Back in January, when speculation of who would be designing the Royal Wedding dress was starting to get really busy, I was lucky enough to visit  Phillipa Lepley – one of those hot on the list of designers favoured to be creating the wedding dress of the century.  And whilst since then, her press office have issued a 'it is definitely not us' statement, my opinion on exactly who will be the one straightening out the train on Catherine's gown on Friday morning, will remain open until all is confirmed :) I asked Phillipa of course, and she told me it wasn't her, explaining how actually, it had been a total nightmare with regards media intrusion and members of the press even rifling through the bins outside her personal home {Phillipa mused that Bruce Oldfield could be the designer….}

For those not in the know, Phillipa Lepley is one of London's leading couture bridal designers – many would argue the leading couture designer of bridal wear in fact.  With the average price tag of a gown sitting comfortably around the £20k mark, Phillipa is your 'high end' designer, favoured largely by the Home Counties girls and those for whose parents, let's face it, money is no issue. 

Phillipa Lepley Wedding Dress

Phillipa has been designing wedding gowns for over 20 years now and her signature style favours feminine, understated elegance with beautiful clever use of exquisite fabrics. Lepley is all about true romance and fairytale, and real wedding dresses that show off off a womans shape to the full.

As I meet Lepley for the first time, I'm greeted by quite a quiet person dressed comfortably all in black, softly spoken and unassuming in character.  She is a beautiful lady with great posture – I wondered briefly if she might have once been a dancer. 

As the morning progresses and we start to talk 'frocks', Phillipa moves into her own, speaking fluently and with great enthusiasm about her designs and of her great pride that everything is made in-house, in England.

I also learn that she personally tries on each of her frocks during the design stages, to ensure they are perfect in cut, fit and finish…  

"Every Bride wants to look her most beautiful on her wedding day – I have a dedicated team and together we will try our utmost to help them attain that dream.

It isn’t about being a slavish follower to fashion trends, after all you want the resulting wedding album to stand the test of passing time, so it is about elegance and simplicity and designs that flatter the individual brides figure.  It is such a rewarding happy journey for me to work alongside a bride to create the perfect design and proportions for her. Style is, after all, about the way you wear it."

Phillipa on the left and me on the right…

Love My Dress Wedding Blog – Photography Copyright (c) 2011, Cat Hepple, Model shots provided by Phillipa Lepley

Phillipa Lepley Meets Blogger Annabel Beeforth from Love My Dress


I got a strong sense of 'family' at Phillipa's London boutique {located conveniently on the Fulham road – number 48}, in that the other two members of staff I met there very excellently represented the Lepley brand and spoke about it with confidence and pride but also genuine enthusiasm; Phillipa has trained her team to understand her design philosophy and become an extension of her 'eye' when it comes to guiding discerning brides to finding the dress that is the most flattering in terms of shape and proportion.

And when it comes to design materials – Phillipa Lepley has access to the best couture silks and laces in the world.  in-built corsetry, and exquisite, unique hand worked embellishment techniques are her specialism – the corsets are designed to cinch the waist in by a slimming 2 inches, enhancing the overall sense of elegance.

"Our couture service is extensive and flexible in terms of design choices, as the dress is made entirely to your measurements from your own personal pattern. The making starts with creating a pattern and making a calico toile. (This is a mock-up of your dress). From this your actual dress will be cut and made in our London based studio. The Couture process typically takes between 6 and 8 fittings, and we like to have a minimum of 6 to 9 months, but we have never been known to turn away a frockless bride!

The cost of having a dress made in this way varies depending on the style and fabrics you choose, and start from around £5000."

