On my rare days off, I love to unwind by watching classic films and musicals. In the 1961 movie version of West Side Story, the character Maria sings ‘I Feel Pretty!’ while prancing about with pastel coloured tulle. I saw this and knew instantly that it would be the name of my next bridalwear collection.
The bridal market has grown hugely since I started out. There are almost too many labels for brides to choose from, particularly now that the High Street has entered the market. Some bridalwear collections include a vast array of dresses – often variations on a similar theme – so I made a conscious effort to counter this trend with ‘I Feel Pretty!’
Taking Broadway musicals as my inspiration, this 2020 collection is a showstopper that really captures the essence and theatre of my signature styling. Expect luxurious fabrics, an array of pretty colours and exquisite detailing crafted from caviar pearl beading, deco inspired sequins, shredded tulle textures and sea shells embroidery.
I originally sketched up at least 45 designs, but these have been edited down to just 24 pieces. Each dress is completely unique and has its own reason for being included. There’s a marked contrast between the daringly dark mauve gown, the pale grey, strapless dress embellished with oversized roses and the slinky, beaded number that has a 1920s Flapper vibe. All so different and memorable in their own way.
As always, I’ve tried to cover all bases with a design for every possible wedding scenario, whether it’s a beach, registry office, cathedral or country castle. There are romantic ball gowns with a twist, cute tea length dresses, SJP-inspired frills and more understated, slim-fitting gowns. Traditional this is not!
The collection was unveiled for the first time at London Bridal Fashion Week which gave me a good feel for how it is going to be received. It’s reassuring when buyers tell me that the designs stand apart but are so obviously identifiable as mine. The response was brilliant and Ian Stuart stockists have already placed their orders ready for next year’s brides.
Many of the ‘I Feel Pretty!’ gowns have detachable elements such as sleeves, jackets and trains, creating two looks from day into evening. Matching veils have also been specifically designed to complete the perfect look. Custom changes are available, as well as plus sizes and made-to-measure.
This collection will hit the stores from October and I can’t wait to hear what you think. 2020 brides are going to be spoilt for choice!
We want to know your story, how did you meet?
We first met when I was a senior in High School and he was in college and were friends for about 5 years. We reconnected when I moved to San Diego, he was living there already. We started dating and quickly knew we were meant to be!
How did he propose?
He proposed in the jewellery store. I’m pretty nosey so I think he knew that was the only way to surprise me. I had found a ring a while before that I loved but it had been discontinued. I had felt discouraged going to look at rings that day until he pulled me over to look at single glass display case filled with roses and one ring… the one I fell in love with! Then he got down on one knee and proposed! I was completely surprised. It was perfect!
How did you know that your Ian Stuart Dress was the right choice for your big day?
I randomly walked into Posh one day and saw it on a mannequin and had to try it on. I knew right away, it was meant to be my dress! I was probably at Posh for almost four hours standing in the dress!
Was there a theme/colour theme at your wedding?
We had an Alice in Wonderland theme for our wedding with very bold jewel tones.
Did you incorporate any specific traditions in your wedding, such as ‘something old, something new, borrowed and blue’?
The main tradition I incorporated was something old, For something old I had a brooch bouquet made of family heirloom pieces, it was really special! For something blue I wore blue shoes.
Do you have any advice to share with women who are about to embark on this incredible journey of planning their wedding and selecting their wedding dress?
Less is more! You don’t need to go to every boutique or try on every dress, when it’s the one you will know… You might try on one or ten! The same goes for all of the wedding planning, don’t put too much stress on yourself. It all comes together in the end!
Ian Stuart Bride: Amanda Oberhaus
Groom: Matthew Oberhaus
Bridal Gown: Flowerbomb, Revolution Rocks Collection
Boutique: Posh Bridal Couture Minneapolis
Wedding Date: 8/10/12
Location: San Diego, CA at The Ultimate Skybox