REAL BRIDE – OLIVIA
After commuting past the Phillipa Lepley shop daily and admiring the window displays, once she became engaged, Phillipa Lepley bride Olivia decided to pay a visit and begin her couture dress journey. Olivia says, “I read about Phillipa’s designs and couture process which goes into them and the time needed to create the gowns, I loved the idea of this as it’s probably the only time in my life I would wear something so bespoke.”
During her appointment, Olivia tried on various gowns of different shapes and styles and was drawn to the dazzling sparkle of an embellished lace. Olivia’s corseted wedding dress featured a bodice covered in layers of diamanté hand-beaded French lace, individually pieced together to create an elegant off the shoulder neckline. Layer upon layer of gathered tulle created a full but light skirt that highlighted Olivia’s beautifully defined silhouette. Olivia says, “I loved the scalloped edges across the off the shoulder neckline and the glistening flower design hand stitched from crystals. I also really liked the contrast and proportions between the corseted bodice and the tulle skirt.”
Along with many other brides during the pandemic, Olivia’s wedding planning process was prolonged, and her wedding dress fitting schedule was rearranged accordingly. Olivia says, “All the fittings were memorable especially as I almost had double being a bride hit by the coronavirus pandemic. After the first session, I was provided with a pack containing the sketch and swatch of the crystal embellished pattern, I looked over this a lot over the whole experience especially during lockdown. This was a very nice touch! The most memorable was probably the first time trying to dress on in front of the mirror. The team arranged the skirt and I have a picture of me looking down at the corset and skirt in awe. The whole process was very thorough and I really can’t imagine experiencing this level of detail and appointments anywhere else. After a large gap in the schedule due to the pandemic it was amazing when I tried the first toile on; this felt like a couture moment. During the final fitting I discovered the surprise of the beautiful blue bow and this was very special too.”
Olivia’s vision for her wedding day was inspired by A Midsummer Night’s Dream, marrying at Sezincote in the Orangery followed by dinner and dancing in a stunning floral-filled glass marquee. Olivia says, “It always felt very special wearing the dress in the fittings and on the wedding day it really all came to life. The attention to detail and fit made me feel a million dollars.”
As advice to future brides planning their wedding, Olivia says, “I would say to always trust your instincts and to go with what makes you the most happy. There’s lots of elements to consider and opinions involved in planning a wedding, but the day and dress should be a reflection of you and your partner. Enjoy every minute of it because it all flies by like a dream!”
Photography – M & J Photography @m&jphotography
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.