Oh So Hitched meets Katya Shehurina, the designer and founder of the vintage inspired wedding dress label KATYA KATYA SHEHURINA. A graduate from the highly coveted ESMOD fashion design school, Katya talks about her home of Latvia, being an ‘alternative’ bride and the inspiration behind those incredible lace wedding dresses…
Hi Katya – when did you launch KATYA KATYA SHEHURINA and how did you come to launch your wedding dress boutique in Soho?
We opened our flagship boutique shop four and a half years ago in Kingly Court and at the time it wasn’t bridal, it was a ready-to-wear fashion line which we introduced to the catwalk each season.
The haute couture evening dresses became so popular that it pushed us to make a separate bridal line. As Kingly Court became more of a food destination, we decided to move into the shop off Brewer Street in Smiths Court which was a perfect location for the discerning London bride.
What kinds of brides wear KATYA KATYA SHEHURINA wedding dresses?
I’ve discussed this with many magazine editors and I generally describe our brides as being progressive and avant-garde but many of them still want to retain some of the features you’ll find in a traditional wedding dress.
They come to us because they aren’t used to wearing ball gowns and corsets and they don’t see themselves as a ‘princess’. There’s definitely a clientele for the more traditional corseted gowns, but many brides these days want to feel more comfortable in themselves on their wedding day. I think our dresses allow them to do that.
The vast majority of your dresses are made from lace – why is this?
Yes. I think lace will stay with us forever and I can’t name a decade when it wasn’t popular. What could be more feminine than lace?
Are your dresses suitable for a particular type of wedding?
They are described as a modern ‘vintage inspired’ bridal collection but interestingly, they can be styled in so many different ways. So whether you’re going for Boho in the country, a city wedding or even a formal church ceremony, the designs are so adaptable. When I got married, I wore a leather jacket on top of mine!
One of the talking points about your dresses is the separate slip that brides wear underneath the dress, allowing the colour to show through the lace. Why has this become so popular?
I’ve always had the unique slips in my designs and the more brides I speak to, the more we’ve started to see a trend for creating different dress looks throughout the wedding day. Right now, we’re having requests from brides to have two different coloured slips – perhaps one nude for the ceremony and a red or blue slip for the reception – and they ask us to help them change their day and night look by changing the accessories and belt. Many brides have since told us that their guests couldn’t believe it was the same dress.
How is the wedding market different in Latvia?
The only difference is we don’t have such long engagements because there isn’t such a long wait to find a venue than over here – so to get married within three to six months is quite normal!
Where do you find your inspiration?
I get ideas from all over the place but some of my key places are Pinterest, and adapting to brides’ needs. I get a lot of my ideas from historical costumes too – in the past, dress makers paid incredible attention to the detail of clothes which is incredibly inspiring.
Is KATYA KATYA SHEHURINA particularly popular for brides who are holding destination weddings in hotter climates?
Absolutely. You don’t need to iron our dresses and they’re ever so easy to put on. So if you’re flying somewhere and there’s just the two of you or you don’t have friends or relatives to help you get in and out of your wedding dress, it’s absolutely fine, because they just slip on. What’s also great about the Katya Katya Shehurina dresses is they are so light and the slips underneath are made from microfibre. That means you can transport them on the plane very easily and the fabric is completely breathable against your skin.
Your own wedding was quite unique. Tell us about it.
Yes, my wedding wasn’t traditional at all. It was in an abandoned airport in Latvia. My husband is a wedding photographer who often photographs the same types of weddings every day, so we both wanted something very creative and different. I think we got that! We had lots of fun with the photography. Above all, it was very relaxed and was basically a great party with friends and family.
What does the life of a wedding dress designer involve?
I generally do four trade shows in Paris each year and one in London, as well as bridal shows and trunk shows so I am pretty much travelling each month.
The studio is Latvia has a team of around 20 people and my typical day involves meeting with brides, checking orders, and generally keeping the business in order so that everything is happening when it should be!
What is your lifestyle and home life in Latvia like?
I live in a city flat with my husband and daughter and we have a dog too, so it’s a lively home life. I guess it’s quite a creative and vibrant flat. There are always flowers on the table, we mix lots of modern with vintage décor and you’ll find a wall of different mirrors next to my husband’s collection of vinyls. It’s constantly changing. Having a baby means our lives are very fast too, as you have to be particularly productive if you are going to juggle working life with being a mother… but we make it work!
What do you like about London?
I love everything about London. It’s a huge inspiration and has lots of creativity – each time I come back there’s something new.
Often when you live in a city, you become so used to it, you stop noticing its character. When I lived in Paris, I didn’t appreciate just how beautiful it was, but whenever I visit now for my work, I make sure it’s all planned so I get to see as much of the city as I can.
What tips would you offer brides-to-be who are about to start their wedding dress search?
– Try to imagine yourself in your wedding pictures and try to get an understanding of how you want to look and feel on your day. This should help steer your choice of dress.
– Try to listen to your heart and not to anyone else.
– Relax and have fun and enjoy the process!
Is there any other advice you can offer from seeing brides go through this process all the time?
I would just say, try not to get so stressed! I see so many brides who find the wedding process so stressful and sometimes it’s not helped by the industry. It’s such an enjoyable process and it doesn’t matter if the bride comes to the shop alone or with friends, or you go against the tradition in anyway. Stay true to yourself, and if that means having a glass of champagne in the process or trying on more than five dresses, then do it!
Thank you to Katya for her interview with Oh So Hitched. For more information about KATYA KATYA SHEHURINA, visit their website Shehurina.com.
Until next time x