In conversation with Lisa Redman
For 2020, we have partnered with London-based womenswear designer, Lisa Redman, who creates contemporary, bespoke pieces for her clients, including show-stopping wedding dresses and an elegant accessory collection.
Brides who book a celebration at The Gherkin by 29 February 2020 will be in with a chance of winning a pair of her embellished gloves. We spoke with Lisa to find out more about her, her brides, her dresses and her partnership with us.
How did you begin your career as a clothing designer?
I studied textiles at Chelsea College of Art and Design and then following this, worked at Betty Jackson. I then worked for quite a few English designers doing runway shows. The last person I worked for was Elspeth Gibson which was for six years and then 13 years ago, I started my business.
Have you always wanted to design wedding-wear?
Possibly not! I think our designs lend themselves to formal ware as there’s a lot of labour involved in creating the items, so it has got to be for something pretty special and grand. We do lots of in-house hand embellishments which makes the dresses really special – the most special dress you are going to wear is your wedding gown. Having said that, we do use the same techniques and methods to create daywear pieces. At the moment I am probably doing more party wear and we have clients that we look after and dress on a regular basis, so they are here getting pieces made all the time and filling their wardrobes with pretty dresses.
How many people are in your team?
It’s just me and my seamstress, who makes everything in-house and a team of artisans. We create all our pieces using old and traditional methods – the fabric is stretched on a big frame and beaded by hand. We don’t buy embellished fabric; we will draw out a pattern and we will then have it beaded by our amazing beader.
What type of bride do you usually work with?
The one thing all the brides we work with have in common is that they are all fairly creative, they’re all looking for something a little bit different. They tend to have their own vision – they like the top of one dress but the bottom of another. The brides we work with also like to be a part of the journey which means they either have to totally and utterly trust me or have a creative vision to influence the process. It’s a really lovely journey as you get to see the dress evolve and the end result is a dress that fits you perfectly. With a bride they often come in 6-9 months before, some even come in a year before, but we also can turn things around quickly– we have even created a wedding dress in eight weeks!
Do you have any project you are particularly proud of?
Managing to run a small business for 13 years – it’s quite hard. People always ask me that and I never know – I always really like what I am currently working on and the person you are designing the dress for really becomes a part of your life. I have dresses that I have loved the most – there was this one dress a couple of years ago which was dip-dyed pink ombred feathers hanging of it with little crystals and pearls and I loved that dress.
Who would you love to design an outfit for?
The Duchess of Cambridge.
What do you foresee at the wedding trends for 2020?
Our wedding dresses aren’t particularly trend lead; we are more focussed on which silhouettes suit the brides and which fabrics they like, but I think people are really interested in sustainability and I think this will continue in 2020. For us, we ensure our dresses are as sustainably produced as possible – we make everything here. I also think we will be seeing more brides extending the life of their dress through coming back to redesign them. Our brides often return to transform their dresses into more wearable party dress. A bride I worked with had a completely beaded bodice with pearls which was beautiful, with a big, long tuile skirt on the bottom of it and afterwards we took the skirt off and turned it into a cocktail dress with a blue silk foille skirt which she still wears.
What is your favourite thing about designing womenswear?
I really enjoy seeing the brides we work with leave with dresses that make them feel confident on a day that they deserve to feel great. Not long ago we were working with the mother of the bride who was very apprehensive about what she was going to look like however, she said that she felt great on the day and her husband cried when he saw her. Helping people to feel like that is really rewarding.
Tell us more about your partnership with Searcys and your gloves
A pair of my gloves will be offered as a prize for brides booking a wedding function for 100 guests or more at selected Searcys’ venues by 29 February 2020. The gloves are designed by me and then made in the UK by a master glover using nappa leather. It takes longer to qualify as a master glover than it does to become an architect as the patterns are so intricate and there are so many different sizes.
The gloves are then hand embellished by our beading lady – there are not very many people who can bead to her standard. We will also be at The Gherkin Wedding Open Day on 29 February and on-hand to talk to the brides who will have the opportunity to try on the dresses as well as to see the different colours and fabrics and of course, the gloves.