“I consider lace to be one of the prettiest imitations ever made of the fantasy of nature; lace always evokes for me those incomparable designs which the branches and leaves of trees embroider across the sky, and I do not think that any invention of the human spirit could have a more graceful or precise origin.”
Coco Chanel, April 29, 1939
I came across Kula Tsurdiu’s boutique when researching dress designers for my sister in 2015. It was totally by chance… Or fate as I now like to see it. My sister and I live quite far apart, Nottingham was the mid ground. It was also where we both went to University so we both have a real affection for the city, including it’s history with lace.
Kula’s boutique was one of 3 we had planned to visit that day but I knew it had to be the first. In my mind it would be at the ‘haute couture’ end of the scale. The dresses may have been out of our price range, (I had no clue of her prices at this point) and in all honesty some of the designs may have been out of my sisters comfort zone but there was a feel about it, a tone, a romanticism about the whole place that I loved.
Kula and the team did not disappoint! We were lucky enough that day to not only spend time with the wonderful manager Laura and charming assistant Anna, who make you feel instantly at home and also both important and special, but also Kula herself. She was over at the boutique hand fitting a brides beautiful, bespoke dress. A service that truly shows you how much she cares about her brand. It’s way more than a business and product. These dresses, this store, is a passion.
I’ll write more about Kula and her craft in another blog. There is so much I could write about this team that I will need several posts for sure. This piece however is about the day we found ‘The One’ for my sister.
I have a belief… When it comes to helping a bride choose a wedding dress, you are doing more than giving her clothes to try on. You are creating a moment, giving her a vision of possibly the most important day in her life. You are a very special and honoured guest in that process. Do it well and you become the fairy godmother… do it badly and you may as well have been the evil stepmother reminding her that she has nothing good enough to wear to the ball.
From the moment you step into the Nottingham Boutique you are transformed. The whimsical decor and hand painted signs, the vintage styling and classical furniture, even the gorgeous tea service and treats that await you, all add to the perfect bridal experience.
You are never rushed, never made to feel second fiddle. The team ensure there is only one bride/ bridal party in the store at a time and give you their undivided attention. After chatting about your style, the wedding, your ideas and dreams, Laura helps to select and hand fit dresses from their current season. Each revealed to your guests only once perfectly styled.
The best thing about Laura, she will be honest with you. If the shape doesn’t quite work for you, she will politely say so and help you either reimagine it in a bespoke cut or select something else that works better. The integrity to be honest with a customer speaks volumes.
As it turns out, The One for my sister was the first dress she tried on. (One I selected no less!) A gorgeous, classic A line dress with little capped sleeves that would look perfectly at home on someone like Zoey Deschanel. Altered with a few tweaks to make it bespoke for Gina, styled with my Jenny Packham headdress (her something borrowed) and a matching thin jewelled sash (By Kula) the outfit is perfect for my big sis. In fact if I could have designed a dress from scratch with my sister in mind, this would be it.
We left that day, on cloud nine. We actually did stick to our second appointment at a more commercial dress boutique that day and I am glad we did. We were one of 5 bridal parties, in curtained off sections of a large impersonal room being helped by equally impersonal staff. The dresses were all very nice, but none had a feeling, none had that wow factor (except when you considered the price tag). All apparently looked ‘amazing’ too… even when they clearly did not! Sorry sis!
Maybe it was unfair of us to judge this second store? After all, It was useless, we had both fallen in love with a dress. And more than the dress itself, Kula and Laura too. So if you are on the hunt for ‘The One’. Don’t underestimate the value of an experience. Don’t settle. Do your homework and trust your gut. And if you can get to Nottingham, do visit Kula Tsurdiu! You will not be disappointed.
Check Kula Tsurdiu out: