Phillipa Lepley Bride Princess Caracciolo Carafa
Allegra began her wedding dress search during the first lockdowns of 2020, using Instagram and shop windows as inspiration. After dreaming of a visit to our Atelier one night, she knew Phillipa Lepley was the one. ‘I felt so happy in this dream that I couldn’t wait to make an appointment – first on video, and then in person once the PL team had helped me to select a few designs to try on. My visits were so uplifting and magical. Despite my family members not being able to attend the fittings due to lockdown restrictions, the care and attention made each visit feel very personal and special, and such a memorable part of my wedding preparation.’
Allegra chose a corseted ivory princess-line silk crepe gown with a beautiful bespoke hand-embellished tulle yoke. Hand beaded with concentric circles of leaves, petals and vines, when designing this dress, Phillipa loved the organic nature of the lines, winding around the decolletage.
Allegra’s family veil and tiara were key considerations as she chose her wedding dress – it was important to choose something that complemented the rich colouring and detail of her veil, and the delicate beading of her dress mirrored the intricate shapes of her tiara.
Allegra says ‘It made me feel exactly as I dreamt of and hoped. The cut of the dress was perfect, subtle yet at the same time grand, and suited to the large church where we would be married. It is a timeless design and so elegant – perfect in combination with the antique lace veil and tiara from my husband’s family. The intricate lacework of the veil with floral motifs worked magically well with the floral beadwork in the yoke – it really felt meant to be!’
‘The yoke of the dress is so special: I love the gentle rounded shape across the chest and shoulders and how it was moulded so exactly to my figure. The beads shimmer in the light and are so beautifully designed and placed, giving a natural, organic, and soft-touch to a formal dress. The high neck was perfect for the solemn mass and the bespoke leaf, which the team added into the yoke embroidery – reflecting one of the leaves from my husband’s family crest – was a special and very meaningful touch to a dress I hope can become an heirloom.’
Allegra and her husband Prince Caracciolo Carafa were married in a beautiful family chapel in Rome, Cappella Carafa at the Basilica Santa Maria sopra Minerva, followed by an evening reception and dinner at the Circolo della Caccia, Palazzo Borghese. She says, ‘We were so excited to gather all our family and friends after two years of not seeing so many of them. We had postponed the wedding by a whole year due to the 2021 travel restrictions, but it was worth the wait to have the day we had planned and hoped for! It was such a magical, dreamlike day from the moment I put on my dress to the moment I reluctantly had to take it off – I did contemplate keeping it on forever as I truly did not want this wonderful moment to come to an end!’
When reflecting on her journey with Phillipa Lepley, Allegra says that ‘the moment I tried on my dress and the feeling it gave me was something I will always remember – knowing that was just how I wanted to feel on my wedding day, and finding the perfect combination of all the elements I was looking for in one design. Something that rendered my fittings even more special was the thought each member of the team put into my dress design, so precise to each millimetre and every fold of fabric. They worked with so much attention and care during each part of the process – and were always so tranquil and calm – coming to my fittings was a dreamy oasis between the busy time of wedding planning!’
When asked how she felt wearing her couture wedding dress, Allegra’s response was, ‘wearing my dress I felt just as I had hoped to – formal and elegant yet soft and natural, timeless yet fresh and unique. It is the only dress I have seen with such a special yoke combined with a clean and fluid design – the perfect balance! The corset lent a lovely formality to the dress, combining beautifully with the organic design of the beadwork. The beadwork complemented the floral motifs of my veil and leaf/scroll shapes of my tiara, and I loved the delicate and thoughtful placement of each flower on the yoke, and how they softly peeked out from the rounded design.’
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.