Hand beading continues to be a strong theme, featuring Swarovski crystals, glass and silver seed beads, and now pearls, which have featured heavily on the catwalks. “Daphne’ by Rainbow Club is a gorgeous hand beaded shoe with shimmering crystal beading around the throat, and ‘Moonbeam’ from the Hassall collection is adorned with crystals and tiny pearls on a softly ruched duchesse satin.
Vintage is also a key theme, this covers everything from the use of soft, sheer fabrics such as embroidered organza and beautiful lace to romantic hand tied bows.
There are stunning hand‐made silk flowers on styles such as ‘Blush’ from the Hassall collection, which is a trend set to grow in the future, and Pearlie Mae features a combination of ruffles, lace and pearl buttons which is so romantic. In fact all of the Hassall collection is strongly vintage, a theme which is very close to my heart!
Pleating is still strong and has been softened for styles such as ‘Freya’ by Rainbow, as this works well with a huge variety of dresses, and textured fabrics such as grosgrain are used to stunning effect on styles such as ‘Sienna’ by Gabriella and Lucido.
Buckles were also featured heavily on the catwalks and provide a strong directional trend in the Gabriella and Lucido range, covered in duchesse satin.
In terms of shape, round and almond shaped toes are still strong, points are still popular, though much shorter and less exaggerated.
I began designing wedding shoes at college when I did my degree course in the late 80’s! I then started my own business designing shoes one to one with individual brides and the rest as they say is history.
I am totally passionate about shoes in general, and wedding shoes are so special, designing them is a lovely thing to do. I feel the girls that buy my shoes are true ‘shoeaholics’ like myself, and for them only the best will do. For me the shoe is almost as important as the dress!
Describing ones style is always a strange one! I feel my shoes are contemporary and quite simple in terms of shape, I love to combine the use of vintage fabrics, flowers and trims, until each shoe has it’s own personality, I will search for days to find the right bead or button to finish a shoe, it has to look delicious like a scrumptious cake or hand made chocolate, enticing you to try it on!
I love to use lots of texture and am constantly looking at the catwalks for inspiration, I also keep my ‘Pandora’s box, which is actually several boxes of lace, ribbons, flowers, buttons, buckles etc, some of them dating back over a hundred years.
When I start a new collection I like to feel I am inspired by the best of the current designer fashions mixed with a love of vintage pieces which will always inspire me. I also love to visit costume museums, the V&A, etc as sometimes the tiniest detail can inspire something wonderful.
I would love to design shoes for Cate Blanchett, obviously not wedding shoes but something for the red carpet would be great. I think she’s very pure and natural looking as well as being very beautiful and she just oozes confidence without being the slightest bit pretentious. She has real presence. Alternatively! I would love to design shoes for Keira Knightley, at only twenty one wedding shoes may be a possibility in the future, who knows! She is very gorgeous and glamorous and can look so different from one film to the next. I also love the fact that she’s so down to earth, I’m sure you could have a great laugh with her!
When choosing your own wedding shoes I think you should really consider your own personality, I don’t understand why some brides insist on wearing four inch heels on the most important day of their lives when they would never normally do so, the last thing you want is to make yourself more nervous than you already will be. Your shoes, like your dress should reflect your personality, of course they should be beautiful and complement the dress but you need to feel happy in them for the whole day.
I also believe that if you want to, you can have a little fun with your shoes, and go for a subtle hint of colour or a lovely bow or flower trim, they don’t have to match your dress exactly as long as they complement it and it may be your way of expressing something personal to you.
There are certain things you need to consider when making your choice.
Obviously the length of the dress is a major factor, many true shoeaholics have short dresses, or have their dress slightly shaped up at the front to accentuate the shoes so that everyone notices them, this isn’t everyone’s cup of tea but it is worth thinking about how your dress falls, if it sits on top of your foot and whether anything on your shoes will catch on it. Colour is obviously a major consideration too, for example white dresses are poplular at the moment but not all styles come in white, I’m actually quite a fan of a very subtle contrast, for example many dresses feature soft sashes in rose pink or pale gold, and a very pale pink or pale gold shoe would look gorgeous with this, you don’t necessarily have to put ivory with ivory. Alternatively a contrasting texture can look beautiful, a classically simple ivory satin dress can look stunning with lace shoes or a trim which makes a real statement such as a large bow.
If your dress is very busy, for example it’s covered in lace, I would advise you probably choose something simpler, perhaps in a plain satin, or if you want lace check it against the dress to make sure they do not clash at all.
I would advise you look for wedding shoes in the afternoon, or at least after you’ve done some walking, they need to be comfortable all day so need a little room to allow for the fact that you’ll be on your feet a lot! If you’re not used to high heels or mules be careful and make sure you’re going to be able to walk in them, even when you’re feeling very nervous! Wear your shoes to your fittings so that you are used to how they feel and are quite confident in them when you reach the big day, this will help wear them in a little too, if they need it.
It’s really difficult to pick a favourite from my collection, they’re all very personal to me and I do love them all, however, if I had to pick one, I guess it would be Pearlie Mae, when I first started working on the collection I was so inspired and excited, I couldn’t wait to get out my boxes with all my treasures in them, and I laid pieces of ribbon, lace and pearl buttons across a piece of satin, I had a vision of this shoe and was thrilled when I first saw it!
To see shoes by Diane Hassall click here.
Visit www.hassall.co.uk, for more details.