Walthamstow wedding dresses by Paula Moore

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After two decades designing clothes for other people, Walthamstow resident Paula Moore decided it was time to start working for herself. She recently launched vintage wedding dress company, Pour L’amour (of course), which will be a pop-up in Walthamstow’s Central Parade for around six months from July.

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Paula studied at Glasgow School of Art, and excelled there. She was one of two students chosen by the university to go on to work at a textile factory in Stirling. It was a chance to get to sit at each of the machines, valuable experience for starting out as a designer.  

Lilianna by Pour L'amour
Lilianna by Pour L’amour

It was around 1990 when Paula headed to East London, to design big jersey prints for one of the many clothing corporations located on Commercial Road, before leaving to work for a company that supplied to C&A. Shell suits were in vogue, and it was Paula’s job to design them. Shell suits, and of-its-time knitwear that depicted men duck hunting with their dogs.

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The job took Paula to all corners of the world and the company relocated to Germany. Paula was honourable and decided to leave the company on hearing the news that most of her colleagues would be made redundant. She was immediately hired by C&A as their in-house designer, but again integrity kicked in and after a number of years had to leave over the “really boring zip-off camping trousers” she was asked to design. “I couldn’t do that.”

Helly with Lace Bolero
Helly with Lace Bolero

“It got to the stage where I wanted to work for myself, and that’s where the wedding dresses came in,” says Paula.

“I’ve always worn old vintage clothes from charity shops. This is going back to my roots, something I couldn’t do when I was working for high street brands,” she says.

Getting her inspiration from the Victoria and Albert Museum’s 1950s dresses, Paula came up with a range of designs and took them to China to be made. Although they looked okay, they weren’t perfect. It took Paula another four years until she was satisfied enough to launch the business.

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Paula’s dresses are now made in London, using the finest Italian silk and wool. “They’re different to a lot of wedding dresses because of the structure and the boning. They have a canvas bodice which is disguised.” Paula explains.

“It looks soft on the outside but it’s got structure. You are completely cupped in, so you don’t need a bra.”

So within the four years it took to reach perfection, did Paula ever feel like giving up?

“Constantly! But I just kept going and kept going. I kept thinking, ‘if other people can do it, I can do it’,” she says. But having the experience and seeing there was a gap in the market for a more structured dress made her more determined to continue. 

“I realised other vintage dresses weren’t that good or as well made as my own. I’m very picky about how things should be and I suppose that’s from being in the factory from the beginning.”

There are currently seven tea-length wedding dresses in the Pour L’amour collection, each designed to give the perfect silhouette. 

Paula’s shop will be situated in Central Parade, Hoe Street, Walthamstow from July 2016. 

For more information, go to http://www.pourlamour.co.uk/