Fashion Insider – designer Naomi Neoh

The stars of the silver screen would love Naomi Neoh’s dresses, which are inspired by the golden era of vintage Hollywood

Science grad-turned-dress designer Naomi Neoh

Science grad-turned-dress designer Naomi Neoh

I took a curious route to my career as a wedding dress designer – I read physics at Durham University and worked in IT before I found my true calling. But fabric was always my first love and designing bridalwear lets me indulge my passion for it.

My design ethos is to create a dress that feels luxurious to wear and makes you look incredible. My dresses are structured with lightweight corsetry to create a nipped-in waist and a slim, svelte silhouette. I spent my childhood watching vintage Hollywood movies, and the style of Grace Kelly and Ginger Rogers still inspires my designs.

Each collection contains classic full skirts, fashioned from flowing fabrics, which are light to wear and offer beautiful movement. There are also slender gowns of bias-cut skirts from the 1930s that are combined with corsetry to create a perfect silhouette.

Sketch from Naomi’s 2015 collection

Sketch from Naomi’s 2015 collection

I only use the most indulgent and luxurious fabrics (the likes of silk voile, silk chiffon and couture-weight organza), delicately embellished with French lace, handmade silk corsages and subtle beading, in very flattering vintage tones such as peach, blush-pink and café au lait as well as traditional ivory.

The Naomi Neoh signature style is a swishing skirt of silk chiffon with a French lace bodice, often with a subtle hint of blush pink, all finished off with a delicate silk corsage and ribbon sash. Our lightweight but effective corsetry gives a beautiful nipped-in waist.

The 2014 Secret Garden collection was a continuation of our flowing silk chiffon dresses, but I incorporated some lighter, more ethereal French Chantilly lace into the designs, such as Fleur with delicate lace long sleeves and an elegant V back, which has been very popular.

The 2015 Iconic collection is inspired by the icons of the golden era of Hollywood in the 1930s and 1950s – their simple, elegant style is a continual source of inspiration. As well as the beautiful swishing dresses, the Iconic collection offers brides lots of styling options to make their gown individual – a selection of lace jackets, with different sleeve lengths, and a jewelled belt to give an alternative to the silk corsage and ribbon sash, maybe for an evening look.

Being able to work with the most luxurious fabrics imaginable is a huge thrill. I get so excited when I discover new fabrics and then start sketching ideas of how to use them.

There are touches of vintage Hollywood in one form or another in all my collections. Edith Head, the costume designer who worked on many Hitchcock films, is a great inspiration. She dressed Grace Kelly, Audrey Hepburn and Ginger Rogers, among others. Their style of dress was always so stylish and romantic, yet very simple at the same time.

I would love to dress Sophie Turner, the actress who plays Sansa Stark in Game of Thrones. I’m a huge fan!

I don’t have a typical working day – I could be pinning fabric to put together a new design or I might be stuck doing the accounts. I am very hands-on and involved in every aspect of the running of my business, so every day is different.
One very memorable wedding I’ve been to was at Lucknam Park Hotel in Bath. It was amazing, and we had great food. Everything was in the one place, so you didn’t have to go to the church and then the reception and then back to a hotel at the end of the night. You had more time to just relax, enjoy the wedding and spend time with friends.

My advice to brides is don’t get too stressed. Enjoy the experience of planning your wedding – you’ll (hopefully!) only do it once.

Keep an open mind when dress shopping and try on many different shapes and styles. It’s the only way to find out what really suits you.

Snowdrop from the Secret Garden collection

Snowdrop from the Secret Garden collection

Peony from the Secret Garden collection. Stockists include Alison Kirk Bridal and Pan Pan Bridal

Peony from the Secret Garden collection. Stockists include Alison Kirk Bridal and Pan Pan Bridal

www.naomineoh.com