BESPOKE bridal

The ‘bridal couture’ of Susie Stone, designed, fitted and made on Bermondsey Street by Jessica Cusack


susie Stone is no ordinary designer, and her eponymous brand, which specialises in bridal wear, is itself utterly unique. Located on Bermondsey Street, the shop boasts an in-house studio, in which all of the bespoke, made-to-measure garments are fashioned. It is a hub of evolution, in which the client embarks on a journey from the initial consultation, when design ideas are discussed and sketched out, to the fourth and final fitting, whereupon the bride finally meets her finished masterpiece.

Susie designs these ‘bridal couture’ outfits with a broad context in mind – from the style of the ceremony to the eras which most inspire the bride – but seasonal requirements are one of the most prevalent issues. When considering the difference between a spring/summer and autumn/winter wedding, Susie states that it is the cut and fabric of the dress that make the most difference. ‘In summer you want something like a beautiful silk chiffon, something light which will catch the wind in photographs, whereas in winter a gorgeous wool crepe is more appropriate. Autumn/ winter brides need a more weighty, opulent fabric, and often tailored styles are much more popular at this time as well. You’re not going to be floating around a summer garden, you’re going to be sipping a cocktail indoors in the style of Audrey Hepburn!’

Though each garment is totally unique, and stems from a collaboration between the imagination of the bride and the design expertise of Susie, she notes that brides sometimes can’t help but be influenced by trends. ‘The release of The Great Gatsby earlier in the year saw a rise in 20s and 30s inspired dresses: drop waists, thin silk straps, intricate beading’. When asked about the influence of the most watched wedding in history, that of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge in 2011, Susie recalls a surge in requests for lace, which the Duchess’s dress was adorned with. ‘Before that, lace had been seen as quite old fashioned, but Kate’s dress revived it and made it youthful again’. The vintage style of the Duchess’s dress, which was clearly inspired by that of the iconic Grace Kelly, is an attitude which is inherent in Susie’s brand.

By inviting the client to pause and really think about what they want for this most special of days, Susie bonds with her brides by having access to their dream wedding, however big or small, allowing her to further understand, and therefore satisfy, her customer. ‘It’s all about really getting to know the bride, and in addition to that we also design for bridesmaids and the mother of the bride, so we can create a unique, cohesive look for the whole bridal party’. She explains that this ensures every bridesmaid has her own special dress which suits her shape, as opposed to fitting each bridesmaid into the same design, which can cause some to feel selfconscious. However, dresses are not the only item on the menu. Stone recalls making ‘a beaded crop top and long skirt’ for one woman, while another requested palazzo pants and a silk shirt, thus demonstrating the diversity of modern wedding attire, and the flexibility of Stone’s skill.

‘I want the shop and studio to hark back to the time of celebrated designers such as Norman Hartnell [Royal Dressmaker to the Queen and the Queen Mother during the 1940s and 50s], when real care, dedication and time was put towards clients, and to pick up that British heritage in couture which has been forgotten’. Certainly, Susie Stone’s studio and ethical, bespoke designs are a welcome breath of fresh air in a world of faceless mass-produced clothing, and this rare service makes the big day that extra bit special.

Open by appointment only

60 Bermondsey Street
t: 0207 403 6104
twitter: @susiestoneltd

“You’re not going to be floating around a summer garden, you’re going to be sipping a cocktail indoors in the style of Audrey Hepburn!

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