Pure & Simple. The Designer Series: Ivory & Co
Posted on: 15/08/2013
Ivory & Co. is an award winning company known for their designer silk wedding dresses and one of the largest selections of bridal accessories in Europe. Their head designer Sarah Bussey studied Design at the prestigious Goldsmiths College and has worked extensively in the fashion industry in New York and London. Today we chat to her about her style philosophy, inspirations and the understated elegance of her beautiful designs.
Sarah says: What matters is the ethos of luxury materials used to produce innovative and stylish designs. Our wedding dresses, tiaras and jewellery are chic and original whilst still being romantic and feminine.
This season has seen new dress designs for our Romance, Haute Couture and Heritage collections – these include gorgeous opulent designs in soft silk fabrics as well as 1920′s and 1950′s inspired styling. Our Headdress collections have seen the introduction of over 40 new styles (mainly gorgeous Swarovski encrusted headpieces and hairvines which can be worn in many versatile ways). We have also just launched new Jazz Age and Prestige jewellery collections. The first is inspired by the current Great Gatsby trend and the second is a special luxury high end jewellery range.
We are always drawing on all sorts of experiences to assist in the design process. When designing the headdress and jewellery collections we like to look towards certain eras in history as well as mythology and the natural world. For example mythology and renaissance paintings give us great inspiration for romantic Grecian style hairvines, whilst flowers and leaves can give ideas for designing more contemporary headpieces for beach and garden weddings.
When designing wedding dresses I like to give our own distinct take on fashion through the ages. For our Heritage collection I design with the 1920′s and 1950′s in mind – our glam slinky silk styles and chic tea length styles. Sometimes travel can influence me too – I just returned form Italy and could not stop designing in my head additions to our Romance collection – dresses perfect for Tuscan or Italian lake weddings. Our Haute Couture collection is our cutting edge designer range of stylish and clean cut wedding dresses whilst the Red Carpet collection is inspired by the Hollywood icons of the golden era of the silver screen.
We design for the bride who wants stunning and unique design without being too over fussy and over the top. Our accessory and dress designs are classic and sophisticated with emphasis on quality of cut and innovative styling. So classic sophisticated brides wanting not to look exactly like all their friends at their weddings are the perfect brides for our designs.
The new headdress and jewellery collections were created using Swarovski crystals, simulated diamonds (the closest you can get to real diamonds) and real freshwater pearls) these have been set in rhodium (part of the platinum family of metals for a darker antique silver look). This combination of materials creates a look of authentic vintage style – these pieces of jewellery and headpieces look like heirlooms rather than brand new designs.
I love to use silk fabrics for my dress collections – silk taffetas, and silk satins as well as soft floating silk chiffons and organzas. I use these because I firmly believe that it makes such a difference to the end design. Synthetic fabrics just don’t look the same and cannot move in the same way when the bride walks. The better the quality of fabric the more options you have as a designer for creating unique and beautiful gowns.
My personal favourite dress for this season is Sarah – this is because it is actually the dress I designed for my own wedding (I got married at Christmas and was not intending necessarily for it to join the collection, but so many shops asked if they could stock it so I released it as part of the Romance range this spring. It is made entirely of heavy silk savoy satin and has such a classic shape (perfect corsetry to give a tiny was it and a huge train) it is finished with lovely mother of pearl buttons at the back.
My favourite piece of jewellery this season are the Princeton Earrings and Pendant – they are from the Jazz Age collection and are pure Art Deco design. I used to work in New York and walk past the Crysler building all the time – I love this kind of 1920′s design and it’s reflected in this set. My favourite headpiece is Marcia – a stunning hairvine which can be worn is so many ways – on the forehead, as a tiara, as a necklace or even a belt.
The great thing about designing both gowns and headpieces is that I design many to match each other exactly. Many gowns have matching beading on a sash or hip as the meaning in a headpiece or combo so that the bride can have a complete matching look. In particular thought the Heritage collection of jewellery is perfect with our 1920′s style dresses in our Heritage Collection. Our Dreams collection of pretty jewellery beautifully compliment our dresses from our Romance Collection.
Our accessories are created in a way which is quite unique in this modern era. Whilst most other accessory companies make only by wiring pieces together, we make traditional forged moulds which the metal is poured into for our vintage style tiaras and then the stones are set by hand. This is the way that jewellery and headpieces were made hundreds of years ago.
The thing that really sets us apart is the sheer choice that we offer – over 500 tiaras, headdresses and combs – so something for absolutely every bride.
