August 23rd, 2013 | Julia Braime
Julia by So Sassi
This morning I am thrilled to introduce you to a wedding gown designer that I have long admired and had the opportunity to meet on several occasions (she’s a lovely lady), Sassi Holford, as we find out about her design inspirations and she previews her So Sassi label’s 2014 collection for Brides Up North. One year after it’s launch, Sassi’s esprit label continues it’s fashion forward path…
Please introduce yourself and tell us a little about your brand?
I am Sassi Holford and I’ve been designing wedding dresses for over three decades… my gowns are handmade in Somerset by my wonderfully skilled team, and the integral corset that we put in each gown creates a beautifully streamlined silhouette and ensures a high level of comfort for the bride on her big day.
Abbie by So Sassi
What is your style philosophy?
Less is more.
Annie by So Sassi
Tell us about the beautiful new collections by Sassi Holford?
My 2014 Sassi Holford Signature Collection was conceived around my notion of modern elegance but emphasised with dramatic silhouettes and tactile fabrics. To achieve this I have consciously moved away from traditional laces to unusual, feminine laces and combined them with delicate tulles and chiffons. Though some designs are elegantly simple and rest on the perfection of their lines, I adore the styles that are exquisitely embellished with laser cut fabrics and 3D textures.This season my necklines are more demure, but contrast beautifully with a number of dramatic but feminine deep V backs (a detail that I’m particularly enamoured with at the moment).
Our So Sassi 2014 Collection – shown in these images – is perfect for the young, modern bride with a sense of fashion and her own style. After the label’s first year we now know its market, its bride and its style direction, so the success of the second collection has become very important because our expectations are higher. The label is the creation of a young design team working in a highly creative environment. The dresses are designed and handmade in my workrooms in Somerset.
Ava by So Sassi
Where do you look for inspiration?
I rarely look for it, it finds me – it could be a luxurious fabric I’ve seen or the environment around me. But, generally, it is my clients that inspire me most as their honesty and enthusiasm is my motivation.
Caitlin by So Sassi
What sort of woman do you design for, did you have a specific “muse” for this collection?
No “muse” – my primary concern is to make the female form look truly fabulous. My brides are elegant, feminine and romantic.
Gracie by So Sassi
What jewellery would you pair with pieces from your new collection?
Gracie by So Sassi
What beauty look would complement the pieces in your new collection?
My designs are all about accentuating the female form and the most effective make-up is a classic ‘bridal’ look – fresh and glowing.
Jennie by So Sassi
Do you have a “signature” piece?
Jessica from my Signature Collection (not shown) – the dress alone is a stunning silk crepe column design but it can be worn with a jacket and a sash, just a sash – just a jacket. The different looks that you can create with this dress, for a bride, are almost endless and whilst simple, they’re all so effective.
Julia by So Sassi
How do you decide on the “names” for your gowns?
They’re usually derived from clients that I’ve designed for in the past – personalities I know and like.
Louisa by So Sassi
What sizes are available in your gowns? Are your pieces made to measure?
All my designs are available in the standard size range of 8 to 18 but they can also be ordered in a size smaller or up to size 28 if required.
Maisie by So Sassi
What is the process for your clients from finding “the one” to the final fitting?
Both of my boutiques are presented with an understated elegance to them that offers a calm environment for every client to best enjoy their appointments. Initially we’ll look at helping clients try on every shape of dress to see what best compliments their silhouette. Ideally we recommend that brides look at dresses between nine and twelve months before their wedding date -with the intention of placing their order six to nine months before.
Once a design has been decided upon and the order placed, brides expect to see us again for perhaps two or three more fittings (this may include a calico bodice ‘prefit’ which we call a ‘toile’) and then a final fitting before collecting their dress for the big day! Bespoke gowns may require more fittings of course.
Mischa by So Sassi
What sets Sassi Holford apart from other bridal wear brands?
Thirty years of experience!
Missie by So Sassi
How did you get into wedding dress design – what is your story?
Becoming a designer came about by chance, in 1981, when a school friend was getting married but didn’t have enough money for a ‘proper’ wedding dress. I volunteered to design and make one although I had no dress making experience. I really enjoyed helping to make the bride, my friend, feel her absolute best. I thoroughly enjoyed the experience and realised that I had a genuine flair for the whole process.
Missie by So Sassi
Was there a defining point in your career that made your business the success that it is today?
Opening my boutique in London was a turning point but the pinnacle of my career was designing the wedding gown for Autumn Kelly when she married the Queen’s grandson, Peter Phillips.
Molly by So Sassi
What are your plans for the future?
To carry on making Couture wedding dresses and to expand the apprenticeship training for tailoring and luxury garment production.
Poppy by So Sassi
Is this your dream career?
This is my dream career but I’ve always liked the idea of designing shoes too!
Rosie by So Sassi
What would “a day in the life” at Sassi Holford HQ be like?
My PA, Becky, does her best to enforce some order and clarity into my working week but beyond my Friday meetings -there’s no typical routine to my days at the office. I try and do far too much all at once –it’s a bit of an organised chaos with me, my husband Martin, our three children and our dog!
Tamara by So Sassi
Where do you go and what do you do to relax?
I like to cook, eat and indulge with gourmet dining…followed closely by regular sessions with my personal trainer to allow for such indulgences!
Tori by So Sassi
What are your “best things” in life?
Living in the countryside with enough public transport, within half an hour of where I live, to get me anywhere else I want or need to be in the world!
Charlie by So Sassi
How can Brides Up North readers see more of your designs?
Do you have any Northern stockists – how can Brides Up North find them?
We do, we have 8 at the moment – they’re all listed on the map of our stockists page for the UK and Eire on the main website.
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Former lawyer and bride to be Julia founded Brides Up North in 2010 with a chip on her shoulder. Frustrated by the poor Northern presence in glossy bridal magazines and online, she decided to do something about it herself. Astounded by the rapid growth of her blog and brand, Julia now manages Brides Up North’s online content alongside their busy wedding exhibition season, industry events and related commissions. And she’s always, always, got a new project on the go…