February 7th, 2014 | Julia Braime
It’s only February 2014, but already the invitations to view the biggest bridal houses’ 2015 collections have started to roll in here at Brides Up North HQ, and we are excitedly marking some special dates in our office diary. Last year we brought you our Designer Series of interviews with some of the most recognised names in the industry, and are looking forward to doing the same again later this spring.
You know me though, I like to keep things fresh, mixed up and interesting – and that’s why alongside the established designers I also like to keep my readers abridged of the hottest happenings in bridal couture, the newest labels on the scene and also laud the work of talented, smaller, independent designers.
So when the lovely Holly Cuthbert of brand new label Maria Senvo contacted me to show off her inaugural collection, I couldn’t wait to share it with the rest of you. Coming soon to a bridal boutique (and some of the Brides Up North Luxury Wedding Exhibitions!) near you, let’s meet the lady behind the designs.
Please introduce Maria Senvo and tell us a little about your brand?
The label has been set up by me and my partner Ryan, so we have both a male and female influence on the designs which we think is what makes them so unique. Our first collection launches this month, alongside the website and we also have some exciting events coming up over the coming months. Our first one coincides with London Fashion Week and is the invitation only launch of the label. We are super busy planning at the moment but it’s set to be great!
What is your style philosophy?
Stay true to yourself and don’t be afraid to be different. Many brides are taking their day to day style and working this into their big day looks to be individual and stylised. Gone are the days where brides wear what is expected of them… be bold.
Tell us about the new collection by Maria Senvo?
We always say… “If you’re a cool girl and your am to pm wardrobe is simple, paired down and effortless, what do you then wear to get married in?”
That bride – someone not unlike ourselves we think – really is the inspiration for each and every design. The aim always was to master that elusive paired down aesthetic with just the right amount of glamour. As well as the bride herself the inspirations are endless from art, culture and modernism, even the campaign taster shot at a British sculpture park oozes an essence of what the brand is really about; creating what we hope really is a striking new presence in a somewhat traditional industry.
What fabrics and embellishments were chosen for the new collection and why?
Intricate beaded bodies, elongated lines and pleats adorn the collection that when turned around reveal scoop detail backs and razor sharp features. The collection is designed with a new generation bride in mind who is looking for something a little different from her gown. Each is handmade and hand beaded and feels amazing to wear! The fabrics range from silks to crepe chiffon and everything in between.
Do you have a personal favourite from the new collection? Which piece and why?
We both have our favourites for different reasons! Mine (Holly) is the Joy gown as it’s the first gown we designed and also happens to be one of the favourites with our brides so far. Ryan loves the Edith gown as the shape is so different to anything else out there and the heavy lace teamed with the soft crepe looks elegantly stylish.
What accessories would you pair with pieces from your new collection?
For our campaign shoot we used pieces from the latest Indian Summer collection from Flo & Percy. We love the style of their accessories and they complement our gowns perfectly. A lot of our boutiques also hand make bespoke accessories to match our gowns which is a gorgeous little addition when shopping for a Maria Senvo gown.
What beauty look would complement the pieces in your new collection?
Our own style is very paired down and somewhat European so we love the effortless looks that look less bridal and more day to day. On the shoot our makeup and hair stylist scooped hair into high ponytails or brushed long length hair back off the models face… paired with neutral eyes (add a little subtle false lash for definition) and a pop of colour on the lip to take your big day look from am to pm.
Do you have a “signature” piece?
We definitely have a signature look running through the collection – spot it for yourselves?
How do you decide on the “names” for your gowns?
The name of the collection ‘The Fifteen Collection’ is purely the year date of the collection. As we designers are always a year ahead of ourselves this collection launches this month yet will be sold internationally as 2015 pieces. The dress names were a little more tricky, a lot of the dress names have a personal meaning to us be it names of family and friends or aims and achievements we have.
What sizes are available in your gowns?
The gowns are size 6 – 22 but custom sizing is also available as each gown is handmade to order.
What is the retail price range for your designs?
The designs start at around £1,500 and range up to around £2,700 for our Swarovski custom gown.
What sets Maria Senvo apart from other bridal wear brands?
The designs mix a respect for the old with a flair for the new but what makes Maria Senvo unique is how we understand the woman inside our dress. Composed and sensual, she wants to be comfortable yet elegant, fashion forward but timeless. The first collection is new and bold and altogether interesting for 2014, but to call us minimalists would be too simple. The seemingly uncomplicated pieces are stylish and on closer inspection, playful experiments in shapes and fabrics with a focus on the finer points in design, so that the inside of the garments are just as beautiful as the outside. Trust us – when stepped into they feel sensational!
Was there a defining point in your career that made your business the success that it is today?
As young entrepreneurs the biggest step so far was taking the leap and setting up the label – it really just keeps going from strength to strength and the reaction to the collection has been unbelievable.
What are your plans for the future?
At the moment we are concentrating on our UK launch and with London Fashion Week just 2 weeks away we are busy bees to say the least!
What would “a day in the life” at Maria Senvo HQ be like?
We have a studio which in every way encompasses the typical studio you would imagine – from moodboards to swatches it’s an organised chaos! Ryan is a real night owl and is constantly tapping away until the early hours most days. No two days are the same and we split our time between London and Manchester for many reasons, both cities have a great culture for design and both have wonderful support systems for new generation brands such as ourselves. Every day is vibrant.
How can Brides Up North readers get in touch with you or see more of your designs?
Our new website launches this month housing some great features for brides like “create your own lookbook” and “request a sketch” and is a great spot to see more of our designs and keep up to date with all our events. We also love to hear from our brides to be direct through our social media.
Do you have any Northern stockists – how can Brides Up North find them?
Yes! The lovely The Case Of The Curious Bride in Manchester is the exclusive stockist for the North and the boutique is a gorgeous hub of treats – with Melanie (the owner) also housing an abundance of accessories for brides to lust after alongside our debut collection.
The Case Of The Curious Bride will be exhibiting at Brides Up North’s North West events this Spring. Click here to add the dates to your diaries and see Maria Senvo’s beautiful new collection in person.
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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…