From bridal designer to MOB extraordinaire;
10 years ago, Ian Stuart launched his own bridal wear label, after a decade designing for commercial labels in NYC. He was tired of restricting his creativity to appease the girl next door. He wanted to design for modern brides who yearned for something different. His collection was an instant success, with the dresses in demand from brides around the world. Clearly, brides were ready for a change.
It didn’t take long before calls from exasperated mother came in, desperately searching for an outfit that complimented her daughter’s non-traditional Ian Stuart wedding dress. Cries of ‘I don’t want to look frumpy’ ‘I’m a trendy mom’ ‘I can’t find anything that suits my personality’ ‘Everything I’ve seen is boring’ were repeated again and again.
Ian began to create bespoke outfits for these mums, he loved the challenge of designing for a different age group, with different needs and body shapes. After many commissions, Ian saw there was an obvious need for trendy occasion wear.
In 2008, Ian Stuart-London was launched and was picked up by the most prestigious special occasion wear boutiques in the UK, and fashion starved mums finally had a designer to go to.
Who wears Ian Stuart?
Due to the unique story of how the label began, Ian has always known that the type of mum attracted to his aesthetic is quite a distinctive kind of woman, but it was opening his own flagship store in 2014 that gave him a real understanding of the women buying his designs and what she wants.
He describes ‘The Ian Stuart woman is young in spirit, aged 35 or 95, she won’t be dressing like an old lady. Steering clear of the norm, she doesn’t want to wear the mother of the bride uniform. Not afraid to make heads turn, she makes the most of her best assets and hides her worst, she embraces the amazing fit, walks with confidence and feels damn sexy!’
The hidden secret to his success:
Ian believes that confidence is what makes a women truly beautiful. His prerogative with his occasion wear collection is to make women feel confidant and emanate a sophisticated Sophia-Loren style-sexiness.
Over the years, Ian has refined his collection to what it is today, concentrating on flattering fit and covering up problem areas of the body, while keeping the designs hot, young and sexy. With hidden corsetry inside the bodice, every woman is given a nipped in waist, which Ian says is the key to feeling fabulous. He admits to getting emotional at the moment when a mum sees herself in one of his designs for the first time, ‘I see the same glimmer in her eyes as that of a child on Christmas day, a mix of joy, excitement and disbelief, rolled into one euphoric moment. Many of the women I work with haven’t seen their waist in years, or question if they still have one. My outfits help them to recognise the beautiful body that is always there, it has just been hiding behind baggy jersey tops’
Ian’s expert tips for Mums:
Alterations can make the world of difference. I always advise buying the size that fits the biggest part of your figure, whether that’s your bust, waist or hips, and having the rest of the dress tailored to fit you. Your figure is unique, and such a special outfit should be altered that way.
Spend some time in a dress when you are considering buying it, especially if you love it, but it’s not quite right. Talk through with your stylist where it feels comfortable and where doesn’t, discuss alterations there and then, more is possible than you may initially think. A nip in the neckline, a pinch in the back, creating a sleeve, tweaking the hem length and manipulating a silhouette can transform that dress with doubts into your dream outfit.
Find out what the colour story of the wedding is before you decide what colour to wear. Ask about flowers, bridesmaids, brides a groomsmen, it looks much better in photography if there is a correlation between the wedding party. There is nothing worse than standing out like a sore thumb. If in doubt, neutrals such as silver, gold, and platinum always work well.
Consider the wear ability of an outfit as well as the wedding you are buying it for. Could you wear the dress on its own for another occasion? Could you wear the shrug or wrap with white jeans?
And take sunglasses with you… nothing says glamour like big shades!