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Wonder Woman Wednesday: Suzanne Neville

The prominent British designer Suzanne Neville is next up in our Wonder Woman Wednesday series…

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Renowned British designer, Suzanne Neville is adored for her beautiful handcrafting and corsetry techniques alongside her signature structured bodices and incredibly diverse collections. With stores in both London and Cheshire, the designer also works with some of the best bridal boutiques across the UK.

Alongside her bridal line, Suzanne also designs couture eveningwear for celebrities such as Michelle Keegan, Suranne Jones and Holly Willoughby, meaning she has made an extraordinary mark on both the bridal and mainstream fashion industries in the UK.

Can you tell us about your background and how you got into design?

I grew up in North West London and, in fact, still live there now. From a very young age, I was always creative and artistic and this led to my passion and love for design. I studied at the prestigious London College of fashion and within a year of graduating, started my bridal business. That was almost 30 years ago now, and so much has changed in that time! The business now employs over 45 people and has three ateliers.

Read More: Suzanne Neville’s Belle Époque

Can you tell us more about your job?

I absolutely love my job! There are so many different elements of it - from the creative side, which includes designing and pattern cutting and the more business side of things, which includes running the business and managing the atelier with my team. There’s never a quiet day!

My favourite part of the job is meeting my brides, it always has been! It’s such an amazing feeling designing the most important dress a woman will ever wear and I’m honoured to be part of that.

What is a typical day like for you?

A typical day starts quite early for me, usually around 6am. It’s to the production studio first where I’ll go through dress orders, allocate dresses to particular seamstresses – each of whom has their own specialities – and work the rest of the day with my team.

Throughout the day, I’ll speak with my PR team about upcoming events, social media and photoshoots, my business partners and finally the Knightsbridge showroom about any the bespoke gowns and special orders. However, other days can involved visits from fabric suppliers, client fittings ad trips away for designer days.

My job is my hobby so my life totally revolves around it, which makes me so fulfilled! On top of that, I am incredibly lucky to have a wonderful family to come home to and switch off at the end of the day.

What are your secrets to success?

There is no secret! It’s just pure hard work and a passion for what you do. Bridal and couture is a life-changing industry, so you have to enjoy it. My love for it grows each and every year and right now, with success in America as well as the UK, it’s a very exciting time.

I’m lucky to have such an amazing team behind me, along with fantastic business partners like Jane and Tony Hampton. Jane runs the wholesale side of the business, dealing with UK and international stores, while Tony handles all of the business and financing. Both of them work extremely hard which makes for such a successful team.

A good business is where everyone works together to form a strong team. Every single member of staff is highly valued in the company and many of them have been working with us for 10-20 years, including our seamstresses.

Read More: Suzanne Neville’s Way

What’s your greatest achievement so far?

Other than my children, I think one of my greatest achievements would be our success in America. We have shown our gowns at New York Bridal Week for the past 12 years now and have steadily increased our stockist across the states. This year the demand has been so high we have had to turn shops away as we already have those areas covered. It’s taken a long time to be recognised there but I feel like we’ve finally made it.

Alongside this, interest in our evening wear has increased with more and more clientele wearing our creations on the red carpet and on TV.

Who’s your greatest female inspiration?

One of our longstanding clients Nicola Mendlesohn has just set up the Follicular Lymphoma Foundation after being diagnosed with the disease herself. This incurable blood cancer needs research to help find a cure. Nicola is a real Wonder Woman, not only does she have four children and a husband, but she is also Vice President at Facebook and Instagram and still finds time to help others.

Can you give us three interesting facts about yourself?

  • I got married at the real Downton Abbey (Highclere Castle)
  • I have four cats – I’m a self-confessed mad cat lady
  • I always wear black and I drink too much Diet Coke!

Want to read more from our Wonder Women? Take a look at Melanie Metcalfe’s profile here.

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