Martine in our exclusive Alesha Dixon watercolour bandeau dress, £220 (click image to buy!)
Martine Alexander is one of the North-West’s most sought-after stylists and has a client list including the likes of Michelle Keegan, Catherine Tyldesley, Rebecca Adlington, Kym Marsh, Samia Ghadie and Lucy-Jo Hudson. She specialises not only in personal styling and styling celebrities for the red carpet, fashion shoots and TV appearances, but in wedding styling too, also including celebrities such as Gemma Merna and Paula Lane. We caught up with her to talk all things wedding and get her top tips for nailing wedding style…
What are you working on right now that you’re most excited about?
I’m doing a lot of personal styling at the moment because it’s wedding season and people are also thinking about holidays, getting their summer clothes out. I also have a couple of cheeky celebrity TV appearances coming up and really juicy shoots which I can’t talk about at the moment, so that’s exciting!
What’s your top tip for wedding guest dressing this summer?
Never wear white unless the bride is okay with that (always check with them); and wear something comfortable, because you’re going to be in it potentially all day. If your feet are going to hurt and you don’t want to invest in a heel that is comfy all day, then get a pair of flats which work with your dress so you don’t feel like it’s a too-casual shoe with a really dressy dress. You want to be comfortable in your dress too because you’re going to be eating in it, sitting in it, standing in it…and also make sure that it doesn’t crease. A lot of people don’t know what their body shape is; but once you do know then you know you know what works for you. When we stand in a fitting room, we look straight at the bits we don’t like about ourselves; I advise my clients to look straight into their eyes and focus on the overall silhouette. We all have that internal chatter.
What is your ultimate wedding faux pas?
Wearing a white maxi dress is the ultimate faux pas, ivory or champagne; anything which resembles white or off-white. Also there’s a big fear for anybody going to a wedding that somebody’s going to have the same dress as you; so it’s good that Little Black Dress sources smaller independent designers; as a stylist and a customer, it’s great as you still have your mainstream brands but also your quirky, lesser-known brands, which are still affordable, and there’s less of an issue that you’ll turn up in the same dress as someone else. Ruby (O’Donnell, below, Hollyoaks actress and client of Martine’s who recently won The British Soap Award for Best Young Performance) and her mum were quite adamant that they wanted Little Black Dress; they kept going back to your site for options (before she eventually settled on the Rose dress from our Little Black Dress collection!).
What would your ideal wedding guest dress look like?
Depends on the body shape but for me, I already wore it – the Alesha Dixon watercolour dress, which I have to say, I’ve never had so many likes from on Facebook, plus comments, tweets and Instagram likes. I’m really fussy because of what I do; it would have to nip me in at the waist because I’m hourglass, so it needs to show off my shape to a degree but I don’t like it to be too fitted around my tummy. It also has to be quite a statement dress. Sometimes it just takes one compliment from someone outside your normal circle to give you that confidence.
What’s your ultimate wedding style rule?
Make sure you know the dress code – if there isn’t one then do a summer dress at a summer wedding; a winter dress at a winter wedding. Avoid black, and anything too evening-y if it’s a daytime event. It’s showing off your assets, feeling good about yourself and looking striking but also making it look effortless, not over-accessorising; looking like you’ve thrown it on. That is how style should be, even as a bride you don’t necessarily want earrings, a full-on necklace, bracelet, rings; just make it subtle. Either let your makeup or your dress or your shoes do the talking, not everything, otherwise it screams style crisis. I wore no jewellery at all with the watercolour dress and didn’t think it needed anything else.
What’s the best wedding you’ve ever been to?
The one I’ve just been to, which was Catherine Tyldesley’s wedding, where I wore the watercolour dress; it was just beautiful and everyone was just so thrilled to be there, there was so much love in the room and Cath looked stunning. And even though the weather wasn’t the greatest, the venue and everything was just absolutely perfect for them. Shayne Ward stood up and sang and the whole room was in tears; I would want enough emotion, love and genuineness as that for my wedding.
Do you prefer winter or summer weddings?
Summer. You can wear brighter colours, get your legs out; there’s so much choice. The colours in stores are brighter anyway, whereas in winter the stores are catering for Christmas parties, which isn’t very ‘wedding’. From around March-April stores start to think high summer and stores have smarter dress sections.
What do you think about the increase in high street brands releasing bridal dresses?
Well I’ve had brides choosing two dresses, one for day and one for night; the evening one isn’t necessarily as special as the day one, but that is becoming a lot more popular, and that would be your more affordable one, because that’s the one you’re going to dance in and be more reckless. Once the first dance is over, that’s when the bride tends to change into a shorter dress or something with a floatier bottom half so they can dance and move around more.
What’s your all-time favourite celebrity wedding dress?
I’ve got to say, Cath’s was stunning; I liked Kim Kardashian’s to a degree, the train was a little long; I also thought Kate Middleton’s was beautiful.
What is your favourite wedding client/bride you’ve ever styled?
I loved styling Paula Lane for her wedding. It was around May time; spring weddings are good because they aren’t as hot and there is good availability of stock.
If you could style any celebrity’s wedding, who would it be?
The first person that always comes to mind is Blake Lively; pregnant or not, she’s always been my style crush. Also Michelle Keegan, I used to style her and she’s just beautiful – and that figure! She’s just a beautiful soul inside and out.