Queen of tailoring Suzanne Neville is perhaps more readily associated with clean lines and refined, simple silhouettes than embellishment and opulent details, but her latest range takes a welcome detour, diving into decorative features without a hint of her usual restraint. It’s no accident that the collection is named after the most exuberant period in art history.
“The 2018 Belle Epoque line is made from the most exquisite laces, embroidered tulles, piqué, cloqué silks, crepes and satins,” explains the designer. “This year, I felt so inspired, as I did when I first started out. These are modern gowns which are unique and forward-thinking.”
The architectural, supremely supportive structure is, of course, still firmly in place, but, by layering experimental textures on top, Suzanne has let go and had fun with her failsafe shapes: from the strapless gown adorned in touch-me, oversized boho lace (Athena, above centre, from £2,995, we’re looking at you) to the seductive, timeless bias-cut Delancey (above right, from £2,995) topped with an intricate illusion neckline, adorned with bold, corded embroidery calling to mind the pillars of a Greek temple, the collection is courageous, yet still exceptionally wearable. It introduces warier brides to the perks of attention-grabbing couture. “Social media has compelled women to be more adventurous,” reasons Suzanne. “I feel that bridal is now fashion-led, with every dream look imaginable on offer. It’s an exciting time.”
“As a designer, Suzanne is so hands-on,” praises Anna Cirignaco at Eleganza Sposa in Glasgow. “She personally oversees the production of every single dress and is always at the other end of the phone to answer our questions. There is no corsetry like it. Over the years, I’ve been in awe of the structure of the dresses and how they have evolved. Suzanne moves with the times, introducing sexier cuts, delicate florals, tulle and beadwork, but still with her famous support system underneath it all. My favourite from the Belle Epoque line is Nazarene (above left, from £3,995). Its flattering, scooped strapless neckline and gold foil print are so different and current. We’ll be holding a Suzanne Neville designer day in November, by which point we’ll have her 2019 gowns.”