Luxury bridal label, Caroline Castigliano’s Celebrating Romance 2018 collection has arrived, and BOY are you going to fall for its sleek lines, timeless silhouettes and achingly glamorous vibe. I caught up with the designer herself to discuss everything from the inspiration behind the line to which celebrity she’d love to dress…
#1 Tell us a little about the history of Caroline Castigliano? Where did the bridal label begin and how…
“I studied acting and dance at Italia Conti Drama Academy, everything in my life growing up was related to the crafts. My mother taught me to sew when I was five years old and by the time I was ten I was making clothes for myself. This was the best training you could ever have, thankfully my best friend also loved sewing and our idea of fun was to travel to London to shop at Liberty and purchase fabrics so we could make clothes in our summer holidays.
My career started when I was twelve years old and the BBC offered me a role in a television play, I started acting professionally and went on to a number of films and TV series through my teenage years.
It was only when I was twenty-two that I started to wonder what else was out there for me. I fortunately met a very successful businessman and he suggested I would be good in business. It didn’t enter my head that I would go into wedding dress design. I came up with the idea of Survival Kit, a kit of sportswear and dumbbells to travel with, they were high fashion and bright colours and I went off to New York and was really lucky as I sold it to Macy’s, Bloomingdales and Neiman Marcus – quite incredible for a beginner! Everything moved very fast and before I knew it I was living in Miami, designing and manufacturing active sportswear – I was the first person to come up with g-string leotards!
Once I knew my career was going to be design focused I decided to really consider where my talents lay and it didn’t take long to realise it was in wedding dresses!
So, began the brand Caroline Castigliano, I opened my first store in Esher in Surrey in 1991.”
#2 Who is the Caroline Castigliano woman? Describe her to us…
“A Caroline Castigliano bride is into style, she understands fashion but is not ruled by it, she is passionate about quality and loves classic styling.”
#3 What type of materials do you use and where are they sourced from? What can brides-to-be always rely on Caroline Castigliano for?
“We only create Caroline Castigliano gowns in luxury fabrics which are sourced from all over the world but mainly Italy and France; we are constantly sourcing new and beautiful fabrics to bring to the bridal market.
Brides-to be can rely on Caroline Castigliano for impeccable fit and quality – all our gowns are handcrafted in the United Kingdom. I’m known for my complex internal corsetry. I love ensuring that my brides will have beautifully balanced silhouettes – I want them to walk and sit beautifully, look comfortable yet fabulous from every angle when photographed and on film – by creating a corset within the gown I can do all this and more!”
#4 If Caroline Castigliano could have a particular celebrity or person to be the face of the bridal brand, who would it be? Who embodies the label in their style and personality?
“I can’t choose one as they are quite a few I love – Kiera Knightley, her beauty is outstanding. Jennifer Lawrence – so unusual and quirky – as well as Emma Watson, she is also on my favorites list!”
#5 Tell us about the design process for a new bridal collection. Where does it begin? Where does the inspiration for a new line often emerge from?
“I am quite simply inspired by making women look and feel beautiful – nothing is better than seeing a woman walk towards the mirror watching her reflection and full of confidence – it inspires me to do more.
I start with mood boards that conjure up the feel of what the collection will look like – this will cover detail like beadings, laces, structured dresses and soft floaty dresses. The mood boards bring together all the ideas that have been going on in mine and the team’s head for some months.
I then decide how many pieces will be in the collection, I break this down to general silhouettes, for instance how many bias dresses, how many ball gowns etc. I do the same for necklines shapes; I am quite into simplifying the process. I then go through all the hangers of fabrics that have been sent to me by the fabric houses I work with and start to choose the fabrics I want to work with for the season. I then start sketching the dresses and writing detailed specifications on how they are to be cut and layered.
The sketches are turned in to patterns and then toiled, this is a process whereby the dress base is created in calico, from there the dress will develop and will be toiled again before being created as a development sample, the collection usually takes about six months to develop.”
#6 Are you inspired by the trends?
“I look at trends all the time but I’m not ruled by them. My focus is classic gowns with a taste of fashion – bringing the two elements together creates perfection, beautifully cut with a great balance.”
#7 Talk to us about the new 2018 collection, where did the inspiration stem from for this collection? Do you have a favourite gown from the line?
“The 2018 ‘Celebrating Romance’ collection features timeless designs with ultra-feminine twists, elevated textures and highly luxurious accents.
There is a light airy feel throughout the collection, with a range of silhouettes from A-line, to circle skirts and fishtails, all creating beautiful movement and a powerful but understated vision.
My favourite gown from the new collection is Monarchy. It has a deep sweetheart neckline and I’ve moulded beautiful beaded guipure lace over the bodice, with lace trickling down the silk organza skirt.”
#8 From your experience, when it comes to brides searching for THE ONE (in dress terms) where should they start? What should they be thinking about?
“Before you even go out to try on wedding dresses search the internet and look at fabrics and silhouettes and make mood boards of everything you love. Then after hours of searching and looking, start thinking about the venue you have chosen and the vision you want everyone to see when you arrive at your wedding – so when your fiancé and guests turn to see you what will that overall vision be?
By this I mean do you want to be have a traditional look or do you want to be modern and contemporary. Do you want a relaxed look or very romantic? Perhaps you want to have red carpet glamour? When you know the overall ‘look’ you want to create go back over the pictures you collected and start a new board with the real look you want for the big day.
Your next big decision will be the investment you want to make in your bridal gown and understanding the difference between a standard dress altered to fit and a gown fully made to measure for you that fits like a glove. There are big differences so be aware – if someone says this is ‘made to order’ do not understand this as ‘made to measure’ ask exactly what you would be getting.”
#9 Where would you like to see the label in 10 years time?
“The plan for the next ten years is to expand the collection and develop the brand into being a household name for luxury. Whether it be lingerie or leather goods we want Castigliano to represent exclusivity, quality and luxury.”
#10 If you could choose any celebrity or star (dead or alive) to dress for their wedding, who would it be?
“I would love to dress Adele. I love everything about her, the voice, the face – she is a great role model, truly amazing and a fabulous star.”
All images are sourced from Caroline Castigliano