Bringing Hand Embroidery & Embellishment Together With Traditional Kiltmaking
To set the scene, my career in textiles began in embroidery. I interned then worked for Hand & Lock, a 250 year old atelier based in Fitzrovia, London. I was lucky enough to work on projects for the likes of Victoria Beckham to Arsenal FC, Burberry to the Queen's Household Cavalry - it was an honour to work there, in an environment brimming with talent and steeped in history. I completed my BA(Hons) Textiles degree at The University of Edinburgh as an embroidery specialist, achieving a first class degree and winning a number of prestigious awards for my efforts - namely, the Hand & Lock Prize for embroidery. Embroidery is where I started, my first true passion, it shaped me as both a designer and a hard worker with an immense attention to detail, and it will never disappear from my life despite my career taking a turn in a different direction, which I am, some how, even more driven by.
With that said...on a few occasions, I have brought the two worlds, of kiltmaking and tartan together with embroidery and couture. Most recently, I asked myself, what hasn't been done before? And the answer was...why not turn tradition on it's head and have the bride wear a kilt to her wedding...?
The Bridal Kilt
An entirely handmade Duchess Satin kilt, tailored to the same exacting standards as any mens, wool kilt would be. The finer details have been modified to fit a beautiful wedding day - the fringe has been replaced with eyelash lace, the pleats and apron are embellished with layers of subtle floral embroidery with delicate beads to add a hint of sparkle. This was the most challenging kilt of my career to make - the cloth is hard to work with at the best of times, finding the right balance of embroidery along with striking movement as the pleats swing open had to be thought out to prevent it from becoming a "costume". Equally, the kilt couldn't be marked out as would usually be done because of the unforgiving nature of satin. Everything was done by eye from a place of much practice, knowledge of tailoring and educated guessing.
Despite the amount of consideration, concentration and hard work...the results speak for themselves...
Click through the slideshow below to view more of the final outcome of The Bridal Kilt:
This is a style and project that will be taken in many directions over the years. As more and more women take to wearing kilts, and defy the hardened traditions of highlandwear, the scope to push kilt wearing into the bridal market is promising. It must be done, thoughtfully, sophisticatedly and beautifully to truly give the fusion justice. Watch this space...
Very special thanks to:
Rose & Julien - Models & Photography, Editing
Nathan A. Ross - Photography
Gordon Nicolson Kiltmakers - Highlandwear
Kudos Bridal - Shoes & Top
Riddles Court - Location
The Stockbridge Flower Company - Bouquet & Buttonholes