Meet Sarah Treble, wedding dress designer extra-ordinare! Sarah runs her own couture and bespoke bridal dress business in the centre of the beautiful city of Exeter. Sarah has a bridal couture collection or, if preferred, brides-to-be can have a bespoke dress designed especially for the individual client.
Even as a young girl, Sarah loved to wrap herself in fabrics and would even make dress patterns for herself
Bringing Wedding Dress Couture To Exeter
Sarah was born in Exeter and now runs her business in the city centre just off the Cathedral Green. She has worked for design houses in the UK, France and Italy before starting her own business in London in 2000. She moved back to Exeter after starting a family.
Sarah has always been interested in dress design. Even as a little girl she wrapped herself in fabrics and started made dress patterns. She was however encouraged to do more academic subjects at school and took science “A” Levels and then a degree in psychology in London. However immediately afterwards she returned to her love of dress design and took a course at St Martins College of Art in London.
Sarah’s career went from strength to strength and she worked in Rome, Paris and London as Head Designer for the well-known names in haute couture – Valentino, Paul Costelloe and Daniel Hechte.
She particularly enjoyed living in Florence and commuting to Rome. The commute from the suburbs to London is such a different experience.
A Devon Designer Creating Art
Sarah began her bridal-wear business because she wanted to make bespoke dresses, and to be involved in the whole process from design, pattern cutting, machining to the final product. She loves to work with the people who actually wear her bridal gowns. She really sees herself as an artist and each dress is a work of art.
Working for herself has brought Sarah independence. Before as an employee she had to compromise on her own ideas and sometimes change designs to suit others. There really was no way to control or even maintain ownership of her designs. Being her own boss and having artistic freedom is very important to Sarah.
She enjoys working with brides to be. It is an emotional time for a woman and Sarah works through the process – and the emotions with each new bride. While, in general, prospective brides are happy – they are also often stressed. Sarah’s role in the wedding celebrations is such an important one, she relishes the joy her contribution to the process brings.
The dress is such a central piece of the wedding jigsaw, women are anxious to get everything right. Sarah listens to their ideas and makes alternative suggestions when required to ensure that the bride is 100% happy with the final result.
Sarah does all the work, from design through to finished item. Every stitch, every cut is lovingly done. A dress is made over a period of 6-8 months with several fittings and discussions, so quite a strong relationship is built with the client during that time.
She ensures the brides to be are relaxed when in her studio – it is comfortable and personal, bright yet cosy, when compared to an off the peg, larger bridal shop. Every bride is different and every dress is special to that person.
She likes to think she offers a special service as she works so closely with her customer. She treats each person as an individual ensuring each dress design suits the client’s personality as well as her body shape and size. The bride to be gets Sarah’s undivided attention and is in control of her dress.
Sarah remembers well the first wedding dress she made. It was for a young woman whose wedding ceremony was to be held on the QE2. The ship was docked in New York – and after the wedding the guests disembarked the couple remained on the ship went on their honeymoon cruise! A very nice way to do it.
Sarah received a note from the mother of a bride recently that said :
I wanted to let you know how wonderful Alice’s dress was. She looked so beautiful in it, and was so happy in it as well… she wore it through to the last dance at 1 am, and loved every minute of it. So many people were so complementary about the dress; it was so simple to put on and wear, and so sumptuous and special at the same time. Thank you very much for creating it so beautifully. It really was the dream dress for the perfect wedding….
London To The South West
Sarah loved the buzz of London, but when she had children Sarah headed back to the South-West so her children could experience all that she had when growing up. Namely, stunning beaches, open spaces and a community.
Sarah lives in the beautiful village of Topsham – just outside Exeter on the river Exe. It is a quiet place with a strong community feel and an interesting history. She is very happy with Topsham’s primary school for her children too. Many of Sarah’s family members live in the South-West so it was good to be near them again.
Sarah loves to walk in the morning – especially along the Goat Walk in Topsham. She devises new designs during these walks often inspired by the nature around her – trees, flowers, birds, other peoples clothes!
A Special Wedding Dress
Sarah creates a collection each year which is available from her studio and at one London stockist. Bridal magazines often showcase dresses from her collections. They take the dresses and organise photo shoots with professional models for the magazine articles.
Whether you choose a dress from the collection or purchase a bespoke design, the dress is made to fit you perfectly. There will be fittings of the toile which means the dress design is initially made up in linen to check the fit. There will be at least two such fittings. Once Sarah is satisfied that she has the perfect fit the dress is made up in the wedding dress fabrics.
The bride who wore the dress shown below wanted her father’s favourite rose incorporated into the design as he owned a nursery where he grew roses, and this was the amazing result!
If a dress is bespoke, the process is the same, but the design is from scratch. You may know exactly what you want – or have no idea at all – either way Sarah will work with you to design the perfect wedding dress.
If you want to incorporate something special, or personal on your dress such as some antique lace, a piece of your Mother’s wedding dress, some fabric your grandmother gave to you, or something that you just love, then talk to Sarah about your ideas and she will incorporate it in some wonderful way.
The bride who wore the dress above wanted her father’s favourite rose incorporated into the design as he owned a nursery where he grew roses, and this was the amazing result! I am sure her father was very proud!
Sarah is currently working on a dress for a famous celebrity but her name cannot be revealed until after the wedding!
From Exeter To Australia!
About 50% of Sarah’s customers currently come from the South-West. The remainder are mostly from the UK but she has had a customer from as far away as Australia! People enjoy coming to Exeter to have their fittings and often stay for a couple of days making a short break at the same time. Sarah will travel to the customer to do a fitting as far as London, but most customers opt to visit Devon instead.
Customers hear about wedding dresses through word of mouth, bridal magazines and through her website. She has built up a good relationship with the bridal press so they often feature her creative work.
Sarah also finds networking easy in the South-West as she people seem more inter-connected than they are in London.
If you would like to talk to Sarah about your wedding dress you can find her through her website www.sarahtreble.co.uk