truly offers something for every bride, as his ever-expanding collection continues to showcase his innovative approach to bridal design.
Following a recent inspirational trip to Brussels, Ian reflected the rippled, fondant textures displayed by couture chocolatiers in his draped fabrics, incorporating a sugary, pastel colour palette.
Here, he talks to Darlington Weddings about his 2013 collection, where a range of eras from the classic Edwardian and Jacobean, to the iconic 50s and 60s, are depicted and adapted for the modern bride.
DW: Where do you draw your main inspiration from?
IS: I have always been inspired by couture designers such as Christian Dior, Givenchy, and Oscar De La Renta. I am also inspired by music, people and travel.
DW: How quickly do styles change? Is there a distinct new look each season, as with the high street, or do bridal styles evolve differently?
IS: We introduce new looks each season, picking up on trends and colours that have been popular in high fashion, however bridal fashion also takes inspiration from history as well as looking to the future.
DW: Who would be your dream client?
IS: Vanessa Paradis – she is so chic, cool and elegant!
DW: Is there an iconic wedding dress that you wish you had designed?
IS: I loved the 1960s dress worn by Priscilla when she married Elvis. It’s so “Vegas” and fun!
DW: What can we expect from the Ian Stuart 2013 collection? Do you have a favourite piece?
IS: My latest collection is a fusion of my two greatest passions: innovative design, and historical influence. I have strived to create a collection that is distinctive, cutting edge and unmistakably Ian Stuart. I have studied the finer details of costume and reinterpreted them in a modern way. Inspired by methods of great couturiers past and present, I’ve spent time exploring inventive pattern cutting, creating stunning shapes and silhouettes that will excite the next generation of fashion conscious brides.
The new Supernova collection includes pieces which are based on various periods in time and I have designed dresses that can be worn at a range of wedding venues, from the intimacy of a sun kissed beach to the drama of a country castle. My favorite dress in the collection is called Florina. It is made in blush silk satin, with an asymmetric pleated bodice and covered with hand made roses. This dress epitomizes the Ian Stuart style.
DW: What advice would you give to women who are trying on bridal wear for the first time?
IS: I would advise any bride to make a scrap book of the styles she likes, and then try on styles of each shape, ball-gown, fishtail, and A-line. This way you can start to eliminate the shapes that don’t work for you and concentrate on trying on more in the shapes that do. Don’t take too many people with you to try on dresses, as too any opinions will only make you confused.
DW: What is your own idea of the perfect wedding day?
IS: Planning is everything. As long as there is a planned schedule of events, it will go smoothly. Make sure you set aside little moments during the day, so you can catch your breath, enjoy and savour the moment!
DW: Finally, you’ve won many awards, including Outstanding Contribution to the Industry and UK Bridal Designer of the Year, but what is your proudest achievement to date?
IS: My proudest achievement to date was actually setting up the business and creating my own independent collection. It was a very scary time and for any designer who launches a collection, there are going to be hurdles and bumps along the way. I have always tried to stick to our handwriting and make sure that our look has its own identity. Next year is our 10th anniversary and we are looking forward to the next 10 years!