“I was speechless when I first put my dress on. It was like something out of a dream” Elinor
Our beautiful real bride Elinor fell in love with the Toulouse Roses fabric on her couture wedding dress so much so that it inspired the flowers by Nikki Tibbles, the wedding cake and even the stunning invitation illustrated by Susannah Garrod for her mid-summer wedding at Kew Gardens.
“My friend wore a Phillipa Lepley wedding dress when she got married in 2011, it was the most beautiful wedding dress I had ever seen,” says Elinor.
“Since then it’s been on my radar. The shop is like a little jewel on the Fulham Road. My Mum lives around the corner from it and I used to find myself looking through the windows and imagining what I would wear on my wedding day.”
“I had seen a dress made from the Toulouse Roses fabric in a magazine and thought it was the most amazing dress I’d ever seen. Then one day I was walking past and it was in the window, I couldn’t believe it. I thought it was fate.”
A completely unique and special one off fabric within the Phillipa Lepley collection, the coloured rose fabric that Elinor fell in love with is a silk Jacquard featuring soft, feminine tones of pink and green roses, layered with ivory and shimmering floral motifs woven into the fabric. The layering of colour and texture, combined with the scale and colour choice creates a fabric that works beautifully in photos, but also has the most exceptional couture detailing when viewed up close.
Other than just falling in love with the fabric of the dress, Elinor tells us: “When I was younger, my sister and I grew up watching the film The Slipper and the Rose. The fabric of my wedding dress reminded me of the moment when Cinderella walked into the ball. I also have a rose tattoo, so it had an emotional attachment that took me back to my childhood.”
Our fittings team worked with Elinor to ensure the most immaculate fit for her wedding dress. Starting with the very inner structure – the Phillipa Lepley corset – which was moulded to Elinor’s form.
“In my first fitting, the dress was just the bare bones, just the corset and six layers of tulle but I could still see my silhouette in it and imagine what I’d look like on the day and I cried! I wasn’t expecting to but the team at the atelier are such perfectionists, it just goes to show how incredible the craftsmanship is,” says Elinor.
From there, the decadent jacquard silk was softly draped around the bodice, giving sculptural folds and pleats to the abstract floral pattern. The skirt was created with tight gathers at the waist, giving movement and luxurious undulation to the skirt. It was light but voluminous, moving beautifully with Elinor as she walked.
“I wore the wedding dress for 12 hours and there wasn’t one point that I felt uncomfortable in it, it made my posture amazing,” she says.
Delicate, cushioned spaghetti straps give the perfect balletic finish to the dress – for Elinor, we positioned these with a crossover at the back neckline, perfectly placed to complement her collarbone and low back neckline. Our atelier team’s clever handling of the fabric to play with volume, draping and sculptural elements further enhanced the beauty of this unique coloured silk wedding dress.
Elinor’s bespoke veil was developed with her through her fittings as well. A single tier, silk tulle veil featuring Lily of the Valley petals at the train – scattered to look like confetti at the hem. Elinor envisioned that each petal should look as if sprinkled with dew drops – our embellishment team hand-beaded the petals using a selection of crystals, pearls and seedbeds to emulate this.
“I was speechless when I first put my dress on,” says Elinor. “It was like something out of a dream. I had envisaged over and over again how I would feel on the wedding day – it was really emotional. The dress took everyone’s breath away!! My husband was also speechless, the smiles in the photo say it all! He said it was the most beautiful thing he’d ever seen me wear. I had friends who couldn’t come to the wedding but saw the photos and said ‘it’s just so you’. I couldn’t have got married in anything else.”
Elinor’s Phillipa Lepley wedding dress and veil demonstrate the ability of our couture team to work with a client to allow their dress and overall vision to inspire and inform special moments throughout her day.
“I’m so sad it’s over. I had such an incredible time with the Phillipa Lepley team. I live in Austria and I would look forward to my visits home just for the dress fittings, it was my reason for going back! Every time I walk past the window I think about the amazing time I had there and I feel so excited for brides who have the experience to come – the dresses are other worldly.”
Photography by Lara Arnott
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.