Wedding season is creeping up on us and along with organising travel, accommodation, the hen do, a wedding gift and time off work (phew), what we'll be wearing is at the forefront of our minds. Finding the perfect wedding guest dress can be tricky: it has to be comfortable enough for long ceremonies (and into-the-early-hours parties), can't upstage the bride, and must be beautiful yet versatile enough to wear more than once. Enter Self-Portrait.
Famed for its graphic guipure lace and lattice embroidery, the brand's feminine yet structured aesthetic is easy to spot in a lineup. Frothy ruffles in standout colours and hemlines appropriate for both a family party and an evening on the tiles have secured the London-based brand a loyal following.
Self-Portrait has been available to buy both online and at concessions for some time, but it's opened the doors to its first bricks-and-mortar store this month. Located in Mayfair's fashion and art hub, Albemarle Street, the two-floor concept store sits near Alexander Wang and Thom Browne, and was designed by the architects behind White Cube gallery. Clothes aside, the store is an Instagrammable haven, with custom-designed pink and white marble terrazzo flooring, an open grid ceiling that "creates a continuous, luminous horizon" and dark Cornish mineral clay across the walls.
"Every element of the store was carefully considered to create an inviting and luxurious environment," says founder and creative director of Self-Portrait, Han Chong. "I wanted the layout and angles of the store to really allow you to explore the space where there's a new discovery at every turn. It's a much more exciting and dynamic experience for our customers."
With customers including Meghan Markle, Gigi Hadid, Michelle Obama, Maisie Williams and Beyoncé, you'd be forgiven for assuming the brand only produces intricate, red-carpet-ready frocks. But take a closer look through Self-Portrait's collection and you'll find contemporary cuts and directional fabrics. The brand's price point plays a huge factor in its success story, with pieces starting from around £120 and going up to £420 (not including the brand's recent foray into bridal dresses). If you're a dedicated follower of mid-range brands like Rixo, Ganni, Uterqüe and Kitri, Self-Portrait's new store should be a regular stop-off for modern day classics.
From statement shirts with cascading ruffles in polka-dot prints to sports-inspired knits via reworked asymmetric denim skirts, Self-Portrait is so much more than its red-carpet wedding-guest dresses. In 2018, the brand's 'modern feminine' aesthetic appeals to the contemporary woman who wants to look beyond the UK high street's offering but needs something more affordable than the often extortionate high-end pieces.
Now, with its first physical space in London – which will offer a tailoring service, personal styling appointments, 90-minute door-to-door delivery within the city, and both luxury and ready-to-wear collections – get ready to get acquainted with the real heroes of Chong's brand.