Behind the Dress with Madeline Isaac James

Happy Friday Nu Bride readers!

After my trip to White Gallery London 2012 last month, I mentioned that I will be featuring some of my favourite bridal designers that I had a chance to meet with and view their new 2013 collections at the gallery. For those that missed the feature, here it is again: Wedding Dress Wonderland. There truly are some stunning gowns due to hit bridal stores over the next few months!

Today we are joined by the super talented and super delightful designer Natalie Gladman of Madeline Isaac-James who will be sharing some wedding dress shopping tips with us too!

For those that don’t know, I am going to be a Madeline Isaac-James bride and continue to be inspired by the diversity and eloquent craftmanship of her gowns. Why do I love them so much? Because to me, they have a splash of something different, they snuggle beautifully against your body like a second skin, they are luxurious and elegant. But most importantly for me, it was simply the way the gown I chose made me feel when I put it on – like a million dollars. Clever Natalie! 🙂

After tweeting my excitement to Natalie when I found ‘my dress’ at the fabulous BOA Boutique, I have since been emailing Natalie back and forth for quite some time and am delighted to have her on Nu Bride. I met Natalie for the first time last month at the White Gallery London and what a joy she is! Natalie took the time to talk me through her 2013 collection and the inspiration behind some of her designs.

Madeline Isaac-James 2013 collection is inspired by Natalie’s own mother and on mother’s day this year, Natalie posted a message on twitter to ask readers to recommend their mother’s name to be considered as a potential name of one of her new gowns.- To my sheer joy, I discovered Natalie has named one of her new gowns after my mum, which I adore! Food for thought – 2014 collection how about one named after me Natalie!? 🙂

Here is a sneaky peak of ‘Avril’ by Madeline Isaac-James below, taken by moi at White Gallery London 2012:

Today I have a tiny snippet of some of Madeline Isaac-James 2013 collection to share with you, which you won’t see in stores or on the website just yet – so aren’t you lucky! Do stay tuned on Nu Bride for the full 2013 collection including her new silk flower girl dress range due to be launched in September 2012.

Without further ado: The delightful and super talented Natalie Gladman!

Hello and welcome to Nu Bride Natalie – I know that you have a huge family history in the garment industry, please tell us a little bit more about yourself and how you got into designing bridal gowns?

Natalie Gladman: Thank-you Nova! I’m the fifth generation of my family to work in the garment industry. My great-great grandfather (a Master Tailor) was the first of many generations to love garment design and manufacture, and every generation since has followed in his footsteps in one form or another. I guess you could say that I have always been surrounded by different elements of the garment industry and it’s something which is in my blood. I’ve been sketching wedding dresses for as long as I can remember – literally from when I could first hold a pencil – but I’d like to think that my designs have been fine-tuned somewhat from those early years! I’ve always loved bridal and it was only natural for me to progress into designing wedding gowns.

Nu Bride: Does the finished product look and feel like you first imagined it from the first time you put a pen to paper (or finger to iPad!)?

Natalie Gladman: Generally yes. I have a very specific look in mind when I design my gowns and am generally able to visualise and interpret precisely what I imagine into my sketches. Of course, some minor tweaks may be done, but generally the finished gown is pretty much as I first envisage.

Nu Bride: During my search for a wedding dress, I found that a lot of bridal boutiques tend to stock the same designers and variations of similar dresses. I found this was certainly not the case with Madeline Isaac-James dresses – everything about the dress I chose felt perfect for me and different to anything I had seen previously. How do you try to stand out from a very competitive market?

Natalie Gladman: That’s fantastic to hear and I’m so pleased and honoured that you’ve chosen a Madeline Isaac-James gown. It’s very important to me that my collection offers brides something a little different, after all, who wants to wear a dress that you see in every other wedding photo? As I design all the gowns in my collection, they are borne out of my desire to capture my thoughts about the look and feel of each individual gown. This in itself ensures that the collection does not necessarily follow ‘expected’ paths – and I’m happy to describe my collection as ‘eclectic’. Every bride is different and therefore, I believe that every dress should be different. They may follow a specific theme or genre, but they each have very different design details and finishes. We try to stand out in a competitive market by offering brides a very unique, but wearable, collection. Our quality, cut and finish is exceptional, but we still keep our silk gowns available to brides at surprisingly sensible prices!

Madeline Isaac-James | White Gallery London 2012 | Photography Credits: – Christopher Dadey

Wedding Dress Shopping Tips:

Nu Bride: What are your 3 most valuable tips you would give to any bride-to-be looking for her perfect wedding dress?

Natalie Gladman:

1. Choose a reputable bridal retailer whose wealth of knowledge and experience can help you find that perfect gown. Whilst wedding dress shopping can be intimidating, remember that your bridal retailer is there to help you; so try not to be too nervous and let them help guide you.

2. Keep as open a mind as you possibly can when wedding dress shopping. By all means, research designers through wedding magazines and online; but be prepared to try on a variation of gowns. I think that it’s really important when you first start wedding dress shopping to try on different shapes and styles – some you will like, some you won’t – but what this exercise does is help fine-tune what shape suits you and what you feel most comfortable in. Try not to dismiss a dress because it doesn’t have ‘hanger appeal’ – it could look very different on. (Nu Bride: couldn’t agree more Natalie!)

