Kate Halfpenny is truly one of a kind in the wedding industry - her designs are instantly recognisable, her collections always evolve and yet stay true to her classic style and all of her dresses are made in the UK. Kate designs dresses for real women that are made to be worn, and if you've ever tried on wedding dresses you'll understand that unfortunately that's not always the case. Some of the Rock My Wedding team visited Kate's gorgeous Bloomsbury boutique recently for a lovely chinwag and a good old nosey at the stunning dresses. I was green with envy that I couldn't attend as it looks like an absolute treasure trove of Bridal prettiness. We've got lots of images, if you fancy having a look...
The showroom is beautiful - it looks and feels like a seamstress’ workroom of old, buzzing with warmth and creativity - this is very different from some of the stark and minimal boutiques out there. Was the styling and feel of the showroom very important to you? How ‘planned’ was the space? Or did it all unfold naturally?
I am so inspired by my environment so the building needed to have the perfect feel for my brides. I had my showroom at home before I opened the boutique and everyone always loved coming there, so we tried to keep that same personality in the store and a very warm and cosy feel, for some brides the whole wedding dress process is daunting, so it helps to feel relaxed from the moment you step in the door.
It’s clear that you chose a wonderful selection of fabrics to work with - where do you find your fabrics, what draws you to them and if they aren’t obviously white/ivory how do you translate them to bridal fashion?
I am utterly obsessed with fabrics, I have swatches and samples all over, under and around my desk, I literally could design a new dress every day. I find them all over the world but most recently we have been making our own embellishments and embroideries so they set us apart and keep our collection fresh and unique, they are of course embroidered onto bases of delicious silk organza.
Floral patterns, cut outs and embellishments feature heavily in your work, is this a conscious thing? What is it about the shape of flowers that you love working with?
I work quite organically, so the flowers and the details really do evolve, the wild love collection was very much inspired by old english rose gardens, so the frothy details are originating from them.
What can Brides expect from an appointment at your boutique?
Brides can expect to greeted by a friendly and happy stylist, one that wants to help you find your dream dress, we don’t have pushy sales team, your investment into what is the biggest spend you’ll make on a dress/look is important to us, and we want you to feel the best you possibly can, you can come and try a huge diverse collection of silhouettes and styles so you really can feel like you’ve eliminated all different looks and styles you’ve thought of and find the one.
Is there any advice you’d give to Brides before attending an appointment?
Be open minded and try not to take too many people with you, it can often become confusing when lots of people who care about you offer you their opinions, sometimes it’s best to go with one or two people and then present your selection or edit to your friends and family, but remember at the end of the day it’s your dress, your wedding and you need to feel incredible.
Halfpenny London feels like a really current, wearable brand that hasn’t scrimped on quality or design while it’s grown, and is still very true to you - how on earth do you maintain that in today’s climate in the wedding industry?
I have to stay true to myself, we’re 100% British made and that's so important to us. We’re not about cheap wedding dresses, but a modern luxe bridal store that gives you a wonderful bridal experience with stunning dresses or bridal separates. We really have something for everyone as our collection is so diverse to represent the amazing brides I meet and women in my life.
Where do you draw influences from when you are designing?
I am inspired by the fabrics, by architecture and interiors, by derails in flowers and insects, by paintings, there is beauty in everything so it’s not difficult to see a knot on a boats ropes and think that would make an amazing detail for example. of course my work is more delicate than a chunky rope...
What do you think will be the key trends that Brides will be wearing next summer?
I think Bridal isn’t about trends it’s about being timeless, it’s about an attitude and a feeling, not a trend.
How do you maintain your signature look through each collection?
I just design instinctually and keep true to myself, the signature then slowly evolves, I think the key thread throughout my work is the fabrics and the quality, plus the kisses of detail and the cut.
You can see the full collection of gowns by Halfpenny London in the RMW Look Book, along with stockists and details of how to contact Kate and her team. If you're looking for a wedding dress made with love, passion and a whole heap of style then we'd highly recommend Halfpenny London.
Fern Godfrey

Written by Fern Godfrey

Boutique: Halfpenny London
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