Renowned designer Gill Harvey has brought together her years of experience to create the Gill Harvey Collection.
The success of her bridal collection Eliza Jane Howell has inspired Gill to change the look of her occasion wear collection and design a much needed alternative to the traditional mother of the bride formula. The Gill Harvey Collection, the winner of the Best Occasion Wear Collection 2019 creates stylish and glamourous event dresses for women who want to stand out from the crowd.
WATCH: Gill Harvey new collection dresses being handmade in the factory.
An interview with Gill Harvey
Tell us about The Gill Harvey Collection, when it launched, how it came to be?
It was seven years ago that Andrea Cutts and I started working together. We had known each other for many years and I had always admired Andrea’s individual style and marketing skills. It was at this point that we created the ‘Eliza Jane Howell’ Bridal Brand and reinvented the ‘Gill Harvey’ occasion wear collection. We both felt that Bridal gowns had become an old fashioned cliche and the mother of the bride collections available were not catering to today’s modern woman.
Who is your customer?
We are aiming to dress today’s modern mother of the bride who is more fashion aware than her mother. This is a stylish woman who has developed her own personal image and does not want to look like she is wearing ‘fancy dress’ to her daughter’s wedding.
Where does your inspiration come from for this collection?
We aim to make stunning, hand made gowns often with intricate hand beading and embellishments. Our newest colour combos have been inspired by the beautiful wild peacocks of India.
How did it feel to win at this year’s bridal buyer awards? What does it mean to you to win?
We were thrilled and shocked at winning the award. When you do not expect to win an award and then do win, the feeling is amazing. Thank you Bridal Buyer. The reaction from the industry has been so wonderful. We have enjoyed every moment.
Do you have a stand out favourite piece from the most recent collection?
I love the new ‘Peacock inspired’ pieces.
What trends do you see becoming popular in mother of the bride/occasion wear fashion?
I found the recent ‘Dior’ exhibition at the V&A in London a fabulous source of inspiration. I can see a move towards longer, softer skirted gowns with glamorous, hand beaded embellishments – just a touch of vintage dressing.
What are your key considerations when designing for the Gill Harvey Collection?
I could easily be a mother of the bride these days and would not want to dive out of my fashion comfort zone for a wedding. Women of my age have grown up with fashion and we want to look like the best version of ourselves on our daughter’s wedding day.
Are you able to personalise the designs to suit customers’ specific needs?
Absolutely. From our Connaught Street Boutique, I often create Bespoke gowns for lour loyal clientele. As every beaded gown is totally hand made, I am able to tweak the dress to suit the customer. This includes special colours, adding longer sleeves or changing a neckline shape – whatever the customer requires! And the stockists of our Gill Harvey beaded dresses are able to offer this service too. We can do whatever it takes to make our dresses fit any shape
How has your background influenced your approach to creating occasion wear?
I grew up watching repeats of old black and white movies. The costumes designed by the great Edith Head epitomised Hollywood’s Golden Era. I was constantly inspired by the gowns worn by the actresses Grace Kelly, Audrey Hepburn, Marilyn Monroe to name but a few. Also, my mother loved glamorous clothes and her wardrobe of stunning cocktail and evening gowns still inspires me today.
What would you say has been your career highlight so far?
Winning this award and starting to dress some Hollywood royalty next season.
Is there much cross over between your two labels?
Definitely. The mother and daughter often shop together for each others gowns. I have to appeal to both age groups and their sense of style. I try to design gowns in both the ‘Eliza Jane Howell’ and ‘Gill Harvey’ collections that can compliment each other.
What can we expect from the Gill Harvey Collection and Eliza Jane Howell over the next year?
I am about to start the 2021 collections and I am excited. There will be more colours added and even more glamour on show. Otherwise my lips are sealed until the collections launch!