Suzanne Neville | The Interview

Suzanne Neville | The Interview

Suzanne Neville speaks to Buckinghams and gives a sneak peek into the designer life

Award winning British Designer Suzanne Neville is already known as one of Europe’s leading designers of bridal and evening wear. Her gowns have been worn by Tess Daly and Elle Macpherson to name a few. But now, talking exclusively to Buckinghams, ‘Nevsie’ talks about her likes, dislikes, love of the Quality Street green triangle and face-timing with Kate Winslet. It’s all in a day’s work.

Suzanne, tell us something about your background. How did you get started in the wedding dress business? “I began making wedding dresses for friends whilst studying at the London College of Fashion and it just grew from there. I started the business with a Princes Trust grant. It’s what I’d always wanted to do and it’s hard to believe it’s now 25 years ago. There are never enough hours in the day to get as much done as I would like because it’s always so busy. Creating patterns is my biggest passion and seeing brides on their big day.”

Does the responsibility of your business ever scare you? “It doesn’t scare me but I am aware of the huge responsibility it holds. It’s a real honour to dress so many brides for the most important day of their lives.”

How do you start your day? “I start my day with a coffee and a bowl of Granola. I’m a morning person so I’m often up at 5 am and find it hard to stay up past 10 o’clock!!”

What do you do to unwind? “I don’t really unwind. I’m a bit of a workaholic but I do have the odd glass of fizz. Champagne is my favourite tipple.”

Favourite meal? “A beautifully cooked lemon sole is my fave.”

Favourite colour? “Black. It’s pretty much all I wear.”

Favourite mug? “My Cath Kidston giant mug.”

Pet hate? “Things that don’t line up straight – I’m a bit of a perfectionist.”

Are you a dogs or cats person? “Cats! I have 4! They’re my favourite animal!”

Who is your favourite Avenger? Is Iron Man an Avenger?.. if so him as I love Robert Downey Jr.”

Do you have a nickname? My business partner calls me Nevsie!”

Favourite holiday destination? “Italy, New York, anywhere I can enjoy a short break.”

Favourite biscuit? “A bourbon.”

Favourite shoes? “My Valentinos!”

Favourite author? “I don’t have time to read!”

Which is your favourite Quality Street? “The green triangle.”

Coke or Pepsi? “Diet Coke; I’m a little obsessed.”

Do you like Marmite? “I love it!”

Can you cook and if so whats your speciality? “I can follow a recipe but I’m no Nigella.”

Who is the most famous person youve ever met? “I’ve met many celebrities but the only time I felt starstruck was when I was on face-time with Kate Winslet during a fitting.”

Secret crush? “Aiden Turner of course!”

If you could invite four people to dinner who would they be? “Valentino, Joanna Lumley, Graham Norton and Prince Harry.”

Favourite room in the house and why? “My bedroom because I love sleeping.”

What colour is your kitchen? “It’s neutral.”

Favourite household appliance? My Nespresso machine.”

Are you a gardener? “No, but I have a wonderful gardener! I love it because she plants all sorts of beautiful flowers and it’s a lovely surprise when they bloom.”

Can you keep a houseplant alive for more than a month? “Nope – that’s why I need a gardener!”

What do you want for Christmas this year? “Another diamond encrusted ring (I don’t ask for much!).”

What is your proudest moment? Having my children.”

Whats your favourite memory from your wedding? The vows, It was such a romantic moment. I had a winter wedding at Highclere Castle, otherwise known as Downton Abbey, and the setting made the whole experience even more memorable.”

If you werent doing what you do know what would you be doing? “I can’t imagine anything else. It would need to be fashion related.”

If you could change one thing about yourself what would it be? “I would be taller.”

How would you like to be remembered? “For making lots of people happy.”

Happy Birthday To Our Cover Girl Nina Blakemore

Happy Birthday To Our Cover Girl Nina Blakemore

Happy Birthday Nina!

Happy Birthday to our first ever cover girl, the amazingly beautiful Nina Blakemore. A Curve Ambassador for the last 20 years, Nina is now pursuing her Love Curves project, a platform for plus size fashion ideas and support. Read our 2014 interview with Nina when she featured on our first ever magazine cover and learn more about her career, beauty secrets and working with Gok Wan.

Nina Blakemore – Career, life and loves

As an editorial team, we never underestimated how important our first magazine cover would be. We knew exactly what shot we wanted to create about four months before we even got the shooting team together. We also knew Steve Walton was the man to handle the photography and from the moment we met Nina we knew she was the woman we wanted on the cover. For us, Nina epitomises natural beauty and vivacious energy; a confidence to discover and remain true to who you are. If we as a publication in any way influence brides to embrace that spirit on their wedding day then we will consider ourselves a success. We are truly honoured Nina agreed to be the first face of Buckinghams and we are delighted to introduce her as our first Cover Girl.

How did your career begin as a Plus Size Model?

“I started my career working in promotions, corporate hospitality and exhibitions. Unfortunately, I suffered from an eating disorder when I was 18. My weight plummeted and I was around a size 10. I was taken on by a modelling agency after they saw me at the Motor Show on a car stand, but I was always bigger around my hips and thighs and really struggled to keep my weight and shape to the required size. It came as much needed relief when I heard about “plus size” modelling and my agency suggested I took time out, let my body gain its natural shape and then try to break into the plus size modelling world which was just starting to make its mark in the UK –  this proved to be the best decision I ever made!”

