"Every time we come here it looks even better than I remember," says Lauren as she steps into her dress for the fourth fitting.
And she's right. The smallest of details seem to being the dress along leaps and bounds, making it prettier and prettier every time we see it.
Today we are marking the loops ahead of the next fitting (when the buttons will be marked out for the perfect fit) and we will check the lace detailing and hem length.
The lace work immediately catches our eye from the word go. Gone are the feather-like pieces of tulle which were protecting the fine cuttings before, instead the daintiest of motifs trickle down the bodice of the gown in a delicate dance of corded and uncorded lace. They look as though they have been placed there by happy fortune and magic, rather than intense designs and meticulous stitching and trimming that actually got them there.
FIRST SILK FITTING
"We spent a lot of time getting the lace right and making sure it is perfectly balanced," explains Phillipa as she admires the bodice. "Trimming is the hardest part; it is such a fine work and requires a great deal of attention."
Elated with the look of her dress, Lauren can't help but smile. Whilst she stares down at her dress Phillipa's team cast their attention on the length of the dress next.
Hem lengths are a tricky business; a fine tuning where a millimeter marks the difference between a good and a bad hem. And if you think that sounds dramatic then it is because you've not seen Phillipa and her team in action.
Kneeling on the floor, their ears stuck to the floor as if to hear the faraway footsteps of a predator in the wild, and their eyes firmly fixed at The Hem, you get an idea of how fine-tuned their measuring eyes are. Stitch the hem too far up and it will sit to high when Lauren stands still; stitch it too low and that beautiful scalloped lace border will be lost with every step.
Finishing off the fitting is the marking of the loops: another fine balance to strike. Using a cardboard placquet card which slips in between Lauren's back and the ribbon lacing, this ingenious ruler device marks out where the lines of the corset edge. This will help Lauren's dressers on the big day know where it is they have to pull the dress in and allows the buttons and loops to have the perfect amount of tension.
As the fittings managers Julie and Sunni work away behind Lauren, our lucky bride-to-be can't help buy smile. "It is one hundred times better than I could have ever imagined," she says.