Her dresses make you think of old movies and Victorian lawn parties, but what's coolest about Catherine is that all of the romance and nostalgia brides talk about when trying on her designs could very well have been inspired by a spider's web she found hiking in Hong Kong.
What inspires your aesthetic, and why do you think so many brides respond to it?
Going to antique markets and looking for Victorian and Edwardian textiles, garments, and handwork. I've always had a fascination with history. Anything from a bygone era that I think might be forgotten, I want to get a hold of and bring back to life in a way that's workable for today's woman. We balance this love for fine detailing with the other half of our design approach, which is to ergonomically enhance the shape of a woman's body.
Your designs from the L and O collections have distinct focal points, be it lace or graphic beading. Talk us through a few?
The original inspiration for the embroidery and 3D flowers on Onyx came from an Edwardian blouse I found at Portobello Market in London. I often use vintage French laces as a starting point; I love the borders. Ortensia on the other hand was very nature-inspired. I was hiking in Hong Kong one morning and the way dewdrops lined up on a spider's web caught my eye. I like to put emphasis on the backs of my dresses; a spiritual friend once told me that your back represents your free will.
Where do the names of your gowns come from?
We actually go to babynames.com! We define our seasons alphabetically, so an entire season will begin with the same letter. We try to stay away from the not-so-cool names obviously, and there's a bit of fantasy in there too.
Why do you prefer to create custom laces and what other types of embellishments do you enjoy working with?
Generally laces off the shelf are repeat patterns and all-over design, so your opportunity to sculpt the body is limited and you don't get the same sense of consideration. Lately we've been working more with beading. I like metal-y bits, and then giving them an antique finish; pearls too.
What is your ideal for how a bride will look and feel on her wedding day?
Selfishly a lot of it comes back to what I would feel good wearing. I think that's what's great about being a woman designer. I try on everything. When I fall in love with a piece of vintage textile I'll start placing it here or there on myself, looking to see where that artwork or particular styling point sits best on the body. You want to feel like the embodiment of femininity on your wedding day, and there are ways to achieve a very feminine look through precise design.