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WINterview / Miabelle

We catch up with Lydia Jones, founder of the hottest new label, on the block, Miabelle to understand where it all began and what we can expect from this exciting new brand over the coming months...


Lydia Jones Miabelle
Lydia Jones - Designer and Founder of Miabelle

Tell us about you...

"My name is Lydia Jones and I am the founder and designer of Miabelle. Miabelle is a wedding fashion house for the modern bride and her stylish bridesmaids. Known for our easy-glam bow bridesmaid dresses, we are now stocked in over 20 boutiques in the UK and Ireland. Recently we introduced an occasionwear line which incorporates our signature look; simplistic crepe gowns with something a little extra. They are a collection of elevated classics for the fashion-loving woman. This year we’re also excited to introduce an edit of carefully curated bridal gowns, classic silhouettes with an edge. It’s all happening at Miabelle!

 

I grew up in a small town in Surrey and graduated from Nottingham Trent University with a first in Fashion Design. I moved as quickly as I could to London’s Shoreditch, THE place to be circa 2007! I spent the next few years interning (and slaving away) at different fashion magazines, finally landing a job managing production for a design company, working with the likes of Topshop and ASOS.

 

Those were really fun times but I eventually settled, got married and moved to the seaside. I set up home with my then-husband in buzzy Brighton and was determined to stay working in fashion, so commuted back and forth to the city (that was not a highlight!)

 

Sooner or later, I had to find something closer to home but there were absolutely no fashion companies operating from Brighton. I came across an advert for a job in a bridal boutique and discovered that it was part of a larger business, a bridal wholesale company. I landed the job and the rest is history. I went from managing their boutique to the assistant designer, to head of design and marketing, over a span of 10 years. I was by then (and still am) hooked on the bridal industry.

 

I left in 2019 to adopt two beautiful girls. It was them who gave me the drive to create Miabelle."


Miabelle Bridal

Why Bridal?

I remember doing a project in my first year of university and chose to do a bridal collection. It came out of nowhere; I had no previous interest in bridal! But I fell in love with the idea of a product that was less about trends and more about being as extravagant, beautiful and wow as possible! I also love that our industry is slower than mainstream fashion. My previous role meant I designed bridal and bridesmaid dresses. I seemed to have a natural talent for putting together bridesmaid collections.  So, when I started Miabelle, it was an easy decision to begin the label as a bridesmaid specialist because this was an area I already knew really well and felt I was good at.

 

What’s your earliest memory of fashion design?

For anyone born in the 80s like me, might remember Bunty magazine…I lived for this magazine each week as a young girl. They would run ‘fashion design competitions’ and I would enter them and be featured. The best thing about that was winning £10!

 

Do you keep sketches of all of your designs?

Yes, but they aren’t all frame-worthy beautiful hand drawings! If only I could spend my days sitting and drawing beautiful sketches of our designs…what a dream! Illustration is one of my passions and something I wish I had more time to do. The reality is that ideas are sketched up but turned into technical drawings which our pattern cutters can easily understand.

 

Do you have a signature style?

I think Miabelle is loved for its tailored gowns which are generally classic in design with a touch of glam, e.g a bold bow or a pearly belt. We don’t stray too far from the fitted silhouette which works so well for us. I’d describe our signature style as classic, sophisticated simplicity, with an edge.



Miabelle Bridal

Please give us the complete low-down on your latest collections -  the inspiration, the process, the plan.

Since launching Miabelle, the industry has changed a lot and the climate has been very unpredictable. Buyers have had to be extra careful with where and how they invest. Nobody wants the pressure of high minimums right now. So instead of releasing new collections each season, we have just been topping up our bridesmaid range with a handful of key dresses.

 

I have always been and always will be, inspired by Coco Chanel and their imagery through the decades. Luxury, timeless and a hint of sexy. I don’t look to trends but it just so happens that our best-selling bow dress Martini, couldn’t be more on trend right now in the bridal world. We have just released the yummiest selection of buttery neutral colours in a slinky satin, which is just divine!

