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 DIARY:

JUNE

12 June 2006 ~

Much of May has been dedicated to Jane's wedding gown who was married in Leominster on 10th June ~ congratulations to Jane & Sat.

This gown was in my favourite colours & was an incredibly romantic French Revolution inspired gown with a real Cinderella look ~ soft golden silk tulle, french lace hand painted by an artist here in the UK & then embellished by my hand with tiny glass beads & sumptuous taffeta in a shot golden green hue. I also created a head-dress inspired by my Moulin Rouge piece that incorporated all the beading & the lace & worked them together with feathers, wire work & crystals for a little sparkle.

I absolutely love the results & this is definitely one of my favourites:

 

 

 

 

 

Above: The happy couple leaving the Priory. A gorgeous back shot & some of the detailing on the front ~ the florist did a brilliant job, the bouquet was a perfect match.

 

Right: Rough design sketches for the skirt which was changed, on my suggestion,  from the original design below:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Improved design ideas can often crop up when designs are being made up as the interaction of different fabrics & trimmings almost starts to dictate how best they should be used & personally I felt the original dress covered up to much of the skirt, which when made up was such an amazing lively colour that it would have been a crime to cover too much up - with good design, it's all about getting the balance right. I zapped some rough sketches to Jane via email & some pics of the work in progress on the dummy with tulle draped over it & she gave the thumbs up to the alternative design "your idea it looks even better and very original". Being able to communicate like this with your clients means everyone gets the best possible result & I definitely think the improved skirt design was the right way to go.

 

 

Right: Fabric detail ~ the taffeta changed from looking a cool pistachio colour in duller light because it had a pale blue thread & vibrant golden green, because of a bright yellow thread in sun & artificial light. The lace with it's golden thread, like a chameleon, worked with the taffeta in all light conditions.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Whilst I'm on the subject of my most recent commissions, my lovely couple who married in Italy last month emailed me a link to their wedding images & there are some beautiful photographs (of the 200 I've seen so far)!

Thankyou Colin & Veronika, I look forward to seeing the other 600! 

        

    

    


 

24 June 2006 ~
 
 
An anicdote worth sharing & the 25 stone dress!
 

I saw an article in the Daily Mail the other day about the 16 year old, 7 stone bride in the 25 stone, Jordan looky likey wedding dress & it reminded me of a, pre-Jordan's wedding, consultation I did with a young bride & her parents who came for their consultation on 7/7, the day of the London bombings.

The father had done his research on the Internet & in short wanted a Cadillac for the price of a Mini (his words). He had told me in advance of his wife & daughter's trip to one of my peers, a well known London Designer with a prestigious address & their desire to have that dress replicated & I was very clear 'I do not copy!'. No, he said they wanted my style, for about £3000 , he was sure i was the person who could give them what they wanted & I told him I could do something for around the £3500 mark (my starting price for bigger gowns) but not 'that other dress' or anything too much like it & of course it would have to fit his budget. In my mind the brief was big, sparkly & PINK & that's where we'd start.

 

So, to set the scene. It's 7/7 2005, Britain is experiencing it's 9/11 & I'm about to have the consultation from hell:

So they arrive that afternoon, the father was very full on, take control guy from the start. A property developer who lived in a penthouse in a large cosmopolitan city & a wedding, which was to take place in Israel with hundreds of guests. It very quickly became apparent that these people were far from paupers & could afford the £18,500 price tag of the other dress she loved but didn't want to pay. And they wanted THAT UGLY DRESS! Out came the photo from a magazine & to my horror this 'thing' also had a huge snail train of frilly netting (I later discovered it was 6 or possibly 8 meters long!).

The daughter who sat there taking a back seat while I tried to get something out of her I could work with was slim, attractive & a normal height & would have looked frightful dragging an overbearing train & I told them so. After some debate, with her father, he compromised on 4 meters! They also had a second image from Hello or O.K. of a sparkly, pink dress worn to an event by Shirley Bassey that looked bad on her & was just plain awful.

And then the hard work began. Think Blood, think stone. It doesn't happen often that I have a consultation where someone comes to me who doesn't want what I do but this consultation turned in to a three on one bully fest to try & make the 'insignificant designer who can't possibly justify her prices being outside of London' into making a copy. I stood firm & tried against increasing odds to remain professional & complete the consultation & I did come up with an original, new design that the daughter seemed to like. But there was no way it could be done for £3000 & I told them so. I told them I would price the dress up properly & email them, I just wanted them out - I have never had such a difficult & unpleasant consultation or been treated with such lack of respect for what I do.

And that's when I was INSTRUCTED to THINK ABOUT IT. I said I didn't need to think, the dress would not be made for £3000 & would be at least £5000 - £6000+. No, no, says father, you THINK ABOUT IT.

Even worse was the sales pitch that followed.........

 

On 7/7 (our 9/11) with people dying on the underground & on buses in London, this 'businessman' made me the sickest pitch....

'People are dying today, everyone's going to hold on to their money & not spend & you're going to have to "TAKE WHAT YOU CAN GET".

The bubble above my head & fixed smile said:  yes mate, spell it! D    Y    I    N   G , dying, maimed, disfigured for life, is this really the way to go!?!?!

On the way out, he said in this smarmy 'businessman' tone (think Peter Stringfellow): 'look at her, isn't she lovely, wouldn't she look great on your website, we'd allow you to put her on your website......'