3. Ensure you start looking for your gown in plenty of time for your wedding. Remember that some labels take 5-6 months to be made for you and then in addition, you need to factor in time for alterations and fittings.

Nu Bride: One of the reasons I chose one of your bridal gowns, is because the fabrics felt so luxurious and elegant. What are some of your favourite fabrics to work with and why?

Natalie Gladman: I love working with silk – there are so many different ways to use silk fabrics to create a very different look and feel. Whether the bride is looking for a slinky, glamorous gown or a very structured gown, different silks can be used in so many ways to great effect. The new 2013 collection will use a lot of lace, silk chiffons, silk tulle and silk Shantung – so at the moment these are my favourites.

Madeline Isaac James | Dress: LORI | Photography: Naomi Kenton | Venue: Farnham Castle

Nu Bride: When you design a dress, do you have an idea in your mind of the ‘type’ of person or ‘personality’ that might buy the dress?

Natalie Gladman: That’s a great question. To be honest, I’m not so keen to label a specific ‘type’ of person or ‘personality’ for a specific dress. I think that as each bride is an individual she should be treated as such and it is impossible to say that a specific person will choose a specific dress – there are too many other factors and considerations. I firmly believe that brides should keep as open a mind as they can when trying on wedding dresses – the dress chooses them as much as they choose the dress – and quite often brides will change their mind when they see a particular style or silhouette on.

Nu Bride: How do you keep your inspiration fresh?

Natalie Gladman: I always carry either my sketch book (or more recently my i-Pad – have found this amazing app that allows me to sketch directly into that with a very whizzy pen!); this means that I am influenced at any time by anything around me. Sometimes, I’ll see a piece of architecture that can inspire a specific look, sometimes it’s the beauty in nature; and sometimes I’ll be watching an old MGM film and am quite inspired by the drama and costume of those. It’s really variable, but I think keeping my mind open and constantly capturing thoughts and feelings helps keep my inspiration fresh.

Madeline Isaac James | White Gallery London 2012 | Photography Credit: Christopher Dadey

Nu Bride: Who are your favourite designers?

Natalie Gladman: Edith Head; Christian Dior; and Yves Saint Laurent.

Nu Bride: What is the one aspect you love most about your job?

Natalie Gladman: Visualising and creating a dress which has such a strong emotional attachment to it – a dress that a bride loves and cherishes – but most of all, having the honour of one of my designs being a small part of a couple’s wedding day.

Nu Bride: What exciting things can we look out for in your 2013 range?

Natalie Gladman: I am SO excited about the 2013 Collection – it was inspired by my childhood memories of my mother’s fabulous ball-gowns and evening dresses – I remember the look, feel and sound of those dresses and I wanted to design a collection around this. With inspiration from the 1950’s, 1960’s and 1970’s, I have (as usual) an eclectic collection of gowns using silk tulle, laces, silk chiffons and silk Shantung in abundance! (Nu Bride: I am excited about it too and I already have my dress!)

Madeline Isaac James | Dress: LORI | Flower girl dress: LORI LEE | Photography: Naomi Kenton | Venue: Farnham Castle (Ps. That is Natalie’s gorgeous daughter Madeline modelling the flower girl dress and the lovely Elizabeth Pick)

Nu Bride: How long does it take you to design a full collection from start to finish?

Natalie Gladman: I usually start designing the next collection just over a year in advance. For example, the designs of the 2013 Collection were finalised from August to October 2011 (although I will have sketched many well before then) – we then go into sample production and make any adjustments necessary before launching the collection to the trade in May 2012, so a 7-9 month process. The dresses that I launch in May will be available in selected bridal shops by September 2012.

Nu Bride: What sort of buyers do you look for to showcase your collection in their stores?

Natalie Gladman: We want to work with buyers and shops who fully understand the importance of providing not only exceptional gowns, but also provide exceptional customer service. Buying a wedding gown is such an exciting time and working with a shop that looks after their brides from start to finish is massively important to us. We want Madeline Isaac-James brides to not only love their dress, but also have fond and happy memories of their bridal shopping experience. ( Nu Bride: I certainly experienced that fondness at BOA Boutique!)

Nu Bride: Is there anything else you would like to share with my fabulous followers? ;o)

Natalie Gladman: Just one of my favourite quotes: “Life is not measured by the breaths you take, but by the moments that take your breath away”. 😉

Thank you so much Natalie – what did I tell you readers – a true delight!

Madeline Isaac James is a bridal design company owned by renowned designer Natalie Gladman.
Natalie designs exquisite, beautiful, unique and elegant gowns, with an emphasis on excellent style and cut using fabrics such as lace, silk chiffons, taffeta, organza, satin, charmeuse silk and Swarovski crystals.
Madeline Isaac James has two exclusive boutiques , in Farnborough, Hampshire, and in Ashford, Kent. Designs are also stocked at bridal boutiques nationwide.
For further information and to check stockists in your local area please visit:
+44 (0)7824 388151
© Nu Bride 2012

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