 

The Miabelle bridal collection embraces the house’s classic signature style, with rich and romantic fabrics and lightweight laces. I was inspired by the confident women of the 1950s with their black eyeliner, big hair and chic dresses. When I was imagining what my bridal collection would look like, I had one thing in mind – it has to be wearable for ALL body shapes. There are so many beautiful dresses out there right now but not many of them work on any size over a UK10. So, I wanted to be mindful of this. Add a plunge front but keep the back high so there is still a level of support. A full tulle skirt with a fitted stretch one underneath to create a sultry fitted look which balances a fuller hip shape. All bridal fashions come in and out but this collection is timeless, rather than overly trend-driven. To create a look that will date gracefully, rather than overnight.


Miabelle Bridal

What does your bride look like?

For me, it’s less about what she looks like and more about her values and emotions. I would say the girl who buys our dresses is looking for understated sophistication and is someone who can see the value in our craft. She is looking to invest in a garment that will last and have a story to tell long beyond the wedding day. I am someone who is very emotionally driven and appreciates the little things in life, but I do also love a bit of luxury and that feeling of being spoilt! Our bride is the same, and she loves the idea of finding a really special item, knowing that her hard-earned money has been well spent. Our brides buy our bridesmaid dresses because they want to create a feeling for their wearer. Not just a dress or colour that looks good in her photos. One of the reasons we do this is to make women feel incredible when they walk down that aisle. How do you do that? Well, find her a great dress! The cut is everything. The right fabric is essential. So we work hard to perfect that.

 



What makes a bridal boutique great?

A high street location or an impressive shop window is lovely but it’s not the be-all and end-all of what makes a great boutique. The right team, the right gowns and a strong social media presence is essential. The competition is rife, and you really have to be seen to be making an effort. If a boutique can’t be bothered with posting on their socials then what sort of message does that send to brides? A well-known designer label helps bring brides to your doors who are looking for that particular label, but it’s the dress that will sell itself, not the name tag.

 

It may not be possible for all business owners but I believe that it’s really important for the owners themselves to be present and actively involved in the day-to-day running of the boutique. I think when they are on the shop floor themselves, working with the brides, they are then better placed to know what labels and price points are right for their shop. I think like any business, a boutique is only as good as its staff, so regular training and investing in the right people, are key.

 

What makes your label unique, and successful – what is your USP?

I think brides love our dresses because of their understated simplicity, combined with a really great fit, which we have worked so hard to perfect. You can almost see the confidence radiating out of the women who wear them!

 

We only use high-quality fabrics and quality check everything. Every dress is steamed and checked as we don’t want anything going out that isn’t 100%.

 

We’re not a big machine, we are an independent family-run business. I am so utterly passionate about Miabelle and want the best for our brides. I like to say we are a small business with a big heart! We always go the extra mile wherever possible, such as tweaking designs to meet a bride’s exact request.

 

You will only find our dresses in retail stores, not online. The main reason I started this brand is because I was fed up with seeing ‘fast fashion’ retail chains bringing out throwaway bridesmaid dress collections. Worn today, landfill tomorrow. For us, it’s all about keeping our high streets going, supporting local independent businesses, and keeping the magic alive of in-person shopping and that boutique experience! I think our mission and our authenticity are what has made our brand successful so far.


Miabelle Bridal

What are you feeling excited about in the coming year?

We have been nominated for the British Design Talent Award at the Bridal Buyer Awards, which has blown me away! I’m very excited for that to be announced in March in Harrogate. We will then be exhibiting at The White Gallery in May at its brand new location in my old stomping ground in Shoreditch. I am very excited to meet buyers and start getting our bridal collection out there in boutiques, push our occasionwear forward and take our much-loved bridesmaid collection to the next level! We don’t have any radical plans, just to keep doing what we’re already doing well, and grow steadily and organically.





We will be chatting with Lydia on the Wedding Industry News Podcast later this month so stay tuned for some more interesting industry insights!


So, how do bridal boutiques get in touch?

You can email Lydia info@miabellebridals.co.uk

Follow @miabelleltd for the latest!



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