Images by Julie Michaelsen Photography.
We’ve had a crush on Belle & Bunty for a while… We adore their skilfully crafted bridal gowns but we also love the ethos and style behind the label which is absolutely down to the founders – Alice & Hannah.
Beautifully narrated by Hannah (including Top Tips & 2016 Bridal Trends!) and perfectly captured by Julie Michaelsen Photography, you’re in for a treat!
Notes from Belle & Bunty
Hannah (a.k.a Bunty):
Alice and I met many moons ago at the London College of Fashion where we were class mates both studying a BA in womenswear design and surface textiles. We admired each other’s work back then and discussed working together in the future so when we graduated we both went off to work for other people before starting our label at the weekends and in evenings. Before we knew it we had a collection which we were selling and were showing on the catwalk at London Fashion Week.
Belle & Bunty was originally a fashion label, but we had brides-to-be asking for a particular style from our ready to wear collection – The Willow. This style in emerald green had been worn by lots of celebrities so brides wanted the same dress but in Ivory. Also we both got married within 6 months of each other, Alice had a winter wedding in 2009 and I had a summer wedding in July 2010, so we designed our dresses together! This really kickstarted the bridal collection and our dresses remain in the collection to date.
Anything and everything inspires us! We get daily inspiration from magazines, street style, social media, fabric swatches, films, music and the brides that we interact with everyday. We are constantly coming up with new ideas and new styles we could add into the collection and sourcing unique fabrics, all of which cover our studio walls in a giant moodboard.
We both have similar dress styles and both very much like to mix up our outfits with high street, designer and vintage. We are both keen on investing in designer accessories to elevate a high street outfit. Labels we love include Mulberry, Celine, Jimmy Choo and the biggest crush is Chloé!
I don’t think there’s an ‘average day’ at Belle & Bunty and no day really is ever the same! Alice overseas all our production and sales and I deal with the PR and marketing side of the business and we both come together for all things creative. So we would usually start off with a morning catch up over a coffee and check in with each other to discuss and prioritise things with our team. Then Alice may go off to visit our two London sites where all our dresses are made.
We pride ourselves on making everything in England and are very hands on with making sure all our dresses are made with tender loving care and are perfect for our brides. All our fabrics and trims are ordered with UK suppliers too. We then may have fittings in our boutique or appointments showing brand new brides our collections. Hannah may have a Skype meeting with our PR to discuss upcoming events and press requests aswell as working on blog content and collaborations and the social media side of the business – there is always time for an Instagram photo or two!
We tend to design out of the office where we can have clarity of mind and really discuss new ideas we have, look at interesting fabric swatches and be generally creative. This maybe in a local coffee shop or in each others houses where we can concentrate on what we think our customers will really love. Quite often we have lots of business meetings where we love seeing and discussing new opportunities for our brand or might be at trade shows researching and buying items for our boutique to sit alongside our collections so may then be out and about in Central or East London.
We are always pretty busy!
We have been in our space in Kentish Town for nearly 10 years, initially as our design studio and then as the space was a shop anyway, we opened the boutique around 8 years ago and pushed the studio into the back of the space! We took the space on from two old tailors who had been in it for 45 years, they used to pattern cut and sew for John Galliano and Vivienne Westwood and scribbled their phone numbers on the wall. When decorating the space we painted around their numbers and framed them as a little good luck charm. When you come to see us we are usually in the studio working so you get a glimpse into our creative world! Our boutique has a very relaxed feel with lots of moody grey, velvet chaise longues and candles! Plus a large smattering of roses.
As well as bridal, our boutique offers a range of occasionwear dresses, veils and bridal accessories, aswell as floral crowns and Jewellery!
If you swing by our boutique, we are very laid back and informal, we like our clients to feel relaxed and at ease rather than intimidated or anxious. Quite often tea and biscuits are involved in our appointments and we have no rules such as wearing white gloves or limiting the number of dresses you try on.
When trying on wedding dresses, you definitely have to bear the venue in mind, lots of our brides are doing a small ceremony and then have a barn or pub party afterwards so any of our dresses really suit that relaxed, informal fun vibe. The venue does dictate the dress to a certain degree but saying that you still should go with your heart!
5 Simple Tips…
Tip # 1
Don’t bring too many people: Two is enough for moral support and opinions. Too many just becomes confusing as everyone talks to get their point across!
Tip # 2
Wear good underwear, sometimes the uplift of a good fitting bra can really effect how a dress looks.
Tip # 3
If you like a particular accessory or pair of shoes then bring those with you to style with the dresses, you can then begin to put together your head to toe outfit and can start to see how you will really look and feel in a dress.
Tip # 4
Don’t be intimidated by other opinions, at the end of the day it is your big day so you must choose the dress you love!
Tip # 5
Be open to trying on different options even if it’s a disaster and you rule out that style, at least you will start homing in on the perfect style for you!
2016 Bridal Trends!
Separates will grow bigger and bigger as brides realise they can really create their own look using them. Also the feeling towards stripped back elegance will only grow, eliminate fuss and favour beatific cuts and fabrics.
If you fancy visiting the Belle & Bunty boutique for yourself (and I don’t blame you!) then you can find lots of info at www.belleandbunty.co.uk. To directly book an appointment call 0207 267 3322 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lots of love…