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Hello 2018. It’s certainly going to be a biggie for me so let’s hope it’s a memorable year for you too (for all the right reasons, of course!)

I have been sworn to secrecy for months, but can now FINALLY reveal what 2018 has in store (The Blewcoat store obviously!) for the world of Ian Stuart.

Channel 4 has commissioned a documentary series entitled ‘The Frock Shop’ about my flagship London store, which just happens to be housed in an exquisite Grade One Listed, National Trust building dating back to the 18th Century.

The Frock Shop

The Frock Shop

If you have not yet had the chance to visit The Blewcoat, you’re in for a real treat. The show will access all areas, giving you what I hope will be an honest glimpse into my life, my business and the world of couture fashion.

Viewers will get to know the different characters that make up my trusted team and will be introduced to some of my favourite (and not so favourite) clients and their entourages.

I was so excited to be asked to do the show, but I have to tell you that the 16 weeks of filming was full on. The cameras were with us for up to six days a week so that’s a fair bit of pressure in an already busy life. A lot of fun at times, yet stressful too.

I have no say in how the show will be edited so there is obviously an element of nervousness about opening ourselves up, warts and all. I operate in a glamourous world of high fashion, but I’m hoping that the show will also highlight the amount of work and talent that goes into each collection, each and every dress.

The hardest part was trying to ensure minimum disruption at The Blewcoat – our priority, as always, is to provide a top notch, luxury shopping experience for women with fabulous taste.

The Frock Shop

The Frock Shop

We are small, tight-knit team at The Blewcoat and I’m proud of how we coped with filming on top of back-to-back appointments with clients all wanting the dress of their dreams.

The show will be aired this Spring so look out for it on C4. I have put a lot of faith in the production company and I just hope the series is a fair representation of the Ian Stuart brand and of my loyal and dedicated team. I owe a huge thank you to all my wonderful, crazy clients who so generously agreed to be filmed at their fittings.

The Frock Shop show is my big news for this year, but alongside all that excitement I have been working away on my new collections. All will be revealed soon.

Happy 2018,

Ian x


My latest collections ‘Move Over Darling’ and ‘Le Jardin’ are available to buy in stores as of this month so I’m excited to see how they will be received.

Did I mention that ‘Move Over Darling’ won the award for Best Occasion Wear at this year’s Bridal Buyer Awards?! I’m best known for bridal wear so I was super happy to get this recognition for another string to my bow (although I did win Best Occasion Wear back in 2012 too).

2017 Award to Ian Stuart

People always want to know what inspires each collection and a lot of the time I can’t put my finger on it as I am always subliminally taking on new ideas. I get inspiration from everyday things like wallpaper, or a ceramic tile and of course, I’m always checking out what other people are wearing. It can be the tiniest little detail that gives me the gem of an idea.

Launching a new collection is a mammoth amount of work for my team although the actual designing stage only lasts a couple of weeks. Generally, I sketch out ideas at home so I can listen to different types of music and be surrounded by things that inspire me. I’ve got loads of books that I like to look through and I’m really into this idea that music can alter a person’s mood and influence the creative thinking process. With ‘Le Jardin’, I had been listening to lots of 1960s French music which is frivolous and fun as opposed to something with diva-style attitude!

I sketch anything up to 50 designs for each collection. These are all made up as samples and then we have what is known as a ‘line review’ to decide which ones should make the final cut – usually around 25 pieces.

Even after the line review process is complete, I’ll still be making adjustments to the patterns as I’m liable to change my mind once I actually see the design in the flesh on a real body. There is still time to make tweaks before the dresses hit the shops and I’m an absolute perfectionist as you can imagine.

For each collection, there is an industry launch before the focus turns to the photo shoot; the models and backdrops are all carefully chosen to emulate the overall vibe of the collection.

As the name suggests, ‘Le Jardin’ is very floral and whimsical (think butterflies and meadow flowers). Veils are very much a thing at the moment and they perfectly complement the dreamy, romantic dresses.

It’s not all sweetness and light though. Have you seen the black bridal gown from ‘Le Jardin’? It’s not one for your traditional bride, although it looks sensational on. I think the black is stunning and makes a real statement for a woman adventurous in her style. I’m known for experimenting with colour as I don’t think brides should be restricted to just white or ivory.

Black wedding dress by Ian Stuart

The reaction to ‘Move Over Darling’ has so far been great. It has a retro feel with lots of mid-length dresses, hence the Doris Day theme. Mothers of the Bride/Groom have traditionally worn a short jacket over a dress so I wanted to give them a bit more choice. For those who prefer to have their arms covered, this collection has lots of lace sleeved options and also some frock coats as an alternative to the conventional shorter jacket. There are sleeveless dresses too and some with a matching shawl which fits with the retro 60s look and is particularly flattering on the arms without being too covered up.

As you would expect from me, ‘Move Over Darling’ has a lot of colour – mainly pastel shades but also some metallic colours which can really lift the dress from every-day to special occasion wear.  In contrast to the pastel tones, there are some bolder print fabrics, including an all over floral dress which is one of my favourites and a polka dot print which is fun and frivolous – perfect for a day at the races or to stand out from the crowd at a wedding.

Until next time,

Ian x


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