What, so far, was the most exciting moment of your career?

“I have had so many exciting moments in my career – every day is different! I love the challenge, adventure and travel that this job provides but most of all, the best positive by far, are the people that I’ve met whilst working in this industry.  I absolutely loved my time working with Gok Wan on ‘How to Look Good Naked’. This programme epitomises everything that I have worked towards as a curvy girl – you don’t have to be a size zero to be gorgeous! I also had the privilege of being signed with one of the top agencies in the World – FORD Models. I lived in NYC for 3 years and worked with some top photographers and clients. It really was a dream come true!”

What tips can you give our brides for when they’re in front of the camera?

“I think the best advice I can give is just to be completely natural. You’ll find it’s these pictures that make the best ones.  Remember, it’s your day, you’ll be looking and feeling a million dollars in the dress of your dreams with your gorgeous partner next to you. Just enjoy every moment and relax – this is what all the hard work was for. Enjoy being with your family and friends and celebrating the day for what it is. The photographer will capture all your beautiful moments for a day to treasure.”


Ian Stuart – The Interview

Ian Stuart – The Interview

The Designer Life

He’s one of the world’s favourite bridal designers renowned for his unashamed use of colour and a seemingly unstoppable passion to create dramatic, show-stopping gowns that wow wedding aisles around the world. Ian Stuart speaks exclusively to Buckinghams about giraffes, Dolly Parton and his now not so secret crush!

Ian tell us a little something about your background.
I was born in the Netherlands to a Dutch Indonesian mother and an English father, so I’m fluent in both languages. I originally set out to be a costume designer, as I’d always loved theatre, but at fashion college I realised I could have a more productive career in bridal wear, which is not so far from costume really! I became creatively frustrated working for other bridal wear labels, so in 2002, after 10 years in NYC, I came back to the UK to launch my own label where I could design how I wanted.

What do you love least about what you do?
Administration, it’s never been my strong point, and there is surprisingly a lot to do with my work.

And what do you love most about what you do?
Seeing the models dressed backstage just before the Fashion show starts, it’s when I really see my work come alive.

Does the responsibility of your business ever scare you?
Yes, of course it’s scary, but I made a decision that this is what I want to do!

Cuvee Rose by Ian Stuart

Cuvee Rose

How do you start your day?
I do my stretch exercises first thing, followed by a coffee and a diazepam.

What do you eat for breakfast?
Coffee and a cigarette.

Are you a morning or night person?
I’m a night person.

What do you to unwind?
White wine, Campari and Real Housewives of Beverley Hills!

Favourite meal?
Lobster and chips (especially if I’m at Hardcore Lobster in Victoria)

Favourite colour?
Orange (Hermes shade!)

Favourite tipple?

Favourite mug?
My fake Versace mug, fabulously tacky but I love it!

Pet hate?
Bad manners

Dogs or cats?

Who is your hero?
Dolly Parton

Do you have a nickname?
My brothers and sisters used to call me Porky, as I was a fat child, however, the tables have turned!

Favourite holiday destination?
Bali, Indonesia

Favourite animal?
Giraffes, because they are tall, elegant and have long eyelashes!

Favourite biscuit?
Jaffa cakes

Favourite shoes?
Converse sneakers

What are you reading at the moment?
Collezioni Haute Couture!

Which is your favourite Quality Street?
Orange crème

Coke or Pepsi?

Do you like Marmite?
Yes I love it!

Can you cook and if so what’s your speciality?
Indonesian food – my mum’s satay sauce recipe is the best!

Who is the most famous person you’ve ever met?
Barbara Streisand. She’s friends with my best friend!

Your secret crush?
The UPS guy!

If you could choose 4 people you’d like to have dinner with who would they be?
Dolly Parton, Paul Nassif, Janice Dickenson and Liberace (if he was alive!)

What is your favourite room in your home?
My house is very modern and sparse, but my Piano Room is full of memorabilia and kitsch junk, so I love to hangout there.

What colour is your kitchen?
Black, white and brick walls.

Favourite household appliance?
My food waste disposal unit!!

Are you a gardener?
Yes I love gardening!

Can you keep a houseplant alive for more than a month?
Yes! For years!!

What do you want for Christmas this year?
I’d like to be on a beach!

What is your proudest moment?
My Flowerbomb design being selected for the V&A Wedding Dress Exhibition.

Flower Bomb wedding dress by Ian Stuart

Flower Bomb by Ian Stuart

What is the absolute ‘must have’ at your wedding?
NO children policy.

If you weren’t doing what you do now, what would you be doing?
I’d be an impressionist – it’s my party trick!

If you could change one thing in the world what would it be?

If you could change one thing about yourself what would it be?
My temper… I’m too passionate!

If you could relive one moment from your life what would it be?
Birth, so I could see what it was like.

If you could go back in time to witness a particular event in history what would it be?
London in the swinging 1960’s.

How would you like to be remembered?

What can brides expect when they choose an Ian Stuart gown?
They will feel as good as they look. Our construction is second to none.



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