Halfpenny London Founder Kate Halfpenny on Bridal Fashion & Celebrity Styling
Designing a bride's wedding dress on her special day is something that requires time and meticulous attention to detail. The vision in white is often the most striking and memorable feature of any nuptials, and for Kate Halfpenny, she's made it her lifelong dream to recreate this experience time and time again through the designs of her dresses at Halfpenny London.
Halfpenny's success in the fashion industry is one to be highlighted. After graduating with a BA Honours degree in Fashion Design and a master's in textile design from London’s prestigious Central St Martins, Halfpenny hustled her way into the couture industry under Vivienne Westwood and costume designers in The New Renaissance. Her later profession as a freelance stylist caught the attention of celebrities and her masterful crafts were then cast into the public eye. From Rihanna, and Kate Moss to Emilia Fox (who wore Halfpenny's silk floral creations on her wedding day), the stylist has worked with many respected names and dazzled them into gorgeous red-carpet looks over the years.
In 2005, Halfpenny founded the bridal fashion brand Halfpenny London as her first venture which has since become one of the leading high-end bridal and eveningwear brands in the UK. We chat with Kate Halfpenny about her career in high fashion.
1. What do fashion and bridal fashion mean to you?
For me, it’s all about self expression. When I was growing up, I used clothes as the means with which to express myself and to find my tribe. Clothes have power and I love being able to empower women to feel like the best version of themselves when wearing my dresses. I used to draw big, beautiful gowns when I was a child and, as I got older, I began to understand the opportunity to create magic was even more evident when it came to wedding dresses than with ready-to-wear, so it was natural for me to specialise in bridal.
2. Having styled celebrities like Kate Moss and Rihanna, can you share with us your creative and styling journey?
It all starts with the individual. Every process is different because every person is different so, when styling or working with a bride, I pay great attention when they talk. Often, what they don’t want informs me more than what they do! From there we have fun and experiment with different pieces, all the time honing and refining that person’s unique vision until they look and feel incredible. It’s such a rewarding process, especially working with brides, to see a person really feel like themselves and look confident.
3. How do you define sustainability in a brand?
Being sustainable is something myself and my team are so passionate about. It’s a goal we’re working towards as we’re not there yet. We’re improving all the time and designing with a conscience. One of the wonderful things about wedding dresses is that they’re made to order so we don’t have any surplus stock and minimal waste. Any fabric off-cuts are either repurposed by using them as trim, or embellishments for new collections, or they’re donated to universities or schools to inspire the next generation. We have big plans for the future and we’ll get there one step at a time.
4. What are you inspired by?
I adore dressing women and my brides are a constant inspiration for me. I’m inspired by everything from architecture to nature and lots of other places. Sometimes the idea for a dress evolves as soon as I touch a certain fabric or a specific trim. I’m always looking for the beauty within the cracks. A petrified flower can be so magical, it makes me think of the petticoats in a skirt. If you’re ever stuck, just step out into nature. There’s no excuse not to be inspired.
'I’m always looking for the beauty within the cracks. A petrified flower can be so magical; it makes me think of the petticoats in a skirt. If you’re ever stuck, just step out into nature. There’s no excuse not to be inspired.'
5. Can you share with us any upcoming projects or launches from Halfpenny?
It’s all under wraps for a little while longer but I am currently working on an exclusive edit for Harrods which spans beyond bridal. Exciting times.
All imagery is provided by Halfpenny London.
Address: No.10 Woburn Walk, Bloomsbury, London, WC1H-0JL United Kingdom | Website: halfpennylondon.com | Phone: +44 (0)20 7388 7300 | Email: email@example.com | Instagram: @halfpennylondon | Facebook: @HalfpennyLondon