Q & A With 2016 Wedding Dress Designer of the Year, Louise Selby
Could you walk us through your typical process with a bride?
All of my dresses are bespoke, and having a bespoke dress means the dress is made to fit your measurements exactly and includes a toile fitting, which is a cotton mock-up of the dress so that the bride can see exactly the design and fit of the dress before seeing it in the fabrics of her choice. There is flexibility on the details of the dress and the fabrics she chooses, so a bride can make it her own.
What do you think is the most challenging aspect of having a bespoke dress?
The most challenging aspect is that the bride needs a certain amount of vision, while understanding that there are some limitations to fabrics and designs one should always keep in mind.
What is your #1 tip to brides preparing for a bespoke fitting?
My number 1 tip is to wear the correct underwear for all the fittings. To have the correct underwear is so important, nude works best and seamless preferably. A good bra is vital under many of my designs, the Delphinium dress for example needs a backless bra, and luckily these are so readily available now. Marks and Spencer do a brilliant one, the Foxglove dress needs a bra with a transparent back, Boux.co.uk do an excellent one.
What is your favourite wedding dress style and what are your favourite wedding dress details?
At the moment, my favourite design is my Delphinium dress which is new for 2016 and is very Grecian and simple but exquisitely cut in a beautiful heavy crepe.
Could you describe the most challenging assignment you have ever taken on?
Some brides are more challenging than others, but we endeavour to ensure that they are all happy on the day!
What fabrics do you recommend a bride consider for each season?
Heavier fabrics such as zibeline and mikado work well for winter and autumn weddings, whereas softer satins and crepes are more suited to spring and summer. The chantilly laces are so pretty in the warmer months, beach weddings or gardens with that festival vibe, and the guipures are perfect for those golden autumn weddings (our Mimosa gown illustrates this perfectly). A little bit of fur is fabulous in the winter, we have some exquisite rabbit trims.
Which cuts do you recommend for the bohemiam, modern, whimsical, and classic bride respectively?
Princess lines work perfectly for the classic bride, the fuller skirt, maybe with pleats in a fine mikado for that Grace Kelly look, such as the Orchid gown. Finer silks such as a light weight zibeline work well as a sheath shape for an elegant Jean Shrimpton look, maybe with a grosgrain bow or waist detail, the Sunflower dress is the perfect example of this.
The bohemian bride suits the lighter Amalfi satin or crepe with a fine chantilly lace, look no further than the Primrose dress, below, with its pretty capped sleeve and low back detail.
The modern bride suits a dress like the Foxglove, a streamlined crepe and georgette gown with a boat neck and a low lace back. Alternatively, for that Chelsea Registry Office look, early sixties vibe, chose the iconic Snapdragon zibeline coat with little strapless lace dress underneath, below. Accessorise with black and white Kate Spade vintage bag and black shoes.
If you could have designed anyone’s wedding dress – past, present or future – who would it be and why?
The lovely Lily James, currently playing Natasha in War & Peace, would look gorgeous in one of my designs, maybe Primrose or Amaryllis or Foxglove.
What type of dress did you wear on your wedding?
I absolutely love the dress I made for my own wedding 24 years ago, an oyster shantung sheath, dress with Calais lace, slightly off the shoulder, and a lovely slightly ruched back detail.
What was your favourite moment/memory?
Arriving at the church with my little attendants and seeing my future husband for the first time, waiting for me by the altar.
What is your #1 planning tip for brides today?
The devils in the detail; but chose the details carefully. Some things are really not that important, don’t worry about the things you can’t control, such as the weather, concentrate on looking after your guests, making them feel part of a really special celebration that they will remember.