That Little Emilia Wickstead Point of Difference

Over the past half decade, New Zealand-born Emilia Wickstead has emerged as London’s go-to designer for occasion dressing. Her ability to find inspiration in 1950s and 1960s couture salons and the candy-coloured society ladies of Slim Aarons’ photos, and bring them up to date with surprising proportions or fabrics has made her clothes a mainstay of British social events such as Ascot, weddings and the red carpet.

Wickstead’s shows have also become a highlight of London Fashion Week.

Natalie Kingham, buying director at Matches, which has stocked her designs for over three years, says: “We spotted immediately that she was fantastic at designing occasionwear that felt modern, which is rare and something we are always looking for.”

The 31-year-old launched her debut ready-to-wear collection for spring/summer 2012 with a show that featured 1950s-inspired pleated dresses, tennis dresses, and little jackets and shorts with a retro postcard print. Now she offers a combination of made-to-measure, with fittings from scratch; made-to-order, where colours and fabric can be changed and the product is delivered in 20 working days; and ready-to-wear.

Wickstead has big plans. “We’re creating a brand image which didn’t exist in the beginning, and I want to grow that,” she says. “And in the way that the clothes and services we offer are a luxurious niche, I want to be doing that with accessories.” While she’s unlikely to be chasing the “It” bag market, she is determined to keep offering “that little Emilia Wickstead point of difference”. That difference? Charm.

Original article by Carola Long, Financial Times, September 12, 2014.

Photo by Donato Sardella/WireImage.

Tags: Emilia Wickstead  Financial Times  London Fashion Week  Matches  Natalie Kingham  

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