Bespoke, tailored and luxe, here is our pick of five British-based wedding gown designers who are worth consulting if you’re looking for a unique homegrown style, fabulous hand-made tailoring and the truly personal touch
The London design house of Andrea Hawkes has taken things back to first principles, creating elegant tailored gowns and separates that are in tune with the changing face of modern weddings – especially celebrations where the bride is looking for glamour with a fashion-forward and understated vibe.
Designer Andrea Hawkes worked with several London bridal couture designers before establishing her label and has translated her experience working with many brides into a curated collection that has style without the fuss. At the label’s Clerkenwell base, you can view main and capsule collections and also commission a gown. The focus here is on exceptional fabrics – Italian silks, French laces – and the fine details such as covered buttons. But you will see updates to all of these traditional couture features, including some really fine ‘edgy’ laces featuring pattern rather than the more typical flowers. The overall effect is perfect for the 21st century bride and everything is designed and made in the heart of London. andreahawkes.co.uk
Scottish designer Joyce Young OBE splits her time between her London and Glasgow bases – her Belsize Park showroom is a lovely place to try on gowns and have a design consultation. If you visit the Glasgow store you can also visit her workshop where every bridal gown is designed and made.
The Joyce Young look is all about grown-up glamour – with options ranging from sleek tailored gowns to fairytale full-skirted numbers. The exceptional fabrics and workmanship, and ability to design a gown from scratch (the full couture process with toiles and fittings) are what make this a place to come if you want something one off. There is a huge emphasis on personal service and Joyce often outfits the whole female party (bridesmaid and mother of the bride outfits follow the same grown-up glam aesthetic). She is launching a new bridal separates collection this autumn – bringing even more choice into her exceptional collection. joyceyoungcollections.co.uk
Katya Katya Shehurina
New European designer Katya Shehurina splits her time between Soho and her studio in Riga, Latvia and she brings what she describes as a ‘modern vintage’ aesthetic to bridal design. There is certainly a romantic twist that is perfect for the boho wedding, although great cut and interesting pairings of fabrics keep things fresh.
Brides visiting Katya Katya Shehurina’s showroom just off Brewer Street can view the 2017 collection of gowns, but also have the option to create a bespoke design – either by mixing and matching components they love from different dresses or by exploring the endless possibilities of changing colour of gown or underslip. There are wonderful and exclusive laces in the mix – all sourced by Katya – along with fine Italian silks and Swarovski detailing. Gowns are all handmade, and in as little as six to eight weeks for the last-minute bride. But if you have more time this is a great place to come for an entirely bespoke and utterly enchanting gown. shehurina.com
Lyn Ashworth is a byword for the English bridal look – romantic and timeless elegance and a classic silhouette – but was established in London by a New Zealander. Now owned by equally talented designer Sarah Barrett, it maintains the same unique signature that has earned it fans across Europe and the Middle East.
Every Lyn Ashworth gown uses fine silks and laces – no compromises – and the workmanship is as British as the designs. While Lyn Ashworth gowns are stocked in leading boutiques – including BOA in Richmond – a by-appointment visit to its home base is definitely worth it. The Staffordshire HQ sits on Duchy of Cornwall land, surrounded by the beautiful fields that often feature in its photo shoots, so this is possibly the most romantic bridal workroom in the country. There are endless opportunities to create a bespoke fairytale gown – Sarah and team regularly work with UK and overseas brides who want a timeless classic designed and made in the heart of England. lynashworth.co.uk
Nepalese-born and London-based designer Sanyukta Shrestha is an exciting new name on the bridal scene. Trained at London College of Fashion, she has quickly made a mark for elegant and sustainable bridalwear and occasion pieces. Her studio just off the Fulham Road is an inspiring source of ideas – especially if you want something different.
Sanyukta has a very fresh take on what brides might want – her collection includes fabulous silk jumpsuits alongside ethereal full-length gowns and fashion-forward two-piece ensembles – and with lots of colour choices other than white. Each gown is handmade and the commitment to craft is part of the label’s DNA. Fairtrade and ethical fabrics such as organic silk, bamboo and hemp feature, and she works to help ensure the craft skills she grew up with in rural Nepal survive. Alongside her ready-to-wear bridal and occasion collections, Sanyukta offers bespoke for weddings and red carpet events, giving you the opportunity to experience the couture processes involved in hand-making a true original. sanyuktashrestha.com