One of Phillipa's team sewing detail into a hand-crafted corsage…

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Beautiful sequinned embellishment and pretty rose corsage detail on the right…

Phillipa Lepley Wedding Dress - Love My Dress UK Wedding Blog CHP small pl IMG_2066-2

Client's visiting the Phillipa Lepley store can expect a luxurious 1.5 hours consultation with one of Phillipa's expertly trained design consultants.  The upper part of the boutique is light and airy and full of all of Phillipa's gorgeous gowns, hanging in their resplendence for you to browse through at your leisure – the examples on this page are but a small illustration of the designs I saw on show – each of them just exquisite beyond words in their detail. 

The minimalist style decor inside the Fulham Road store includes various French vintage antiques, including a long distressed wooden counter and a striking vintage chandelier.

Stairs lead down to a large, carpeted and very comfortable private fitting area, which further showcases Phillipa's fine silk veils and accessories – I noticed a necklace by Magpie Vintage sat sparkling on one table nearby…

Visitors to the Fulham Road boutique can also expect to have their sense of smell assaulted with the most beautiful aroma of natural oils…

"Anything with tuberose in, I absolutely love – I'm currently loving 'Balenciaga's new scent…."

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Incredible detail observed on the dresses on show. It really was breathtaking…

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Phillipa Lepley Wedding Dress - Love My Dress UK Wedding Blog

As well as offering a couture service, Phillipa Lepley sell a selection of showroom samples.  Sample wedding gowns are generally in a size 12 and depending on fit and proportion, the in-house couture seamstresses can make alterations.  As the garment is already made,  it typically takes 3-4 fittings to reach the perfect fit, resulting in considerable savings in time and cost.  Sample gowns start from £3900 – which is actually incredible value for a gown that has been designed by, many would argue, London's leading couture bridal wear designer.

Brides looking to meet with Phillipa Lepley for an initial consultation will be handed a £30 fee which is redeemed against the fee of the bridal gown or veil.

Phillipa Lepley Wedding Dress - Love My Dress UK Wedding Blog

When I asked Phillipa what she loved most about working in the wedding industry, she told me…

"getting to work with the worlds most beautiful fabrics, creating innovative very very special embellishments, constantly being creative and making brides very happy…". 

And having met her only an hour prior, even I knew, she meant every single word…

Phillipa Lepley Wedding Dress - Love My Dress UK Wedding Blog

I really enjoyed meeting Phillipa Lepley, and found her to be extremely down to earth and approachable.  She clearly loves and adores every one of her designs and her passion to make Brides look and feel beautiful is very obvious from the moment you meet her.

To find out more, visit www.phillipalepley.com or telephone 020 7590 9771 to arrange to book in to the Phillipa Lepley boutique.

Click here to see a simply beautiful {no, like really beautiful!} Bride wearing Phillipa Lepley on Love My Dress. I would love to see more of the same, gracing these here wedding blog pages :)

Much love all,

Annabel xXx

ps – secretly, I really wish Phillipa Lepley WAS making that dress!

Leave a Comment!

12 thoughts on Phillipa Lepley ~ Love My Dress Meets the Top Couture Bridal Wear Designer…

  1. The first & last dress, totally stunning, (secretly wishing, I could do it all again with a huge budget for my dress!)
    Once again, beautifully written x

  2. Gorgeous post Annabel, really interesting and just lovely! Beautiful photos too :-) really tempted by the existing dresses available and will definitely look into this when the time is upon me ;-) Just beautiful xx

  3. I have just bought a Philippa Lepley sample to wear at my wedding – it is the one with the crystals on the bodice plus matching little jacket pictured above. My wedding is on November 5th so I am picturing it twinkling in all the candlelight on the day.
    I have to say the service in the shop was second to none. Trouble is once you have tried on a Lepley dress…..you can’t go anywhere else.

  4. Got absorbed with reading this piece during my lunch break today & just wanted to say it’s a really interesting read. Obviously the frocks and the pictures of the frocks are completely beautiful, but it’s also really good to read about the process behind making them, the breakdown of the costs and the ethos behind couture wedding gowns. Obviously this is not necessarily the kind of experience that every bride-to-be can afford to have, so it’s lovely to get an insight into it. Thanks!

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