We’re delighted to feature an interview with couture designer Emma Hunt, we chat to Emma about her business Emma Hunt Couture Bridalwear and her career as a designer…
Tell us about Emma Hunt Couture Bridalwear what inspired you to set your business up?
Emma Hunt Couture is my bespoke wedding gown business in which I work with clients on a one-to-one basis to create elegant, classic styles with exquisite detailing for truly timeless pieces designed to make a lasting impression. I grew up in the coastal village of Walberswick in Suffolk and had the amazing fortune to be taught to sew by my Aunty when I was nine. Armed with my granny’s sheets, pebbles from the beach, my mother’s old saucepan and some pots of dye, I took the first tentative steps into fashion design.
Later, having graduated from college with a BA Honors Degree in Fashion, I continued to improve my skills by making clothes, not only for myself, but for family and friends, too. In 1997, after many years of designing as a hobby, I finally decided to start up my own business. Combining my love for fashion and an awareness of garment construction, I designed and made a small collection of wedding dresses and thus, the Emma Hunt label was born. Previous experience of working in the hospitality industry taught me invaluable lessons about customer satisfaction and I have always worked very hard to provide the same high standards of personal service for my clients.
What do you enjoy most about having your own business?
I love working with my clients on such a close basis – I really get to know them and feel such a part of their wedding experience, which is a real honour. This is so valuable for my work as I can interpret their personalities through their dresses and it’s so exciting to help someone create their dream dress – I wouldn’t be able to have this lovely relationship with my clients if I was working for somebody else.
Can you tell us a little about your training?
I am a self-taught bridal designer with a BA Honours degree in Fashion from Kingston. I poured over lots of books on design techniques during my studies and loved visiting the V&A museum to peruse the costume gallery and see up close all the amazing details and embellishments on display. I found so much inspiration there and I only wish I still had the time to go to the V&A as much as I’d like now!
How do you go about creating your designs, and where do you feel your inspiration comes from?
I love looking to vintage references to inform my designs, and then working these in alongside contemporary silhouettes and features. Vintage movie starlets are a constant source of inspiration, such as Lauren Bacall and Hedy Lamarr, both great examples of ladies who made the most of their figures and relished wonderful detailing. I then work closely with my clients to find out what they are looking for in their dress, how they wish to feel, what their day and evening plans are etc… and design a bespoke piece to perfectly fit in around all these factors.
Which designers inspire you?
I am inspired by the masters of couture such as Dior and Valentino, both iconic designers of the 20th century who used the cleverest of cuts and tailoring in their designs to elevate a woman’s shape. I really appreciate what Raf Simmons has done with Dior since taking the helm last year as he has executed classic couture techniques, such as embroidery and applique, in a very modern way to create pieces that are both exquisitely beautiful and yet one can imagine how effortless they would feel to wear, something that I aspire to in my work.
What is the most unusual wedding dress you have been asked to design for a client?
I mostly do fairly classic pieces, but perhaps a little different are the coloured dresses we have done, such as one in delicate silver satin and organza that was created for a client who was getting married for the second time and didn’t want to wear white again. We also made a beautiful red dress for an English bride with Indian heritage – she wanted something that fused both English and Indian traditions so we made her a fab red satin dress with lots of beautiful coloured beading on the bodice and a soft flowy chiffon overskirt.
Do you have any predictions for trends in bridal dresses for 2014/15?
I think we will see more of an emphasis on the choice of fabrics – I’m starting to see a trend now for my clients to hanker after a dress that feels as amazing as it looks. As the definition of luxury changes, my ladies are after fabrics that feel sumptuous and exude glamour, such as silk, crepe and fluid satins, all of which feel heavenly to wear and give an added shot of confidence to the wearer.
What do you think is the most important piece of advice to give a bride as she begins to think about the design and style of her wedding dress?
Many brides have a specific style or idea of what they want when they start to search for their wedding dress; however the most important advice I can offer is to keep an open mind. What you thought you were looking for might not be the best style or fabric for you after all, and this is where I work with my clients to use my expertise and experience to offer alternative ideas or solutions. For example I can advise on the right tone and weight of fabric to suit different frames and colourings – these are the little things that might be overlooked and can truly be the difference between simply wearing a beautiful dress and you looking your radiant, gorgeous best in a dress that works in harmony with your unique characteristics.
Category: Fashion & Bling