Sheila Harding worked in fashion with stellar names such as Selfridges and Bruce Oldfield before establishing BOA Boutique in Richmond, exclusive home of choice international bridal names as well as her lovely eponymous label. Here she discusses how the team help brides and the wedding party find their dream dress
I have always been passionate about fashion and interior design, and loved working with Selfridges, and especially with Bruce Oldfield, but then the opportunity arose to take on this wonderful premises right on Richmond Hill and the rest is history. We have lots of space, with three separate bridal rooms, and that means choice for brides and other members of the wedding party. A lot of the brides I see are confident in their individual style and have an idea in mind, but we’re always here to help. We also work with more mature brides these days – which is wonderful – the oldest bride so far has been 72. She looked fantastic in an Olvi’s grey lace dress and wrap.
My own Sheila Harding label is strongly influenced by my experience listening to and working with brides. My approach is underpinned by a lifelong interest in art and history. All gowns are made right here, using fine silks and French laces, and our approach offers scope for brides to get a really bespoke look. We can do the same for mothers of the bride. Our team of fitters and seamstresses will tailor something unique if they can’t find an outfit in existing collections.
“Each of the BOA Boutique labels offers something distinctively different and my approach has never been to sell any one label, but rather to help people find the right gown”
This in-house approach means we also offer flexibility with our designer labels. We offer made-to-measure approach with our beautiful British-made Lyn Ashworth gowns. We’re also very excited about the new Alma Novia collection from Rosa Clará – exclusive to us in the UK. These are wonderful dresses, with excellent tailoring and fabrics. Here, there’s always the option to make subtle alterations, such as adding sleeves to a sleeveless lace dress.
Each of our bridal labels – which also include Louise Bentley and Ivory & Co – offers something distinctively different. My approach has never been to sell any one label (including my own!), but rather to help people find the right gown. We offer free consultations lasting an hour-and-a-half, so lots of time for people to explore the possibilities. My biggest advice is to arrive with an open mind – things never look the same on a hanger so it’s always worth trying something on. Every bride is unique, and it is incredibly rewarding when we find their perfect dress.
About BOA Boutique
BOA Boutique is located at 8 Richmond Hill, Richmond-upon-Thames. For appointments and to find out more about the collections, visit boa-boutique.co.uk