In the third installment of our fashion series, where you experience the best bridal boutiques and designers in the UK without leaving your sofa, we visit Louise Selby bridal in the verdant suburb of Kew, South-West London. We’ll explain the designer’s inimitable style, fitting process and what you can expect during an appointment at Louise Selby’s airy atelier as you search for The One.
If you’re looking for a truly personal approach to finding The One when it comes to your wedding dress, then look no further than Louise Selby. Having started as a dressmaker, it was following her first bridal commission that Louise made the move to all things bridal – and never looked back. Now with 33 years of bridal design and a coveted Wedding Dress Designer of the Year (2016) award under her belt, there’s nothing Louise Selby doesn’t know when it comes to creating the perfect wedding dress.
Louise Selby’s signature style features slim fitting gowns in heavy crepe with lace detailing on top and sleeves for a romantic and stylish look. Louise herself describes her brides as ‘part of a chic club’ and a favourite of both fashion and wedding insiders.
A snapshot of the space:
Louise Selby bridal can be found in leafy South-West London, a stone’s throw from the stunning flora and fauna of Kew Gardens that have inspired many of Louise’s designs. Brides can expect a warm welcome at the studio, part of Louise’s stunning home.
Located on the first floor, with exposed wooden floorboards and huge windows, the bright and airy studio is full of natural light. The space is a real working atelier where every step of the process, from trying on and the making of your dress through to final fits, takes place for a truly intimate experience. Walking in, brides-to-be are greeted by the ultimate endorsement in the shape of a table full of thank you cards from delighted customers. Many visitors enjoy spotting friends among the smiling faces before they turn to the rail of stunning dresses to choose from.
During the hour-long appointment, there are no distractions in the serene space – “just me and my dresses and my undivided attention” says Louise.
Who is dressing you?
A one-woman operation, Louise Selby Bridal truly is a personal experience with Louise’s attention to detail second-to-none. The designer creates each dress in-house, overseeing every stitch herself. “I went to a convent where you were either sporty or you sewed, and the nuns taught me how to sew and how to cut patterns. It was a great foundation, I learnt all the stitches, how to cut, how the cloth is made, how it drapes.”
Louise’s encyclopaedic knowledge of bridal fashion means she always knows what her brides will be looking for next. “I get inspiration from fashion archives, films and exhibitions. Post pandemic, the modern bride is interested in more than one look and is conscious of the environment, possibly looking to wear part of her wedding outfit again. Bespoke is all about listening to the bride and incorporating her ideas too.”
With an intimate at-home atelier, each bride who walks through the door at Louise Selby Bridal knows that a truly special experience awaits. Louise suggests each bride-to-be brings no more than two guests to allow for a relaxing first appointment – brides can expect to attend three appointments for a bespoke gown.
Unlike many bridal boutiques that expect you to pre-select gowns ahead of your initial appointment, Louise prefers brides to enjoy the experience of trying on, as, in her words, ‘there are always a few surprises’ on the rail.
With a chic slim-fitting aesthetic, Louise Selby brides have a timeless style. The designer’s latest collection, entitled Melody, takes inspiration from a time special to Louise: “It was inspired by the Seventies, the decade of my teenage years – I love the colours, the textures and the shapes of the clothes, voluminous sleeves, fitted tops, flowing skirts; the Age of Aquarius! It seems to fit in so well with current trends and I think it was one of the most stylish decades of all time.”
Classic styles and personal favourites of Louise’s continue season after season, such as the Mimosa gown. Featuring an exquisite Guipure lace top and simple skirt, Louise describes it as a dress for all seasons – with the added insider tip of it being a dress that shoots beautifully. The Waterlily gown, a stunning design featuring a cross-over neckline and full skirt, is one of Louise’s most popular designs. Louise’s personal favourite? The Willow – a high necked design in heavy crepe, teamed with the Olive lace top which features a beautiful open back detail.
While many bridal boutiques feature shoes and jewellery from other brands and may also offer outfits for others from the bridal party such as The Mother of the Bride or indeed the bridesmaids, at Louise Selby the focus is solely on the bride, allowing for a spoiling experience.
For the finishing touches to your bridal look, Louise Selby bridal gowns all have matching or coordinating veils. Made in the same studio as your dress, each has either a ribbon edge, appliqued lace or lace border with prices starting from £250.
Prices for Louise Selby bridal gowns start at £2500 for the Willow dress, with the most expensive dress priced at £3500. The average spend comes in at £2850.
For the bride on a budget, Louise Selby bridal holds an annual sample sale on the second Saturday in January. The sale is held two minutes from Louise’s studio, held at St Anne’s Hall (off Kew Green) with samples sold at half of the bespoke price. Booking is essential in order to attend.
Appointments are one hour and can be booked online via the Louise Selby website for no charge.
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