Hello and welcome. I am Soulla, the founder and director of Cristiano Couture London; designers in evening wear and bridesmaid dresses and proudly based in London – our designs are created from start to finish here. I established Cristiano Couture London in 2017, having spent 12 years prior to this in the banking and financial sector. How did I end up in the fashion industry you are wondering…well I’m sharing my story with you all here.
In 2014 my lovely husband Adam asked me to marry him. Our wedding was swiftly booked for August 2015 at a venue in Cyprus and so begun the excitement and full time job of planning a wedding. My two closest friends and my two sisters were to be my bridesmaids. All gorgeous but with very different styles and body shapes. We began exchanging group chat pictures of what we liked and finally found one we all loved. Problem was, it was online only and the retailer was based in china. We took a chance on it and 14 days later, we had it in the flesh, looking nothing like the photo!! The colour was different, the fabric was awful, the fit was hideous, we couldn’t believe what had arrived. After 7 weeks of emails and telephone conversations to china, I finally got a refund and it was back to the drawing board. Everything reasonable in price was cheap in quality and the higher end dresses were quality but very expensive and exceeded my budget. There was nothing in the middle. In the end, we settled on one that none of us were over the moon about but my amazing Bridesmaid’s went with it- to keep me happy and sane! I couldn’t believe there were no quality middle range priced bridesmaid dresses. Why were they all so cheaply made? Why were they all flowy? I was looking for fitted and classic? You can see where this is going… A year on, I fell pregnant and soon begun to consider where my career was headed now that I was to be a mum. I had always dreamed of having my own company and have always enjoyed making people feel good so I wanted to do something that would help others. As I got heavier and began to spend more time on the sofa, my thoughts turned to bridesmaid dresses and my stressful experience the year before. I ordered myself a sketch pad and started designing some dresses. Could it be possible to create dresses that women wanted at a reasonable price – in lots of styles and colours?
My first 2 styles were very basic but classic. As I knew what I wanted to do now, I started to tell friends and family about my sofa dream and was introduced to some very talented people in the industry who still to this day advise me and have supported me on this journey; I would be nowhere without them. After many meetings, sketches, travelling the country to find the best fabrics, my first designs were finally in production. My son Cristiano arrived a few weeks after this so production had to stop as my main priority at that time was to look after my son and be with my family. During those first four months of sleepless nights, constant nappy changing and colic, I did start to wonder if I would ever go back my dresses.
Very soon I would have to make the big decision of what to do once my maternity leave ended. With Adam’s support, I finally got the courage to leave my 9-5 job and focus on my dream; the birth of Cristiano inspiring the birth of Cristiano Couture London. I’d never been more scared in my life, but I knew I had 100% support from the people around me.
The week I handed in my notice was also the week I met with the team to see how production was going. I saw my first two designs come to life. It was amazing to see how it comes together. As I wasn’t from a fashion background I enrolled myself onto a distance learning fashion design course, learning the basics whilst still looking after Cristiano and have continued to complete short courses to keep myself up to date in the fashion world. It’s a world that’s constantly evolving and styles change each year, so I need to ensure that the brand keeps up. We first launched on Instagram in October 2017, receiving an insane response. We made 50 dresses in our first 2 designs and sold out in 2 weeks. I received so many messages from Brides with the same issues I had experienced when looking for bridesmaids dresses. I instantly knew this was going to be what I wanted to do and I continue to enjoy meeting and connecting with new brides, it’s the most special day in their lives and I get to be a part of it.
A year on we have proudly produced nearly 500 gowns and I am so grateful to our dedicated followers and amazing production team. I am also very lucky to have such an amazing family who help look after Cristiano so I can follow my dreams and make all this possible. This is only just the beginning for us…… We hope you love our page and find your perfect evening gowns and bridesmaids dresses with Cristiano Couture London.
Love Soulla x