As Editor of OX Weddings it is officially in my job description to spend hours stalking fantasy bridal on Instagram, and Studio Levana has been on my radar for some time. I love their ability to interpret current trends – be it plunging necklines, sheer lace, insane corsets or sky-high slits – without compromise for brides who fall into what is often referred to as plus size, or (perhaps more pleasingly) as curve.
With stores across the globe, I’m clearly not the only one who is smitten with their modern bridal creations and I was eager to find out more about the design process.
First off, who is a Studio Levana bride?
Any bride who appreciates high quality and a personalised approach to her wedding gown, and we only work with stores that are able to give our brides that level of experience. Unlike many other brands, we produce a majority of our gowns made to measure with different construction and customisation options, which can make each gown totally personalised. In order to ensure the bride receives exactly what she envisioned, the stylist who works with our bride should be highly professional. That’s why each of our retailers are a destination, and you won’t find Studio Levana in every single bridal shop - some of our brides travel up to ten hours to find the dress of their dreams!
How did Studio Levana come about?
It all started 13 years ago when Evgenia, the designer, was looking for a wedding dress for herself. Back then, everything was either too poofy and blingy, or too simple and looked cheap. She was looking for a flattering gown to reflect her inner self, without looking too overwhelming.
What sums up Studio Levana’s design philosophy?
A good balance between quality construction, modern style, and unmatched support.
Your collections cover Curvy, Couture and Modest – when did you decide to offer such a diverse range and how integral is that to Studio Levana?
We really feel that each collection represents a different woman. For example, when a modest bride is looking for a gown, she wants to see diverse styles that are all modest. When a curvy bride is looking for a gown, she has a hard time visualising herself seeing pictures of straight size models and has unique concerns and needs that are never factored into straight size collections that are just sized up to serve curvy brides.
Which range is most popular?
Our curvy line is by far the most popular, but that may be in part because it’s the only one we currently have available globally!
What do you think is the most important element in designing for curvy women?
Structure and support! Many curvy lines are lacking in that area, but it’s a cornerstone to everything we do. On top of that, it’s vital to consider the unique concerns of the curvy bride - like no weird cut-outs on the sides, low and wide-open backs, options for sleeves, seams that flatter instead of cutting her oddly – the list goes on.
Tell us more about the support offered by your gowns.
All our curvy gowns are available with our unique patented magic corset - it’s unlike anything else available on the market, and replaces the best bra and best shapewear in one. It’s built into our gowns and attached at the neckline so everything stays in place, and the lacing is totally hidden under the zipper (except for in our sheer corset styles). That way there’s no need to compromise on style because she’ll need to search for a specific bra and shapewear. At this time our corset is only available inside our gowns, so it cannot be ordered separately - though we get this request all the time.
Your Instagram feed is filled with glorious body-positive images of plus sized women. How important is social media to your brand?
Social media is extremely important to us! We make sure to post loads of real brides on our feed, to help more women find us and their dream dress.
And your own studio photography is equally stunning. How much planning goes into your shoots?
It’s like everything in life, sometimes we plan months in advance down to every detail, and sometimes we’re spontaneous and go with our gut feeling. I can say from our experience that it doesn’t really influence the final result - both approaches have their merits.
I’m guessing the Modest collection is popular with orthodox brides of many faiths but it in recent years, modest dressing has defined fashion. How has that impacted on your designs?
The shift towards modest dressing has expanded our options for personalisations and customisations, both locally and abroad, and brides love to take advantage of it!
Finally, you’re an international brand which is beloved in the UK. Are there specific styles or designs which are more popular here?
Tracie, Sean, Saar (both sparkly and plain crepe) and Tamia are quite popular in the UK - as well as around the world.