Revolution Rocks! An Interview with Ian Stuart

Ian Stuart is winner of the UK Bridal Wear Designer of the Year award 2010. His passion for bridal design is infectious. What inspires his fabulous designs and what drives him to continue making the most important dress in a woman’s life?

Wedding Dresses


Images courtesy of Ian Stuart

Winning best bridal designer of the year must have been an incredible feeling. Tell us how you felt when you found out you’d won?

I never expected to win it again, especially after receiving an outstanding contribution award in 2008, I thought that was a big hint that I was never going to win it again! So utterly shocked is how I felt, as well as extremely honoured, the competition gets tougher each year.

You have always mentioned music as a big inspiration. Who are your favourite artists and how does their music transfer into your designs?

I always have my iPod on when I’m designing. I decide the mood of dress I want to design, and select something to set the tone of that. If I want to design a grand period ball gown, I will put on classical or opera. For my current collection, I even listened to punk! Hence some of the raggedy edges!

How do your friends and family describe you?

I‘ve just asked them for the purpose of answering this question… ‘eccentric, confused, chaotic and passionate about my work!’

What makes you smile?

When the catwalk show is over! And the applause after! It’s quite overwhelming, to see all the months of hard work in 20 minutes, I think it’s the closest thing I’ll experience to giving birth!

If you could change one thing in the world what would it be?

Apart from the obvious troubles in the world I would give music and art more importance in our daily lives.

I’ve always had a passion for design because…

It keeps me inspired, and I am always thinking of new things. To use your mind to create something is extremely rewarding.

My signature style is…

Theatrical, experimental, dramatic, over the top, cutting edge, whilst still being wearable!

The inspiration behind my latest collection?

I took my inspiration from one of the first real style icons in history, Marie Antoinette. Her decadent style and revolutionary attitude inspired me to combine the lavish dress of Kings and Queens with the anarchist era of punk, my goal was to create a collection that is both fairytale and cutting edge.

The hottest dress around right now is…

Flowerbomb from my new collection! I can’t wait to see brides in this dress, it’s so outrageous, I am dying to see how they are going to style it!

The perfect wedding gown is…

One that makes you feel more amazing than you’ve ever felt in your life. Each bride has their own style, to pick one perfect dress is impossible, that’s why there are so many designers! But if I was forced to choose, it would be Princess Margaret’s wedding gown by Norma Hartnell. It was the epitome of wedding style!

The key to picking the perfect dress is… 

Don’t have something too specific in mind, you might miss out on your dream dress. Try on shapes and styles you never thought would suit you. In my years of experience, I’ve seen so many brides who have initally asked for something plain and simple, walk out of the shop having ordered the biggest dress they’ve ever seen.

My best client was…

My best friend. Being able to design one-off dresses for my closest friends is incredibly special.

You heard it here first: 2010-11 bridal-wear predictions are…

2011 will see a celebration of the kind of dress little girls dream about getting married in. Big ball gowns and long cathedral trains, lots of flower embellishments, ruffles and sparkle. This year, I think we will see brides indulge in the Romantic Fairytale Wedding they have always dreamed of, and that includes a big dress.

Keep this in mind when choosing your dress…

You’ll be looking at pictures of yourself in this dress in years to come, so make sure your wedding day has an everlasting classical mood.

Dream bride to style…

Lady Gaga… oh the possibilities!

How I’d style them for winter or spring 2011… 

I’d style brides with jewellery that veers away from traditional. I’d experiment with different colours, dark colours, big bold pieces that make a statement. Vintage costume jewellery is perfect.

The best thing about bridal design is…

You know you are designing the most important dress of a girl’s life.

The next big bridal designer will be…

If she brings the collection to the UK, Japanese designer Yumi Katsura.

What are your big ambitions for the future?

To keep on designing fabulous dresses for stylish brides! I also have an Occasion Wear collection which is only a few seasons old, so I want to focus on making the mums look fabulous too…. in true Ian Stuart style of course!

See more great fashion inspiration in Dresses and Style.

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