In my bubble, I was thinking:  t  h  a  t  '  s  it..........., k  e  e  p   walking!  Nice parting shot trying to pimp your daughter!  

 

Even if I'd been desperate for business, I couldn't have dealt with him!

I never imagined a wedding dress consultation could leave such a bad taste in your mouth.

In professional mode, I sent them an email with quotes, the dress was very lovely - a pretty princess dress for a young bride & a very non-copy of anyone else’s work but I made it clear I did not want their business & ooops, sorry  'over your budget', what a shame & just as well really!

When I saw Jordan's wedding I thought of the property developer & his daughter & smiled. This girl would have drooled over all those tacky layers & crystals & when I saw this 16 year old  in the paper the other day, I thought of this other young bride & her Cinderella fantasy & of this story which really should be shared.

Any hey it's probably bad form to dis a former potential client but this family was soooooo outside the norm for my kind of clients, I only stand to offend the like minded & the less people like that I have to meet, the happier I'll be.

Finally let me share with you my email response & the sketch which was less Barbie & more Cinderella, looking at Jane's dress in the first entry slot for this month, you can imagine how lovely the dress could have looked if I'd been willing to work with this bride & the budget had been appropriate:
 
Dear Mr. ****
 
I've thought about it.

Firstly I would like to say that your consultation was different from most in that your daughter came with a photograph of a skirt which she was not keen to depart from & clearly wanted a lot of work & detailing in her dress. I had not seen the other designer's skirt, as photographed & had no idea it had a huge train, as the day I saw it, it was squeezed on to a small stand & most of the train was hidden. I gave you an idea of what a dress might cost based on a description you gave me on the telephone & was not in a position to know what was involved until I had spoken to your daughter. My website does not give the impression that I copy other designer's work (See:
http://www.18thcenturycorsets.com/Copyright.html ) or that I offer cut price versions of more expensive dresses, my prices are there for a reason, they are there so brides know I am not pulling quotes from the sky & so that I do not waste time on consultations with those that do not have appropriate budgets for the dress they want. If you believed the prices on my site were "flexible", that is your mistake.

It was clear from your consultation that you were not looking to compromise on the gown but looking to me or someone like me to compromise on the price whilst providing couture quality & a gown that looks like the other designer's £18,500 worth for less than a quarter of the price. Quite frankly your pitch offended me & created an unpleasant atmosphere. You may have been there to see if I was the right person to make your daughter's dress but I too use consultations to decide whether I can work with a client. Having a gown designed to specification & made to measure is a very special & personal service for a bride & can be very rewarding for a designer or deeply unpleasant if there is a poor working relationship & demanding & disrespectful client. Disrespecting what I do by comparing it with renting shops & sighting terrorism in London as further reason that  I should "take what I can get" was in particularly bad taste. I can not imagine how I could build a comfortable working relationship if you were involved & unfortunately as you took charge of the consultation I was not able to get to know my potential client your daughter as I would normally do.

Having costed the gown discussed & a couple of train variations, the gown you want would cost £**** with an additional cost for the trains of anywhere between £*** & £****, the crown is £285. Clearly this is outside of your budget & is just as well because I would have serious misgivings about taking this commission on. Perhaps you should be a little less indulgent & ask your daughter to consider dresses that are within your budget, she is a young attractive girl & does not need a four meter train to look beautiful or make her feel special & whatever gown she chooses, she should wear 'it', not 'it' wear her.

I hope you find someone appropriate who can work within your budget.

 
 
Personally, I would have done away with the last four frills of netting that make up the train for something manageable that doesn't make the women wearing it look shorter.
 
 
They say money does not buy taste & I should add that even if £20,000+ had been put on the table by that family, money doesn't always buy a designer. I hope KARMA bites that guy on the ***!
 
 
 
I won't pass judgment on the dress featured in the Daily Mail , it's warn by a 16 year old that wanted to capture the Disneyesque quality of Jordan's dress & I think anyone who's visited my site & seen my work, knows what I think.
 
Jordan's on the other hand, I have no words AND the designer, who is a well respected designer, took credit for it! I know,they say 'no publicity is bad publicity' but really? Jordan can look beautiful , she could have looked beautiful, instead she was Princess Bubblegum.
 
I do hope my property developing clan found someone infinitely more suitable for the £3000 version of £18,500 dress & part of me hopes it looked every bit as good as Jordan's did.
 
 
 
 
 
 
P.S. Like the smiley? I downloaded the program for emails when it was advertised on AOL a while ago, it's from smileycentral.com
 

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From the world record attempt for heaviest dress, the greedy family & Jordan to a
 
Really Lovely Wedding Article:
 
 
As an aside, on the Daily Mail website is a lovely wedding story of the first Downs couple to get married, if ever there was a bigger contrast: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/pages/live/femail/article.html?in_article_id=392260&in_page_id=1879
 
 

25 June 2006 ~
 
7/7
 
With the 1st anniversary of 7/7 fast approaching & knowing 56 people died that day, it really is quite shocking to think someone would use an event like this to barter the price of a wedding dress (see diary entry for 24th June).
 
We can all remember 7/7 at noon on the 7th July 2006 by joining in with the national two minutes silence.
 
There is also a charity that helps the victims of 7/7:

 

 

 
 

 
 
 
 

 

2006: Entires for MAY  .  JUNE  .  JULY  .  AUGUST  .  SEPTEMBER   .  OCTOBER   .  NOVEMBER   .  DECEMBER