Situated as you are in the heart of London, in Knightsbridge, how do you think Caroline Castigliano stands out from other wedding designers?
Firstly, most of our contemporaries have moved their production offshore to save money, it is unique to continue to create gowns in the United Kingdom. To offer true quality handcrafted dresses in luxury fabrics made to measure you need the production here in the UK where you can oversee technicians to create gowns to the finest detail and precision.
What encouraged you to pursue a career in bridal design and did someone close to you inspire you? I have read that you initially started designing an active sportswear range for women in Florida; why the change to bridal wear?
I had made clothes since I was very young, my mother started to teach me when I was about five years old. When I took the opportunity to go to the USA and design active sportswear I was interested in business, marketing, and it was incredible that the first line I created got bought by the biggest retailers in the world.
I moved to Miami to run the company but after a few years realized that I wanted something more than designing active sportswear. I moved back to the UK and put my mind to thinking of a business that would fulfill all my talents, and that was bridal wear.
Caroline, I know that you have worked with some very famous people, who in particular has inspired and excited you the most?
I am inspired all the time by different people, I couldn’t say one person was more important to me than another as everyone has something different to offer. I just keep an open mind and find I learn the most from listening to people and their life journeys. I am, of course, very lucky to have been able to meet and dress some very interesting and successful people.
I see that you have also worked with Jasper Conran. How did this experience develop your career and what influence did Jasper have?
I love Jasper – he is so talented – I met him over 20 years ago and we did a collection Jasper Conran for Caroline Castigliano, it was a huge success.
I think by meeting Jasper and working with him on the project gave me the confidence that I could do this alone – six months later I launched my own label and the rest is history.
With a flagship store in Knightsbridge and over 50 stores located internationally, what is next for Caroline Castigliano?
I want to turn the brand into more of a lifestyle brand and sell many more lines and products. I am launching a new website in August and will be selling a Little Black Dress Collection on line as well as accessories – over the next two years I would like to really broaden the product range.
How have bridal wear designs and styles changed over the last 20 years?
There have been massive changes in design over the last 20 years mainly because you can now marry anywhere you like – on the beach, in a castle – so brides feel they can be more risqué with their dress. I still design dresses that have a strong classic feel but with a contemporary modern touch.
My recent 2016 ‘Passion’ collection is adding deep plunging necklines and very low backs which 20 years ago would have been unheard of.
What would be your top 5 tips for brides before buying their dress?
Follow your dream – imagine your reception once you have chosen your venue and think about walking to the dance floor to take your first dance.
What do you want everyone to see? A bride that is Traditional? Romantic? Glamorous? Vintage? Classic? Modern and Contemporary? You always need a word to describe your overall look as a bride. Once you have made this decision, work with an excellent stylist to put outfits together for you that all follow the ultimate look you want to achieve. They will show you different silhouettes and fabrics and they should understand your body so they know how to dress you to perfection.
Who would you say was your ultimate hero/heroine in the World of Fashion?
I have two favourite design houses – Oscar de la Renta and Dolce & Gabbana – both are brilliant and have exquisitely cut clothes that go on for years. They are stylish, chic and ultra feminine.
154 Brompton Road, Knightsbridge, London SW3 1HX 020 7590 9120