We caught up with Hannah Ollichon, founder of House of Ollichon, to talk all things old and new as the boldest addition to bridal celebrates its first birthday and launches a show-stopping new collection!
You say that setting up House of Ollichon was a now or never decision one year ago – what made you take the plunge?
When you have that lightbulb moment and it just feels right, it ignites this unshakable (sometimes deluded!) belief inside. I was convinced that there was a market for a ‘chilled bridal’ collection and I was also convinced that if I didn’t launch it, someone else would! I had just experienced my own outfit struggle where I couldn’t find the right balance between big bridal and high street at the same time as I was at a crossroads in life, so I just thought ‘Sod it, I’m doing it!’
Designing dress-less bridalwear was a bold move to make – tell us more about that?
I have heard that many times! I think the bridal industry had got a little stuck in a rut whereby everyone assumed you had to follow the traditional big, layered, bustier dress style. Nowadays we all just want to be special versions of ourselves and thankfully the ‘dress expectation’ has faded a little. Women have also changed – I hear all the time that brides-to-be just wanted to be comfortable, dance like crazy and not spend a fortune. It may have seemed bold, but to me it was a niche that truly needed filling and we are very proud to be so different.
What do you prefer about jumpsuits and two pieces to dresses for brides?
They make women feel like a special version of themselves rather than anything too OTT. I have so many gorgeous clients and the first thing they say to me is ‘I don’t want a dress, it’s just not me’ or ‘I haven’t worn a dress since I was six.’ So, it’s not just me who prefers the dress-less option, there are tons of us out there!
They also make the wedding day so much easier – they’re easier to put on, easier to move in, easier to eat and drink to your hearts content in, easier to boogie in, even easier to wee in! I have several brides who have worn their items again, dyed them or worn the lace skirt with something totally non-bridal like a denim shirt.
What inspires your collections?
The best thing ever – us girls! Different shapes, sizes, attitudes, dreams and even insecurities. We all have bits that we’re happy to flaunt or would prefer to hide and I like to think that our designs provide something for everyone.
Your first collection was named after loves ones, how about the second?
The new pieces are a mix between real Brides of Ollichon and women who have inspired me in a different way, for example the Simmonds. The design of the Simmonds has nothing to do with style or shape of the female form. The first year of House of Ollichon has been incredible but has tested my strength and positive mental attitude to the max! When I was designing the Simmonds, I reflected over the last year and thought about one woman who has shown so much strength and positivity – a very special friend of mine Janey.
Which outfit has been the most popular with brides from your first collection?
Jumpsuit-wise it was the Clement – a classic, simple design with a dramatic back that was a real winner. From the two-pieces it was the Le Fay. I think this design provided the perfect compromise between bridal but dress-less. Both were so popular that we couldn’t let them go so they still feature in the second collection.
Tell us more about your hotel appointments? How do they compare to visiting a bridal boutique?
I love our TryOn weekends! We have received such fab feedback on them for being really fun and relaxed, totally private, all while in a super trendy hotel. We have no rules during our appointments, no maximum number of guests, photos are totally allowed, prosecco is free flowing, there are no charges, no sales pressure – I just want everyone to have the best experience. They have been so popular I’m already looking at running them every other week next year rather than once a month.
You’ve had success with celebrities and real brides alike – what was the best moment for you in the first year?
Thank you! Yes, it’s been a pretty incredible first year! The best moment had to be when I received this lovely sparkly invite in the post just before Christmas telling us we’d won Best Newcomer at the British Wedding Awards run by you and your lovely team. It was the cherry on the cake. It’ll take something pretty special to top that in year two!
How will you be celebrating House of Ollichon’s birthday?
Well at the moment I’m planning on going to Bikram Yoga! Hahaha. But I’ll be very easily persuaded otherwise! Hopefully there’ll be some bubbles at some point today!
What can we expect from House of Ollichon in the future?
Crikey… this is a tough one. I have no idea! Can you ask me that next year?!
Love the House of Ollichon style? Check out their first collection right here and find your beautiful dress-less bridal look, however you want to style it.