An example of Northern talent at it’s very best, today we are thrilled to be welcoming exceptional bridal wear designer Kate Beaumont to the blog as an official Brides Up North Sponsor.
Offering you ladies the incredible opportunity to have a gown tailored to your specific wishes and style, choosing a Kate Beaumont design for your big day is so much more than a purchase, it’s an experience.
Working from her industrial luxe studio in Sheffield, Kate creates understatedly beautiful and wonderfully unstructured gowns for modern brides using exquisite fabrics that both look and feel amazing.
Her collections feature slinky, bias-cut silk dresses and slips as well as fuller skirted silhouettes, plus romantic lace designs, which means there is something for those who seek to exude timeless glamour on their big day as well as creations that appeal to the relaxed, boho brides and heart.
Keen to deliver each of her clients a dress that is both comfortable and true to their own individual sartorial style, Kate works directly with brides to find ‘the one’ – whether that happens to already exist within her collections, or is a process of combining elements of several designs to achieve the desired vision.
And with each gown made-to-order, brides can also be sure of the perfect fit.
So, let us hand over the blog to Kate to tell us more about the design and appointment procedure whilst admiring captivating pieces from her latest collection.
With images by India Hobson.
Tell us a little about your background and how and when you came to set up your label?
Kate says: I’d studied Fashion at university but I’d fallen out with it a little after spending a year travelling. My best friend asked me to make her wedding dress, and as we looked for inspiration it was the first time I realised that wedding dresses didn’t have to be the strapless full-skirted numbers I’d only ever seen up to that point. After making Alexandra’s, I made my own, taking inspiration from 1930s bias cut designs, and was hooked from then on.
How would you describe your signature style and what type of brides would you say your designs tend to appeal to?
My style is understatedly beautiful: unstructured dresses that are well cut and made from exquisite laces and silks. I create luxurious dresses that are romantic and timeless, extremely comfortable to move in, and very easy to wear. Our dresses are laid back and romantic, perfect for modern brides looking for something non-traditional that feels true to their own style.
What would you say are your main considerations when designing a collection and where do you draw your inspiration from?
I always find it so hard to talk about inspiration, as it comes from everywhere. I don’t work in a particularly linear way and separate all the dresses into collections, as each design is an extension of what I’ve created previously, and they should all sit beautifully alongside one another. My brides are always a huge source of inspiration and ideas for me – we’ll often come up with ideas to change an existing dress during an appointment, and that will eventually become the start of a new design for the next collection.
Can you give us an overview of your collections?
This time around I’ve added in some fuller skirted silhouettes with Zinnia, Mimosa and Hyacinth. There are new slinky styles too – Viola and Thistle, along with the elegant, slimline Geranium and Snowdrop, and the bohemian Lunaria, with its floaty hammered silk. The addition of the two boxy lace jackets Rosa and Freesia also offer new silhouettes for me, working beautifully over slip dresses or simple bias-cut gowns.
With this collection I was keen to focus on texture and shape, creating dresses with new silhouettes and in more varied fabrics. Highest quality silks this time include an ivory matte heavyweight silk marocain for Geranium and Snowdrop, heavyweight silk-satin in sea-pearl for Viola, bubble wrap silk jacquard for Zinnia, and hammered silk-satin in champagne for Lunaria. Laces continue to vary from gentle botanical motifs, to more bold abstract floral patterns, to geometric designs.
Detailing comes from the luxurious fabrics chosen – combinations of silks and French laces – plus delicate buttons down the backs, and ribbons – plain or embellished – tied at waists.
Ivory features more than usual in this collection, sitting alongside with my usual warmer palette of champagnes and oysters. This time around we’ve added in two beautiful shades of sea-pearl silk-satin, plus a pale silver textured silk for Hyacinth’s tired skirt.
What would you say are the main benefits of having a wedding dress made bespoke?
Having a dress made means getting the fit and detailing right from the start, rather than having to have a pre-made and finished dress altered as required. All of my dresses can have design details changed, we then toile the shape in a lesser fabric to get the style and fit just right, before hand-sewing it in the real fabric and adjusting again where needed.
Can you tell us a little about your studio where brides visit for their appointments?
I work from a studio in a converted cutlery factory in Sheffield. It’s a quirky ex-industrial space, with exposed brick panels, dark blue walls, mismatched antique furniture and lots of plants. I run all appointments personally – which is a real pleasure for me as I get to know all my brides – and keep the atmosphere very relaxed and friendly.
What can brides-to-be expect from an appointment with you and how do you assist them in finding the dress that suits their personal style and big day plans?
Appointments usually last about an hour-and-a-half, and I keep everything as laid-back as possible – no high-pressure selling here! I start things off with a chat where I find about wedding plans, then ask brides to have a look through the dress rail, letting me know whatever they’re keen to try on. Sometimes I’ll make suggestions too if there’s something they’ve not picked out that I think would work particularly well. Once we’re trying on dresses, I try to establish what brides do and don’t like about each one, and if they’re struggling to find something that’s just right, will often suggest combining elements of dresses to make something perfect for them.
What is the feedback like from your brides, what do they love about your designs and approach?
Feedback from brides is always wonderful – having a dress made is such a special thing to do, they really appreciate the personal approach we take, and realise the amount of work we put in to making sure their dress was absolutely perfect for them. By the time brides are ready to collect their dress we’ve normally spend a lot of hours together, and it is often like saying goodbye to old friends.
What is the best part of your job and what job do you think you would be doing if you weren’t a designer?
For me, designing and making wedding dresses was the perfect way to combine all the bits I loved best about fashion, plus giving me the opportunity to meet and get to know so many lovely women along the way. I really wouldn’t get so much from the creative side of the business without the time spend with brides, for me the balance is just right. If I wasn’t doing this I’d perhaps like to work in interior design, or as a florist, though I’ve no plans to change career at the moment!
Can you tell us about your pastimes and passions away from your studio?
Most of my free time is spent with my little family – my five-year-old son Rex, husband James and cat Buzz. Rex is at the most wonderful age and he’s such a pleasure to spend time with. We spend a lot of time out and about in the Peak District or head off exploring local parks and National Trust places. Other than that, it’s mostly meeting up with friends, gym classes, and reading.
If you were getting married tomorrow, which of your gowns would you pick and why?
Good question! I was married in Honeysuckle seven years ago, so I suppose I’d have to officially stick with that one, though at the minute I’d be very tempted by Astilbe or Lunaria, probably topped with a cape veil.
What is the size range of your designs are where are they available from?
All dresses are made-to-order, so can come in any size required. They’re available right now in my Sheffield studio.
How can brides-to-be find out about/see more of your designs?
My website features all my designs, plus lots of images of brides in their dresses, which really help to show off what’s possible.