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!
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!
Lobster and chips (especially if I’m at Hardcore Lobster in Victoria)
Orange (Hermes shade!)
My fake Versace mug, fabulously tacky but I love it!
Dogs or cats?
Who is your hero?
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?
Giraffes, because they are tall, elegant and have long eyelashes!
What are you reading at the moment?
Collezioni Haute Couture!
Which is your favourite Quality Street?
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.
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.