The new Jazz Age pieces would certainly compliment the new trend for Great Gatsby styling – hair and make up that brides love form this movie and the 1920′s time period looks so fab with these pieces.
The majority of our dress and accessories are so classic and beautiful that sophisticated and elegant styling is best.
We have a Signature collection of Headpieces – these are always the latest prestige designs. Cutting edge styling has created these luxury accessories to fulfil demand for eye-catching statement pieces. They match current bridal trends for heavily encrusted crystal headpieces or chic and intricate detailing.
We spend a lot of time in deciding the names for each new piece – it has to properly represent the feel of the piece. We use very regal names such as Octavia for the Vintage collection of tiaras, or 1920′s names such as Tallulah or Broadway for the Ritz collection. The same is true for our dresses – we draw upon names from mythology, nature, place names and historical names to find the perfect one for each design.
For our dresses we offer brides a bespoke service. They can have custom alterations made to an existing design or have a gown designed for them from scratch. Our silk designer dresses retail between £995 and £1995 (with many in the bracket between £1295 – £1595).
Our headpieces range from £45 for smaller bridesmaids style pieces up to £295 for our luxury end headdress, but we have many tiaras and combs for between £75 and £150.
I trained at Goldsmiths College (renowned as the best place to study Design in the UK). This is where I met my business partner Alex Longhi. We both studied there for 4 years and after I worked in New York and London in the fashion industry. At that time Alex worked in Copenhagen in advertising and marketing. When we returned to the UK we started our business together (many years ago) and have worked together ever since – our ethos began by wanting to bring luxury bridal accessories made with traditional methods as at the time there was a real niche in the bridal market. Over the year we became known as the main name in bridal accessories and now supply over 500 wedding shops in the UK, nearly 150 overseas and have won awards including Best Headdress designer in UK.
When we first began we were only a retailer dealing directly with brides, as time went on we were approached again and again to supply wedding shops who wanted our designs. When we made the decision to supply other shops it was a major turning point as it brought our designs to brides all over the UK and now all over the world.
We are due to move in the next few months to a much bigger set of offices, design studios which are currently being renovated. This has room for a huge showroom to showcase our designs to brides and the shops we supply. We are very excited and can’t wait to move!
We are always designing new styles – although we now have over 500 tiaras, headpieces and combs – we can’t stop adding to the collection. The same is true for our dresses. I am always sketching and creating new ideas for gowns.
The new showroom will contain one of the largest selections of everything bridal in Europe.
I love my job. I have always wanted to design and feel a lot of satisfaction in making brides happy for their wedding day. The wedding outfit is simply the most important gown and accessories a woman will ever wear and it is wonderful to be able to provide in reality the styles that brides dream about after getting engaged. If I was not doing this job, I would hope to still be doing something creative or something relating to travel as I love to visit different cultures and experience new adventures.
A day in the life at the Ivory & Co. headquarters is always very hectic! We have a dedicated team here that work very hard to make sure that brides get the very best service. Most of the accessory orders that we receive are sent the same day so the dispatch team are always busy! Much of our time is spent dealing with customers, planning trade shows and catwalk shows as well as designing the accessories and dresses themselves.
Although it is a busy environment – we like it that way. We all get a buzz from the success of the business and are happy to work hard to achieve that.
I love to travel when I get the chance – either for work or for fun. It helps to switch off once in a while. Italy is one of may favourite places to go as there is a more relaxed atmosphere and way of life there – particularly in the Lakes area. Everyone needs to unwind sometime to be able to come back with renewed enthusiasm and ready to take on new challenges.
The best things in life are my family and friends. I have a very supportive husband and children who I value above everything. Ivory & Co. is also something that I really love and appreciate. My business partner and I have worked really hard over the years and we are proud of our business.
Brides up North can find out more about us by seeing our websites:
Accessories : www.ivoryandcotiaras.co.uk
Dresses : www.ivoryandcobridal.co.uk
Alternatively brides can call us on 01684 564310 to answer any queries and for a personal service.
We now supply over 500 stockist nationwide for accessories and approx. 40 bridal stores for our designer wedding dresses. Our websites feature stockist lists and Google maps so that brides can find their nearest Ivory & Co. stockist.
Brides can find our what’s happening in the world of Ivory & Co. by following our blog and Twitter/ Facebook. There are links on our websites to make this easy. Our blog gives information about designer days that we attend, special offers, accessory events run by stockists as well as stories about new designs, catwalk shows and galleries of our real life brides… we hope Brides Up North like our blog!
This is not a sponsored post
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