Introducing Bruce Oldfield!

Introducing Bruce Oldfield!
Brides Magazine: Bruce Oldfield Bridal Designer Guest Editor BlogBrides Magazine: Bruce Oldfield Bridal Designer Guest Editor BlogBrides Magazine: Bruce Oldfield Bridal Designer Guest Editor Blog

So - where to begin?! Let me introduce myself: I have always loved women and always made dresses - I started my career after leaving St. Martins in the Seventies, at my first catwalk show Marie (Helvin) and Jerry (Hall) modelled and Bianca Jagger and Brian Ferry were in the front row. My big break came when Henri Bendel in New York made an order! My first couture clients were Diana Ross, Faye Dunaway, Joan Collins, Princess Diana and recently we have dressed the likes of Rihanna, Pixie Lott, Kitty Spencer, Taylor Swift and Kelly Brook.

My wedding list of brides has blossomed too - Queen Rania of Jordan, Samantha Cameron and Jemima Khan are amongst my past brides. 34 Beauchamp Place is directly opposite my current shop where the ready-to-wear, custom-made and couture collections are found. It is my dedicated wedding emporium and I am very excited that we have this special space now; it was at the final fitting of Rio Ferdinand's wife-to-be, Rebecca, that I realised that I needed to find a space exclusively for brides so we opened Number 34 in October last year.

We make everything in our London atelier in Beauchamp Place - with a very fine team of seamstresses and fitters, cutters and tailors - Babe and Baz, my two dogs are part of the gang and are delighted to say hello to any dog-loving brides-to-be.

We're all busy people and brides are no exception, so I decided to make Number 34 a sort of one-stop destination for all aspects of the wedding, from the dress and accessories, the engagement and wedding rings, the wedding list, stationery and even constructive help on choosing the best wedding planners and I will tell you more about these exciting developments each week.

The dress in the window this week (pictured above) is a sweet ready-to-wear lace jacket with a velvet sash and huge silk tulle skirts - covet it!!

The Final Fitting

The Final Fitting

It's my last blog as Guest Editor and, rather appropriately I've just done a final fitting. This is where we check to ensure no last-minute weight loss or gain has appeared - most brides actually stay the same - and we teach mums and bridesmaids how to correctly lace up integral corsets.
The fitting I speak of is an extra special one as it's for an in-house wedding, and honestly there is nothing more exciting than this for a bridal designer and her team of seamstresses! Lisa, one of my trusted aids for the past nine years is getting married and we are happily creating her dress!
Lisa said she'd always dreamt of a winter wedding and we collectively breathed a sigh of relief when she announced that it was planned for February. Had it been the height of summer, our busy schedules would have made it harder for us to enjoy it as much.
However, you would not believe what a difficult decision it is to find the right dress, when the choices available to you are endless! To try and surmount this - nonetheless agreeable - problem Lisa selected one or two of her favourite gowns and I then designed her a 'bespoke special.'
As her designer, I wanted her to feel that she's had the same exclusive treatment that I like to give to each of my brides, as the whole experience should feel magical. Beginning the toile fittings in the autumn, we chose some exquisite French beaded Chantilly that actually shimmers. With the wedding being in February, the natural day light is low, but against this Lisa's dress should gleam like sunshine.
She's been convinced all the way through that she doesn't want a veil... I'm still working on her about that though...and may well be doing so all the way up the aisle! Only joking darling!

A toast to the bride...and to brides everywhere!

A Day In The Life Of...Sassi Holford

A Day In The Life Of...Sassi Holford

It's New Year already! After depositing my children at school this week, I beat the rush hour traffic and cut my cardio time in the gym by riding to my Taunton workshop by pedal power! Don't you just love New Year's Resolutions!

Once at work, I pull on my heels and touch-base with my key staff. Current orders always get priority and we discuss bespoke commissions, fabrics for the next collection, and how to further enhance the dresses already adorning the mannequins.

My treasured PA, Becky ensures I'm where I'm supposed to be and also takes charge of the really important stuff, like ordering champagne for my latest launch, checking chocolates arrive for certain parties and choosing the loveliest lip gloss for our goody bags! (Some people get all the fun!)

'Command Centre' matters are covered over lunch with my husband Martin and Finance Director Jill as well as future events, such as the Designer Wedding Show, NY Couture or special promotions in my London and Taunton boutiques.

Come the afternoon, I work on clients' patterns and fabrics. On relaxed days, I leave at 4pm to be with my twins. Otherwise, I'm home by 6pm latest for my teenage son. This also gives me time to cook supper - satisfying my passion for gastronomy!

As I'm frequently away in London or abroad, family dinners are sacrosanct, although we often feed extra mouths, whether it's more children, models staying over pre-shoot or our friends on flying visits, catching up on trans-Atlantic news.

Once the children are despatched to bed and calm resumes, I tie up any urgent loose ends ...If this happens over a glass of wine...then so be it!
Happy New Year!

Finding The Right Gown!

Finding The Right Gown!

Being Christmas week you may have a few days off. If so, this is the perfect time to start searching for your wedding dress. I occasionally meet brides who know exactly what they're looking for, but I'd say they're among a rare few. If you're not that sort, don't despair because this week, I've written you an action plan!     
A question I'm often asked is, "When should I order my dress?" Although designers and boutiques have various systems for ordering, fittings and alterations, I'd say that six to twelve months is a good window to start looking, so your dress can be found, created or ordered in good time for your special day.
Remember that 'knowledge is power' and your primary port of call for inspiration is your newsagent's, where you'll always find Brides magazine, among others. One of my favourite sections is 'Real Life Brides' where you see the dresses in action. Don't expect yours to be instantly staring back at you, but do investigate images that catch your eye - both for designs and photographic ideas, as well as websites.
Next, shortlist three designers or boutiques in a price range you're happy with. When you shop for your dress invite just one trusted friend or family member with whom you feel comfortable. Taking five friends with five differing views probably won't help your decision making!
Every gown is different, but generally I'd look for one with a silhouette that flatters the best bits of your figure while skimming the others! The detail should reflect your personality and taste. If it's a bespoke design, ensure that you feel at ease enough with your designer to ask questions. You'll be working together for six months to create the dress of your dreams! And, if you find it after this - it'll be enough of a Christmas present for me to know that I've helped in your quest!

Happy Christmas.