Monday, 19 July 2010

STYLISA talks to Stewart Parvin, Bridal Designer and Royal Couturier

We were lucky enough to get the chance to interview Stewart Parvin, one of Britain’s most critically-acclaimed bridal designers, awarded a Royal Warrant of Appointment to Her Majesty The Queen in 2007.

Stewart Parvin

How did your fashion career begin?
From the age of 4 I knew the difference between Chanel and Yves Saint Laurent, and used to advise my mother on what to wear.  After graduating from Edinburgh College of Art. I went onto work for the fabuluous London couturier Donald Campbell, and then I moved to be senior evening wear designer for a large manufacturer designing many difference collections – however the world of couture was where I longed to be, and that led me to start up my own label.

When did you launch your first collection and what was the inspiration behind it?
I launched my first collection in 1995 with the opening of my own shop in Motcomb Street, it was a fusion of nautical stripes and gilt buttons, and summer garden party florals with crisp tailoring. Very Audrey / Jackie O!

How did you come to be the Queens official dressmaker?
Prior to the golden jubilee I was approached by Angela Kelly the Queens senior dresser who was looking for a fresher lighter more contemporary approach to the wardrobe of Her Majesty. First of all I submitted sketches and swatches, of which she chose 5 outfits including her famous pale blue cobweb lace dress which has been seen on many occasions and featured in the Buckingham Palace exhibition.

STYLISA MD Lisa Maynard-Atem with Stewart Parvin

What have been the highlights of your career to date?
The night the queen wore the blue cobweb dress was the first time she’d worn one of my outfits and it received huge international attention as the lights went out and she descended the staircase in candlelight. More recently showing my 2011 collection at the White Gallery in a catwalk show was very exciting – the venue was the stunning Saatchi Gallery, and it was fantastic to be able to showcase the collection in such a prestigious venue.

Is there a typical Stewart Parvin client or do they vary?
there isn’t a typical stewart Parvin client, but the one thing they all do have in common is confidence, sophistication and an understanding of beautifully fitting clothes.

Can you tell us about you Autumn/Winter 2010 collection?
AW2010 will bring an exciting mix of crisp suits in metallic glitter tweeds, sharp pant suits in muted flannels, and sparkling evening gowns embellished with swarovski crystals.

Who are your favourite designers?
My favourite designers are Valentino for his glamour, Givenchy for his chic, and Oscar De La Renta for his park avenue style.

Is there anyone that you would like to dress?
Queen Rania of Jordan, Carey Mulligan and Reece Witherspoon would be top of my list as they not only possess great beauty but they have great individual style

Strangers in the Night
Stewart Parvin Bridal Collection, Spring/Summer 2010

You have recentlty relaunched the Stewart Parvin website - do you have any other plans to expand the brand?
Our boutique is about to close for a major refurbishment which will be hugely exciting, there are more exciting developments on the website and we’re just planning to show the bridal collection in New York to re-establish our US presence.

Have you embraced the phenomenon that is social media yet?
With the development of our website we will soon be starting a blog – which will provide a more interactive experience for visitors to the website.

What in your opinion is the essence of true style?
The essence of true style is individuality and self confidence – combined with an intimate knowledge of fashion trends, and knowing when to embrace them or to stay well clear!

And finally, what advice would you give to up and coming designers?
Prepare to be truly dedicated, even more be prepared for a long hard slog!!

Stewart Parvin website:

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