“I only looked at one dress and it was love at first sight…”
Emma’s magical fairy-tale story started with “Colpo Di Fulminate” – a bolt of lightning to the heart and ‘love at first sight’ – when she met her fiancé Jim. When it came to choosing the dress she would wear for her castle wedding in Tuscany, she felt exactly the same.
Emma said, “Jim and I were inseparable from the day we met. After our second date we knew we would spend the rest of our lives together. After our third date I went home and drew my wedding dress, some might say a little bonkers, but not us.
I went in search of my dress at the only place I wanted to visit – my primary choice was a Phillipa Lepley wedding gown – a dream come true. I was unsure on how I would find the dress from my drawing but having looked on Phillipa’s website, I found it instantly! It was as if Phillipa had read my mind. The Toulouse Fairytale…
On arrival at Phillips Lepley’s enchanting boutique, my mum and I walked through the door to be greeted with warmth and kindness. It was like entering a fairy-tale. I walked over to the array of heavenly dresses and bridal dreams on hangers floating around the shop. My dress was there, it was the exact dress from my sketch, the dress I had imagined was right in front of me! An utterly magical, splendid and impeccable work of art. A joy to behold. It could not have been more perfect. I only looked at one dress and it was ‘love at first’ sight all over again…”
Having fallen in love with the style for her dress in the Phillipa Lepley shop, the creation of Emma’s own bespoke couture wedding dress could begin. It featured an exclusive Swiss embroidery covered in colourful, floral embroidery. Pink, green and gold flower and petal motifs embroidered into sheer tulle created a whimsical, playful finish that suited Emma beautifully.
Hidden within the dress was a signature Phillipa Lepley corset with a gentle, softly sweeping neckline. Moulded and fitted to Emma to the millimetre, her corset provided the base structure and cinched waist to balance the voluminous, frothy skirts. The embroidery covered the gathered, ball gown skirt and moulded bodice – a luxurious garden of embroidery – before trickling out up the neckline of the dress onto a round-necked sheer tulle, finished with key hole detailing at the back neckline.
Every detail, from the inner corset to the covered buttons and embroidery covered thin belt were carefully refined with Emma over her fittings at our Chelsea shop.
“Each of the 8 subsequent fittings became a truly special occasion for us, filled with incredible memories we will never forget. The beautiful Phillipa Lepley store is calm, light and magnificent. Each fitting was so exciting as the dress developed and grew layer by layer, piece by piece to become a total and a wonderful vision of loveliness. Every tiny detail was completed with exquisite craftsmanship.
I always felt like the only bride-to-be that had ever entered the shop. Mum and I were always welcomed with happiness, joy and love at every visit. Knowing we were in the safest of hands coupled with utter professionalism.”
Creating a couture Phillipa Lepley dress allows the client the freedom to ensure that every detail of the design is just right for both their wedding day and their own personal style. Emma envisioned a shorter dress rather than the full length and long train of the original design. Our team refined the skirts with Emma, ensuring the length was exactly right, cut to perfectly flatter, and added extra petticoats to give an exaggerated fairy-tale feel with lots of movement.
“Lisa [my fitter] totally understood and the creation began with great enthusiasm and excitement. A little shorter week by week and then fluffier and fluffier until it was just perfect.”
Although modern in its colourful approach, the overall silhouette of Emma’s wedding dress has the utterly timeless feel that Phillipa Lepley is renowned for.
Emma worked with our Embroidery Team to include a bespoke, personal detail – her wedding logo and date embroidered into silk organza and nestled within the tulle layers of the skirts. It was created in this manner so that it could be kept and cherished after the wedding date – becoming a truly special and personal memory.
“Jim and I had a wedding logo with both of our names surrounding a heart. It featured on all of the wedding stationary, table settings and as a large flag blowing in the wind on the turret of the Castle tower. The lovely Embroidery Team made a perfect copy of the logo and it was sewn onto one of the many layers of underskirt. It was subtle yet glorious. A beautiful touch.”
“Our hours spent in Phillipa’s shop were heaven and we would disappear into fairyland for a couple of hours, a time that my Mum and I treasured.”
Emma was walked down the aisle for both her chapel ceremony and outdoor blessing by her three sons. “I will never forget Jim’s face when I walked into the Chapel in the castle grounds. His face said it all. My sweet husband said that he had never seen a more magnificent or elegant dress in his life. It had taken his breath away.”
“My gown was an enormous part of the day, she stole the show and took on a life of her own. I have never worn anything like her or ever felt more amazing in my life. A dream come true in every sense of the words.”
Phillipa Lepley is widely recognised as being the leading British couture wedding dress designer. Her wedding dress shop in London, Chelsea, has over 50 dresses, all of which have been made in England from start to finish at her atelier.