High end on the high street from Debenhams' Ben de Lisi

After Occasions by Ben de Lisi launched at Debenhams the brand has gone from strength to strength, we talk to the world-renowned designer about muses, subtle glamour and the importance of looking like yourself on your big day.

High end on the high street from Debenhams' Ben de Lisi: Image 1
What made you decide to launch a bridal range with Debenhams?
Debenhams is only a high street store in terms of location. It has a whole host of incredible designer names under its umbrella – it's not a dusty old department store. Principles by Ben de Lisi is a superbrand for the store, and me, as it's tapped into a shopper who wants her wardrobe to transcend trends. This successful collaborative relationship naturally fed into this collection. This shopper deserves a great, chic bridal gown at a price she can afford, and with accessible prices ranging from £250 to £350, she can achieve that.

Did you have a muse in mind when designing this collection?
I envisaged a strong, discreet, beautiful woman. Someone like Julianne Moore, Sandra Bullock and Kristin Scott Thomas. In terms of younger actresses, I like Rooney Mara; she's got something very cool about her. These women embody the subtle glamour of my design. More than anything though, I thought about the Ben de Lisi woman: perhaps she's getting married for the second time, maybe she's a little older, maybe she wants something light to wear on the beach, maybe she wants to keep her arms covered up. The six designs came out of wanting to dress brides of different shapes, ages and personal styles.

Who is the Ben de Lisi bride?
She's confident and understated; a savvy, aspirational girl who doesn't think good value should compromise style.

Do you have a favourite piece?
My favourite is the Serena; it's a silhouette I'm known for and it has my design DNA at its core. It's an elegant crepe column bias gown with cutaway shoulders, a floating bodice and an embellished neckline. With clean lines and just the right amount of beading to give it perfect balance. The overlay bodice fits with this season's separates trend as well, which gives the timeless shape a modern edge.

What style advice do you have for brides-to-be?
I'd advise brides to remember that while you want a dress that's special, it should still reflect you and your style – you want your husband-to-be to recognise you on the day! So really, you need to dress for yourself, rather than the occasion. Those photos will be around forever, so don't go too trendy or over the top.

The Occasion by Ben De Lisi collection is available at selected Debenhams stores nationwide and online at www.debenhams.com

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