I thought an interesting blog series to run would be ‘Interview with a Designer’ and what better place to start than with the amazing Wedding dress designer, Martin Charles. Martin designed and made my Wedding dress, so holds a very special place in my heart. Here it goes… I hope you enjoy it.

MARTIN CHARLES

My history and training…

I completed a Masters Degree in Women’s Wear at the Royal Collage of Art in Kensington. After my graduation I was called and asked if I could send some work for Gianni Versace to view. I was flown out to Milan for an interview and subsequently offered a job as his design assistant. I worked there until his murder when I came back to the UK and started up my own fashion label named ‘No Shrinking Violets’.Β 

I was first inspired to become a designer by/when…

I used to watch old Hollywood movies and was fascinated by the work of the Hollywood designers like Edith Head. The silhouette and structure of the dresses and outfits were a dream. Of course I also fell in love with Christian Dior and the whole image of his designs. I am a sucker for glamour.

I am now inspired by…

I am still inspired by the same things.Β  Although I do like a bit of ‘Bo Ho ethereal chic’.Β  I am sure I will be totally inspired by the re-make of the Great Gatsby when it is finally released. Again Hollywood glamour!

My dresses appeal to…

Women who know what suits them and know that they can carry it off, they are confident in themselves and the way they look, they like romantic glamour (with a nod to a bygone age), they don’t go for things by halves. If there is a story to tell they will tell it.

My favourite designer is…

I do love the timeless elegance of the Alan Hannah dresses. I appreciate the construction and quality of make in the gowns. Another is Paloma Blanca,Β  I love the silhouettes as they are always flattering and make the most of a woman’s shape.Β  Wedding dresses by both of these designers are available at my Boutique in Oundle.

My studio is…

Small but well equipped with everything to hand.Β  I have everything I need. Good daylight, cutting table, racks of fabrics and trims, my faithful and trusted machine. My boutique is modern without being intimidating. We pride ourselves on our welcome and service.

My best designs/ideas have come from…

Modelling on a stand, working with the fabric to create the 3d shape I am after. This is the way I like to work but it is not always the most efficient. Sometimes I need to flat pattern cut. I enjoy this too it takes me back to technical drawing at school.

Every bride should…

Do some research if she wants something made to measure as it is hard when a bride comes in to see you, someone you have never met before, and knows nothing of her likes and dislikes. Even just some tears from magazines showing the type of style she wants for her wedding really helps to start the ball rolling and give the conversation a starting point. If she is buying a ready made dress she should still research and find examples and/or designers that she likes.Β 

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Martin Charles has a boutique set in an amazing old Chapel in Oundle, Leicestershire. His made to measure prices start from Β£2,000 to Β£3,500 and he also stocks boutique samples priced from Β£1,800 to Β£2,500.