A CELEBRATION OF LOVE
It’s fair to say we’ve an obsession with sparkle and lust over every pretty piece of jewellery that lands on our screens here at B.LOVED HQ. In a world where gorgeous accessories are part of the norm, it takes quite a lot for us to be amazed, but the lady we’re meeting today constantly wows us with her designs. Vicky, owner and creative director at luxury bridal accessories studio Victoria Millésime, takes inspiration from the past to make the most exquisite bridal adornments. Her style sets her apart from the crowd, so with the launch of her new website and Celebration Collection this month, we thought we’d catch up with Vicky to find out more…
Hi Vicky! Can you tell us a little bit about Victoria Millésime? From our design studio in London we design and hand make beautiful bridal headpieces, crowns and accessories and we spend our days happily surrounded by beautiful, sparkly things and listening to Radio 4.
We have several made to order collections as well as a constantly changing selection of vintage headpieces.
What is your background and how does that experience help you now? I worked for over a decade in finance (using the other half of my brain!), before taking the leap into full-time self-employment. That experience, while so very very different from working in the creative industry, really helped me to understand how to run a business as a professional. While I am passionate about what I do as owner of Victoria Millésime, I also still see it as a business and try not to become too emotionally involved in small issues, which can be hard to do at times!
What motivated you to set up your own business? I have been designing and making jewellery since I was a child, so when I was getting married in 2009, I made my own headpiece to perfectly match my dress. I simply fell in love with the creativity and beauty of designing bridal accessories – they are theatrical, ethereal and delicately feminine all at once. Victoria Millésime was launched that same year and has grown from year to year. I have loved being part of this burgeoning wedding industry: the last 7 years has seen an explosion of talent in small businesses, be that blogs, photographers, wedding planners or designers (amongst many others). The support and encouragement I have received from this closely knit community, as well as all my lovely brides over the years, has really helped me take my business from strength to strength.
What kind of brides do you work with? My designs tend to be a little different from mainstream bridal accessories – I like to design pieces to make a little more of a statement. The quality of materials and contrast of setting different components unexpectedly against each other (lace and metals, rhinestones and pearls) gives each piece an individual personality. So my brides also tend to be looking for something a little different to what they typically see in boutiques
What’s your starting point when designing a bridal accessory and how do you develop the designs? I’m constantly inspired by the materials I work with – seeing a beautiful gemstone or piece of French lace instantly gets my imagination going. While I do keep a close eye on developments in bridal fashion, I am not overly driven by current trends, as I prefer to design pieces that will be beautiful this year, next year and for many years to come. I like to think my designs will become treasured heirlooms for future generations to come.
What styles and options can you offer? I work with a large variety of materials, including freshwater pearls, lace, vintage components, silk flowers, Swarovski crystals, and delicate beading. We offer most of our pieces in gold or silver, and many now in rose gold as well, which is hugely popular in 2016.
In addition, we take on many bespoke designs every year and are always happy to guide brides in designing and creating a piece as individual as they are.
We have recently launched a beautiful veil collection, with all veils available in both illusion tulle and luxurious silk tulle. The silk tulle is really a true indulgence (and exquisite heirloom investment!) and surprisingly affordable.
What makes your pieces unique? Victoria Millésime pieces tend to be a little different from mainstream bridal accessories – as I like to design pieces to make a little more of a statement. I love juxtaposing different materials unexpectedly together, layering lace with beading, vintage components and new. We use only the best quality materials that we have spent years sourcing from around the world.
And of course, each piece is handmade in the UK.
What’s the average time you spend creating a headpiece? Depending on the complexity of the piece, some smaller pieces take a few hours while the more elaborately beaded pieces with lots of wire-work can take several days.
Who do you respect and admire in the design world? I’m a little obsessed with Miriam Haskell’s jewellery designs. She was an American designer who made high end costume jewellery an affordable luxury, worn by many celebrities in her day. Apparently Joan Crawford owned a set of almost every Haskell ever produced, from the 1920s through to the 1960s!
However, with my female entrepreneur hat on, I am hugely inspired by modern women who have made massive successes out of their creative businesses like Cath Kidston and Kirsty Allsop. I also think Kirsty is fabulous, I just love her frank and direct style.
What is your take on trends? I think we are all influenced by trends, no matter how much we think we ignore them. I remember over the last decade that I have at times laughed at new trends like pointy-toed shoes, jeggings, etc., but after these things have been in fashion for a while they become the norm and you find yourself adapting to them! Equally, in the wedding industry, when I was married 7 years ago, strapless dresses were everywhere, and I chose one myself to wear to my wedding. Now, however, the trend is for short or even long sleeves, and I think they’re just exquisite!
So where trends are subtle and classic, I think we all absorb and follow them. I interpret wedding jewellery trends in my own way to keep my pieces classic, to ensure they are loved years down the line when they are handed down to the next generation.
What challenges have you set yourself for the next 12 months? Having recently gone full time with the business, I would like to see growth to allow me to continue to invest in and build the Victoria Millésime brand, both in the UK and abroad. I am also trying to be a little more organised, and be better about delegating and outsourcing. As a small business owner, it is very tempting to try to do everything yourself, but actually that’s not the best approach for me or my business.