May & Grace is a bridal boutique in Haslemere, Surrey stocking a carefully curated selection of dresses and accessories by top international designers. We caught up with owner Emilie Crease to find out about her background and what inspires her…
Hi Emilie! Can you tell us briefly about your background?
I have a BA Hons degree in Fashion Design from The University of the West of England, Bristol. I started my career designing and making collections under my own label ‘EBGB’. All garments were unique one-off creations, handmade and sold at Portobello and Spitalfields market, sold to independent boutiques and private commissions for wedding dresses and bridesmaid dresses. I continued my design career creating a vintage-inspired label ‘Looking Glass’ that sold throughout Europe and the UK to over 60 independent boutiques and larger retailers including Topshop and ASOS. I then went onto design for various high street retailers including Marks and Spencer, Next, House of Fraser, to name but a few. I then wrote fashion editorial in Hong Kong for the following three years. For 12-13 years It was a dream of mine to create a bridal boutique with a difference, a dreamy, relaxed environment full of curiosities.
I am interested in social history and the links between music, fashion and historic movements that have influenced the choices we make.
Wow! That’s very impressive and congratulations on making your dream a reality. What inspires you?
I have travelled extensively for my fashion career which has led to an eclectic catalogue of inspirations from around the world which I utilise when curating the collections. I am interested in social history and the links between music, fashion and historic movements that have influenced the choices we make. This inevitably means that a lot of my inspirations come from fashions of decades gone by, in particularly the 1920s and 1960s. I love the role that fashion plays in identity and how you can switch the way you are perceived by the style of dress you choose on any particular day.
Where did the name May & Grace comes from?
The idea is that ‘May and Grace’ are the same person. One day Grace might choose to dress in a floral vintage gown but underneath she has tattoos (never judge a book by its cover). Another day she can be dressed in black jeans, leather jacket; her ‘May’ persona. Its about using fashion for fun, playing with identity and choosing who or what you want to be. There is one thing this job has taught me – you absolutely cannot judge a book by its cover! A bride can walk in and end up choosing something completely different from the idea that we started with. I love this natural progression through the appointment. As I learn about each bride and study their style and personality I often switch up the dresses and pull out something quite different that can end up being ‘the one’.
How do you choose the designs/dresses you stock?
Designs that epitomise romance and that you cannot resist to touch. Designers that offer something a little bit different from the norm; bold & beautiful, a modern twist, an unexpected back detail, a hand made lace. A graphic embroidery, a splash of colour.
Book an appointment with May & Grace and the boutique, with its beautiful interior, is exclusively yours for 1.5 hours.