In the shadows of Buckingham Palace, you will happen upon many beautiful and great buildings, among them The Blewcoat: Ian Stuart's new home.
Much like the brand it now houses, The Blewcoat has a long, rich history. First built in 1709 as a school for boys from the nearby parishes of St Margaret and St John (a statue of a Blewcoat charity boy, dressed in his distinctive blue uniform which gave the building its name still stands above the doorway), the red brick building is rather imposing in its grandeur. But let's be honest: Ian Stuart's first stand-alone shop was never going to be anything but grand and magnificent…
The Georgian-style, Grade I listed building was acquired by the National Trust in 1954, becoming a National Trust store until 2012, when the bridal designer happened upon it:
"We started off by walking past the store and seeing it was vacant," explains Ian, "So we wrote to the National Trust to inquire into its future use."
It was a long process to get the permissions required: "We had to show the National Trust how we would present our clothes whilst being respectful of this 300-year-old building," says Ian. The result? Bespoke fittings, all free-standing structures to keep the integrity of the building completely intact, with the decidedly couture feel.
Whilst not a dedicated bridal shop, brides will be provided for. Like the more extensive occasion wear and evening gowns on offer at Blewcoat, all the designs here will be exclusive to this new locale.
"I'm hoping to experiment with the wedding dresses at Blewcoat more," adds Ian, which is rather exciting!
The shop is now open, but will officially launch towards the end of the month.
Ian Stuart; www.ianstuart-blewcoat.com