Introducing…Sarah Treble – Wedding Dress Designer
The Great Barn Devon plays host to some incredible weddings each year and so, over this time we have met some rather fabulous suppliers for all things bridal.
Sarah Treble is a truly talented wedding dress designer, based in Exeter. We managed to grab five minutes with her, in between designing and meeting her brides, to find out more about the inspiration behind her work and what an ‘average’ day in the life of a bespoke bridal gown creator, looks like. Oh! And make sure you read all the way to the bottom as there’s a special 10% offer from Sarah for all The Great Barn brides-to-be!
Hello Sarah. Tell us a bit about what you do, your background, how you started your company. “My background is in fashion design. I studied at St Martin’s College of Art and having gained a BA, went straight to Italy where I worked as a designer for 5 years. I was head designer at Valentino in Rome for several seasons, and during this time developed a fascination with haute couture.
“From Italy I went to Paris where I was head designer for Daniel Hechter. I then returned to London and after a season designing for Paul Costelloe, decided I’d really like to set up my own studio, which I did in London in 1999, making couture garments and wedding dresses for private clients.
“I moved my business to Devon in 2009 and now have a lovely studio in a huge Georgian house overlooked by the beautiful cathedral in Exeter. I concentrate mainly on bespoke wedding dresses and evening wear, all of which are individually hand made at the studio. I like to combine innovative processes e.g. digital printing and laser cutting with age old couture methods….hand embroidery, bespoke lace-making. Each commission is totally unique and the process provides an unforgettable experience for the client.”
Describe a typical day for you. “First of all I have to see my two children off to school (they travel to Torquay from Topsham every day). Then, after walking the dog, I can start my “working” day, which never feels like work, as I love it !
“Typically I start with admin and emails. Then I concentrate on marketing…organising photoshoots, contacting magazines, social media updates etc. I then turn to my current commissions, make sure all the toiles and dresses are ready for the next fittings and the brides are kept informed of the progress of their dress. All of the dresses are made in-house, usually by me, but sometimes by seamstresses I bring in during the busy times. They have to be guided through what needs to be done. As every dress is unique, this can be very time consuming.
“I usually have fittings and consultations with clients about 4 -5 times a week, which have to be coordinated in. It is a very busy studio. Saturday mornings are normally taken up with consultations and fittings. I like to set aside at least one day a week to working on new designs.”
Where do you find your inspiration for new designs and collections? “I find inspiration from all walks of life. When I moved to Devon from London my designs became very influenced by nature. I live near the Exe estuary, the beautiful birds and trees were a delight after the urban landscape. I also love film, art (anything from Gary Hume, Bridget Riley and Rothko through to the Old Masters and Italian Renaissance) Although I have never particularly followed other designers in my work, I do like to keep a close eye on the Haute Couture Collections.”
What is the favourite amongst your brides from your current or existing collections and why do you think that is? “I have a design called Dr Zhivago , which is very ethereal looking and features layers of silk organza and antique lace applique. This has always been very popular. The brides love being involved in the choice and placement of the lace.”
What is your favourite? “My favourite is “Petal”. It is a tea length dress made up of thousands of little silk semi-circles. These have been hand-frayed and dyed the softest of ivories and pinks through to sooty black. It reminds me of an exotic bird.”
If you could collaborate with any designer/company, who would it be and why? “I also love what Valentino is doing at the moment. I designed the menswear collection for Valentino back in the nineties. If they needed a bridal wear designer I’d love to collaborate with them again. Other than that…my best friend from college, Peter Copping is now creative director of Oscar de la Renta. It would be such fun to work together. But he’s doing a very good job on his own… beautiful bridal designs !”
If you could dress a celebrity (living or dead) who would it be? “I wrote my thesis on Katherine Hepburn. I love her strong individual style and would have liked to design for her. Charlotte Rampling has a similar aura. If I could pick a model for a photoshoot it would be Erin O’Connor, she looks so aristocratic an intelligent. Also Florence Welch for her beautiful eccentricity.”
Are you working on anything new and exciting that you can give us a glimpse of? “I am working on new designs at the moment. Key features are metallic lace, bustles, Guipur lace, long gloves, pockets, digital prints of sepia wedding photos. There is no theme to the collection, a very eclectic mix. I occasionally post the odd sneaky preview shot on Instagram and twitter!”
Thank you so much Sarah!
If you are looking for a beautiful, bespoke, unique, one-of-a-kind, incredibly individual bridal gown for your special day, Sarah is giving The Great Barn brides-t0-be, 10% off – simply give her a call to arrange an appointment on 07944 605559.