I am Catherine Shaw, I am a bespoke dress designer and maker, I specialise in alternative wedding dresses and dresses for special occasions. Welcome to my site, I hope it will give you a glimpse of the work I love to do. All the wedding dresses, evening dresses and cocktail frocks I make are designed and made in my London studio based in Crystal Palace. Whether it is a vintage style wedding dress, something more innovative for the thoroughly modern bride, or a fabulous cocktail frock for that special occasion, each dress is unique to each woman. And for the very special ‘other woman’ at the wedding… we also make beautiful mother of the bride dresses and mother of the groom dresses. Because these women also want to look as fabulous as possible on their daughter or son’s wedding day. They too want to make a statement of who and where they are in life. And looking glamorous in the dress that is designed and made for her will make the day even more special. I draw inspiration from many things, a much loved piece of jewellery, a favourite colour, a particular vintage of fashion history but most of all from you. You are the person who will wear this dress on one of the most celebratory days of your life and my task is to make you shine.
As a wedding dress designer I love the feel of silk, the gleam of a beautiful dupion, the fluidity of a crepe de chine, the soft fall of silk chiffon wafting gently around the body, gorgeous organza or silk tulle wrapped and pleated into shape. Or the feel of soft cool cotton and linen. My wedding dress and cocktail frock designs cover a range of styles that are inspirational as well as innovative and classic, with a twist and a nod to past eras: The fabulous thirties with the bias cut in slinky, gleaming satins overlaid, perhaps, with a beaded net, soft and gently flowing over the body. The bias cut dress is made up of several pieces of fabric each cut to allow the fabric to drop fluidly around the body. Lovely forties tea dresses in ultra feminine voiles and embroidered cottons or tiny printed floral fabrics with pearl buttons and soft frills and pleats. The more structured fifties era with its cinched waists and the ‘Dior’ inspired full skirts or a figure hugging dress covered in exquisite lace. All beautifully cut to enhance your best loved features and disguise your least liked. Some wedding dresses feature inbuilt corsets or just subtle boning, vintage trim, feathers, beads, handmade flowers and trim to match. You may have some beautiful ribbon or lace that is precious to you and can be ‘woven’ into the design. This special dress is made just for you.
As an alternative to the ‘traditional’ and well loved pale harmonious white, cream and ivory palette, I love using colours that suit your personality and working with the idea that this dress can be worn again – so you can step back into your wedding dress with all the memories of ‘The Day’ intertwined within the very fabric and relive over and over again the time you said “I do”.
The white wedding dress was made popular by Queen Victoria, who moved away from wearing silver tissue worn only by Royal brides of the day. Before this revolutionary fashion statement of the mid 19th century most brides had their wedding dresses made in the very best fabric available in various shades of colour, as white fabric was very expensive to produce and to keep clean. After the wedding the dress would be reworked to become the ‘Best Dress’. I feel that your important dress deserves a few more outings than just one.
Please browse through my site and feel free to contact me with any queries you may have, I will be delighted to help you. My motto is “Only ever wear clothes that make you feel like doing a small dance” my aim is to get you dancing!