If someone would have told me how popular Flowerbomb was going to be when I first designed it, I wouldn’t have believed them, and if they told me that dress would be exhibited at the V&A, I probably would have slapped them for trying to delude me into thinking such a thing was possible. (I equate it as the bridal equivalent of winning the x-factor.)
I don’t shy away from the fact that I love and am inspired by historical costume, theatre, and any type of dress that falls into the category of ‘is it to much?’ (No is always the answer in my mind!)
So, in 2010, when the lacy boho mood dominated bridal fashion, which is obviously not my forte*, (believe me, I’ve made some chiffon disasters in my time!) I worried that my designs wouldn’t appeal to brides any more. Instead of trying to mould myself into something I am not, I thought ‘f**** it’! I’ll make the most outrageous dress with as many decorations on as possible. And the result? One of my best selling and favourite dresses of all time!
Flowerbomb was the star dress of the Revolution Rocks collection, so when it came to planning the photo shoot for it, we needed to find a theme that would complement this theatrical mood. It took about five minutes to decide ‘Marie Antoinette’! I’d longed to do a shoot that embodied that opulence of this ear, and I finally had the perfect dress to do it.
Photo Credit: Leigh Johnson
We took inspiration from the movie where Kirsten Dunst stars as the notorious Queen, creating beautiful scenes that looked like moments in a period film.
A chance meeting between my assistant and a staff member of the V&A (at amateur dramatics!) led to me meeting with Edwina Ehrman, who was curating ‘Wedding Dresses 1775-2014’. I showed her my work, and she immediately wanted Flowerbomb in the exhibition that told the story of the evolution of wedding dress design.
I then had to wait for two years, and keep it a secret, until the opening of the exhibition, (and for those who know me, yes, that was difficult, and yes, it probably slipped our after a glass of wine once of twice!) When the night finally came, I really had to pinch myself. I used to go to museums as a fashion student for inspiration, and now I was part of its history, and inspiring others.
And if that wasn’t enough to make me feel proud of myself, Edwina loved the Marie Antoinette photoshoot so much, she included a picture from the campaign in her book.
You can buy her book here.
So Flowerbomb will be on coffee tables and bookshelves long after I put down my pencils!
I’ve been so delighted in seeing so many brides get married in an outrageous dress like Flowerbomb, and had my career highlight because of it. I took a creative risk at the time when I designed it, but it paid off. It restored my confidence in feeling that no matter what trend are hot or not in bridal, there will alsoway be the ‘Ian Stuart-Bride‘, and she wants a show stopping, look at me, diva bitch dress! (A la Daphne Guinness style, not Naomi Campbell diva strop!)
Moral of the store: Amazing things happen when you stay true to who you are!
*For the record: I am not adverse to the lacy, boho look, and I think brides who rock it look gorgeous. I am just more of a flowers, bows and sequins man!