Monday, November 16, 2015

Interview With Leading British Bridal Designer Andrea Hawkes

There are many aspects of my role as Editor of Style & the Bride that I enjoy, but what I love most of all is showcasing some of the talented individuals who are part of the industry I am so passionate about, which is of course bridal. Andrea Hawkes is without question immeasurably talented. When I asked her to describe her style, she said that they ‘strive to become synonymous with timeless, wearable and well tailored designs.’ If somebody was to ask me to encapsulate the look of her wedding dresses in a few words, I would say ‘elegantly modern and incredibly chic.’

Andrea Hawkes got her first taste of the world of bridal when she worked part time in a bridal boutique in St Albans. As a result of this, she then did a fashion degree and went on to work for some leading British bridal designers. She unofficially launched Andrea Hawkes when she took on a studio and started working on designs and prototypes. After a period working on a collection and making some bespoke dresses for selected clients, they officially launched in January 2015. Their boutique is located in Clerkenwell in London.

Andrea Hawkes

I adore the simplicity of this ‘Amber’ dress by Andrea Hawkes

Style & the Bride caught up with Andrea Hawkes to talk to her amongst other things her new occasion wear range, her dream celebrity client and where she finds her inspiration from.

Andrea Hawkes
The Andrea Hawkes boutique is located in Clerknewell in London.

Interview with Andrea Hawkes

If somebody was to choose you to make their wedding dress, what can they expect in terms of fittings etc?

We offer different services for our gowns, which are tailored to the individual and their dress. The first is our collection dresses, they are made to a standard UK size, which may require very slight tweaks to the individual bride. The second option is a made to measure version of one of our collection gowns, with full or part toile prototype to ensure the perfect fit. This is often carried out with more fitted dresses that require a more tailored finish. The final option is fully bespoke with individual design, this may be an adaptation of one of our base shapes and is fully made to measure as the pattern is created and designed. Each option has a slightly different schedule of fittings, but a made to measure toile approach will involve between 5-10 fittings depending on the individual and be carried out over a 6-9 month period.

What kind of clients do you attract?

We attract a mix of clients in a really nice way. We certainly have clients who have an appreciation of quality in terms of fabric and finishes, clients who are fashion forward and want a contemporary version of a classic shape dress. Some of our brides are city weddings with high flying careers and others are having countryside weddings with large families. There really isn’t a kind, which is great for meeting interesting and inspiring people.

Andrea Hawkes

The beautiful ‘Stella’ by Andrea Hawkes. Andrea attracts a wide range of clients to her Clerknewell boutique.

I understand you have a bridal collection for brides to choose from but you can also make bespoke one off gowns? Is that correct? If a bride to be wanted you to create a bespoke gown for her, is she able to offer her thoughts on the look/style etc?

Certainly, we offer our full collection made to standard UK sizes or made to measure, but we also work on one off designs with clients. This will commonly be based on one of our base shapes from the collection and adapted and designed with the client’s ideas and requirements. We are able to offer design and fitting guidance during the process and work with the bride to ensure we meet their expectations, desired finish and fit.

Please talk me through the fabrics you use…

All our pieces are made using 100% natural fabrics, European silks and French lace. We use a mix of different silks and finishes and many of our fabrics are interchangeable across the collection. Some brides prefer matt finishes or lighter silks.

Andrea Hawkes

The oh so pretty ‘Floe’ skirt and ‘Wllow’ top by Andrea Hawkes.

What does your new capsule collection consist of?

Our new capsule collection, which is available from our boutique, consists of four new shapes, which are designed less fitted and more flowing. They are all created using lighter fabrics and give flexibility with options such as sashes, cap sleeves and lace panels. They are all born from designs we have worked on with individual brides, inspiring us to create a capsule collection that sits with our other gowns but gives good options to our brides.

I understand you will soon be launching occasion wear? Is this aimed at the mother of the bride and wedding guests?

Leading up to the Christmas season we have introduced some shapes in colours to promote our occasion wear. The dresses are not directly aimed at the mother of the bride or guests but would certainly lend themselves to both. It is something we will continue to expand on with more ready to wear garments, so for now they are available to someone who has an occasion leading up to Christmas and New Years Eve and wants something classic but extra special. We can make these to standard UK sizes and will work with the individual on colour choices and any design preferences.

Andrea Hawkes

If you are looking for occasion wear, Andrea Hawkes has some stylish dresses to choose from.

If a bride to be wanted you to design dresses for herself, her mother and the bridesmaids, is this possible?

We are always excited to work with brides on designing one off pieces. It can be very inspiring and we are able to offer guidance on the designs and the technical finishing and shape. Its an exciting prospect for any bride to know her dress is completely unique and they have been involved with the design and fit process.

Where do you find your inspiration from?

From everything! Sounds extremely broad but its true, I cannot pin point individual things but a collation and collection of many things. Its great to pick up on inspiration each day and then put all the pieces together. This includes working with brides each and everyday and also my AH team, we are a creative bunch and have different walks in life, this is a great melting pot for inspiration and ideas.

If you could design a dress for any A-list star, who would it be and why?

Keira Knightly would be great! I think some of our sleek bias cut dresses would look great on her. One day…!




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