Caroline Castigliano is one the industry’s most discerning designers, 5 Star Weddings finds out what the Castigliano experience is, inspiration for the latest collection and of course, the designer’s involvement in the royal wedding.
5 Star Weddings: Caroline, the last few months must have been super busy for you – tell us about your involvement in the royal wedding?
Caroline Castigliano: I designed outfits for a group of guests at the wedding, including a purple 50’s-style dress for Alice Van Cutsem, who is a very dear friend of the royal couple. The dress was fitted at the waist with a bow, along with beautiful silk duchess piping and French lace purple sleeves. We also had a hat designed especially to go with the dress. I loved doing her evening dress because the evening celebration was so personal to William and Kate; this was the celebration they wanted with their true friends, where everyone really let their hair down and no longer had to conform!
5 Star Weddings: You were commenting for the BBC and ITV on the day -what was the atmosphere like in the studio and around Buckingham Palace?
Caroline Castigliano: It was a great honour to be involved in the coverage of such an historic event, with the whole world watching. Everyone was hugely excited on the day and it was fantastic to be part of the buzz surrounding a wedding that will be remembered for many years to come.
5 Star Weddings: What were the highlights for you as a designer?
Caroline Castigliano: The highlights for me were being part of an event where every designer in the world wanted to be involved and show their style and creativity. I not only had the opportunity to commentate on my opinions of others in my field but of course also design for a number of the guests. It was very exciting and I thoroughly enjoyed all the television exposure, so all in all it was a great experience
5 Star Weddings: You’ve said that every designer, including yourself, would have been sketching designs prior to Catherine Middleton’s selection – what sort of dress did you initially see her in? Was it similar to what she wore?
Caroline Castigliano: Kate Middleton is a fabulous looking girl and with her height, wonderful, petite features and amazing waist line, I proposed a classic, timeless dress, possibly in lace, with corseting that would enhance her waist. Which is very similar to what she actually wore! She looked absolutely stunning on her big day and she chose a style that will last forever.
5 Star Weddings: Tell us about your latest bridal collections and your inspirations
Caroline Castigliano: Every bride deserves to look and feel her most beautiful on her wedding day and the 2011/12 collection is designed to do just that.
My ethos is to design for women that love style and appreciate beautiful fabrics and quality workmanship. My gowns are simplistic, stylish and luxurious. In 2011/12 my entire inspiration was to continue to develop a relaxed glamour collection, a look that is sensual and glamorous with a casual feel about it.
In this year’s evening and event wear collection, we have short dresses that are perfect for a party as well as slightly more formal occasions, such as Ascot, Henley or a family or friend’s wedding. The collection also includes structured, bias and soft floaty gowns. I love designing evening wear, it is really expanding my creativity, and the red carpet glamour look is just very exciting right now.
5 Star Weddings: What fabrics and accessories are you favouring at the moment?
Caroline Castigliano: I love soft organza and satin georgette – it gives a gown an expression of understated feminine glamour. Chantilly lace is being used more adding a more sophisticated look. Accessories at the moment have a strong vintage feel that I love – we are using lots of vintage belts and headpieces which can really change the look of a very simple dress and suddenly creating a glamorous, understated feel.
5 Star Wedding Directory: You have 6 beautiful boutiques across the UK, what is the experience that comes with trying on a Caroline Castigliano dress?
Caroline Castigliano: We work with our brides so they really understand their body and what works and what doesn’t. It is critical that when a bride chooses her gown she is completely confident with her decision and knows it fulfils her dream in every way.
On arrival, a bride-to-be is met by a member of our highly skilled team. Our consultations are an hour and a half, during which we spend time getting to know the bride-to-be, her style and the vision she has for her wedding day. It’s a special experience that the bride can enjoy with her bridesmaids and her mother. We make sure everyone feels relaxed and at ease, with a glass of champagne or wine in hand! We pride ourselves on exceptional customer service and I get incredible fulfilment from being involved in such an important part of their day.
5 Star Weddings: Do you ever travel abroad for fittings? Anywhere glamorous?
Caroline Castigliano: Every year we get a huge number of brides who travel from all over the world to our flagship boutique in Knightsbridge to choose their dream gown. The collection is also now available in Saudi Arabia, Hong Kong, New York and Ireland, with more international stockists to follow in the coming year. In October I’ll be travelling to New York to display my collection at New York Bridal Fashion Week for the first time, which I’m very excited about.
5 Star Weddings: You are obviously an iconic designer within the industry, whose style/designs do you most admire?
Caroline Castigliano: I love Dolce & Gabbana. The structure and cut of their designs can make anyone look sensational.
5 Star Weddings: What in your opinion, makes a 5 Star Wedding?
Caroline Castigliano: The love and support of family and friends is priceless, both on the big day and during the build up …and a wedding dress that makes the bride feel more beautiful and confident than she has ever felt before.