With the ethos that ‘beauty is authenticity’, it’s no surprise that Lucia Silver is dedicated to working closely with budding brides, creating gorgeous avant garde designs that, in Lucia’s words, ‘reflect the power and individuality of the modern-day woman’.
As creative design director of The State of Grace, Lucia has brought a slice of London fashion to the Cotswolds, with the aim to inspire brides to embrace their femininity, working closely with her clients to create the bridal dress of their dreams.
Using only the finest British, French and Italian fabrics, and with every piece meticulously hand-finished, Lucia’s couture designs are custom-made to ensure each woman can walk down the aisle wearing an outfit that’s genuinely one-of-a-kind.
Giving SoGlosWeddings and our readers an insight into her stunning range, not to mention her incredible honeymoon and hen weekend destination in Marrakech, prepare to feel inspired, as we meet the designer who’s been hailed as ‘an arbiter of feminine chic’.
‘There wasn’t a particularly intentional move into bridal; it was more an evolution of a creative business that was doing something that no other bridal business was offering – an entirely comprehensive head-to-toe design and styling service.
I think that, as getting married has become more glamorous, more free and less conventional, things were bound to move towards red carpet glamour and couture, because that’s what gives you licence to do such amazing things with dresses.
It’s also incredibly exciting for me, because instead of pulling out a palette for brides where they would typically be given – if they’re lucky – the choice of a dress in white or cream, with our creative production there are more than 300 colours – that might sound overwhelming, but the point is that you can have whatever you want!
‘And that felt, particularly when we were starting, quite revolutionary and exciting – especially because for a lot of women, white simply doesn’t suit them! So that’s another thing; it’s really rewarding to suddenly see the precision a bride and designer can together achieve. A colour that could wash you out suddenly brings you alive – these delicate oysters and nudes, pale greens and aqua slate blue silk dresses we were offering were bringing out the best in every bride.
And with The State of Grace we never repeat a gown, and we know that every woman going out there is wearing something that perfectly expresses her. Which is how it should be on your wedding day!
I don’t believe there’s anyone else doing what we’re doing in the Cotswolds with these avant garde designs… and I hope many of them start to.
‘I feel that when working with brides, it’s all about honesty. With bespoke dresses you’re constantly making one-offs. You can’t stock for all sizes and designs because anything is possible, so you start with the principals of certain ideas and work together to create something from it.
The journey is very celebratory, but ultimately pretty personal and an intimate one where women feel very comfortable, so they’re able to discuss exactly what they want and also what they do and don’t like about their bodies. And then once I understand this, we can move onto designing and creating from a clear and positive perspective – it’s fabulous!
I love that I can have integrity about what I do, not only because I want to, but because my business lends itself to it. I don’t have to sell the ‘dress that’s in the collection’ – we can make anything.
I’ve never needed to say ‘that colour really suits you’ when it doesn’t, because we can make the dress in any colour. I love that, and make that very clear with clients that the endeavour is to create the most beautiful dress possible, uniquely for her.
And we don’t have to stop until that point.
‘I came up with quotes for my website, all written by brilliant women! The first one, written by yours truly, came from an interview when I was asked: ‘how would you define beauty?’ and I said ‘Beauty is Authenticity’.
Over the years of working with every conceivable form of female, I could see that no matter how ostensibly, aesthetically, classically beautiful a woman may be, if she’s uncomfortable with herself, it quickly loses the allure.
Whereas there have been other women I’ve adored working with, who do not conform to the aesthetic ideal – perhaps larger and lusher and enjoying their bodies. This comfort and naturalness is so beautiful…
And that’s where I realise more and more that what I do is (notwithstanding creating, I hope, beautiful designs), to bring ‘her’ to her most authentic self.
That’s ultimately the most important thing that I do.
‘It’s all by appointment so we would speak to a bride in some detail first and then offer a free consultation. Generally, it depends what stage the bride is at. Sometimes she’ll have an idea already about the type of shape or lace, or whatever, and sometimes she’ll have none! Either is great.
Sometimes the bride may have a fixed idea before trying on various designs. Then I’ll suggest something, and she’ll say, ‘I’d never have chosen this, thank goodness you’ve suggested it, I had no idea this would suit me so well!’
Trying on lots of things is part of it, without overwhelming and confusing the bride. But the excitement comes from the storytelling and transformation that we’re able to do. It can go so far beyond the dress – we design exquisite capes, back jewels, hair adornments and more, and with these you can tell a real story.
When a woman is having a long wedding, there can many different elements to her outfit. Most bridal stores focus on the dress, but you can do so much with a pretty little crystal headdress, a belt or jewellery to adorn the bride and the dress. That’s something we do exceptionally.
‘There’s a lovely marriage between Dar Jaguar, my riad hotel in Marrakech and The State of Grace couture house… the idea came about because brides were saying to me time and again they didn’t enjoy all these same hen dos and that there was nothing stylish on offer…
I was happily recommending stylish restaurants for them to celebrate in London, and then thought ‘hang on a minute’. Dar Jaguar had newly opened, and then the Sex and the City movie came out and I thought, “I think I have just the place in exotic Marrakech!”
‘The women that I come into contact with want a good rest, some amazing memories and a little suntan before the wedding, as well as quality time with their girlfriends. Marrakech is amazing – it’s only three hours away and they can have a dream home away from home that is all theirs to enjoy for the weekend!
Dar Jaguar sleeps 10 (further accommodation can be arranged) and a personal itinerary of recommended activities and services can be designed and arranged especially.
Massages, spa and hammam treatments (oriental cleansing ritual), shopping in the souk, cooking, yoga and belly dancing lessons, camel riding, excursions to the desert, Atlas Mountains and more. Then of course, there’s the candlelit 1001 Night’s Hen Banquet on Dar Jaguar’s stunning rooftop.
If you go out as a group of hens, it’s like your home. On one evening alone there’s a gorgeous hen banquet where you get three delicious courses (and you can design the menu), entertainment, henna tattooing, fire eaters, and we include booze too.
There is an irresistible package for a group of ten or more hens, which includes having Dar Jaguar all to yourself for three nights plus you also have four members of staff taking care of you, a private chef, transfers from the airport, a welcome tea ceremony, two half-day private guided tours AND the hen banquet with entertainment all included. And that’s only £249 per person!
People look at it and think it’s going to be a fortune… but it isn’t!
The State of Grace showroom is located in Cheltenham. Lucia accepts only two to three commissions each month, with prices for made-to-measure dresses starting at £2,750.
Tuesday 20 February 2018
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