After 25 years of running my couture bridal and evening wear brand Kosibah in London, I moved myself and my business to New York in September 2016.
I expected a bit of an adjustment and prepared myself for it, but the reality of the move was more profound than I could have imagined.
I have always believed you should never rest on your laurels or believe you have ‘made it’ because change is constant and you must keep up with it.
What I came to realise it is that despite my flagging up the possibility of my move from London to NY, it didn’t register with a lot of people and so I’ve had to step up my marketing and brand presence strategies to rectify this.
The move is a very positive step for the Kosibah brand because aside from my UK clients (I still retain my London studio and visit every 8 weeks for client consultations and fittings) the Kosibah brand is now easily available to clients all over the US.
I have thoroughly enjoyed exploring the Garment District of NYC and especially love the fact all you needas a designer (fabrics, trimmings, equipment, sample makers etc) can be found within 7th to 9th Avenues and 37th to 40th street.
Here are some beautiful fabrics I’ve come across and look forward to using to create my couture gowns.
l am now planning to visit a few cities in the US to hold one to one Bridal Consultations with potential clients. To get them to see and possibly try on Kosibah Sample couture gowns and then have a gown designed especially for them.
Which city and state do you think I should add to my list? The more the demand the more likely I’ll visit that city.
Hi there, thanks for checking out this blog post. As the end of 2016 draws in, I thought it would be an ideal opportunity to look back at Kosibah Real Brides who got married in a different country from which they usually live.
This is more pertinent to me as a bridal designer who has recently relocated to New York from London after successfully running my business there for 25 years.
It’s a huge leap of faith to have a destination wedding because even if you have the most efficient and well connected wedding planner, you are still physically removed from where your dream day will take place.
I’ve had the great privilege this year to work with some amazing brides to create couture gowns for their destination weddings. I’m pleased that at least getting their couture gown made is one thing they can be part of from start to completion.
Here is the list. Please let me know which is your favourite Kosibah Bride or wedding destination.
1.Kosibah Real Bride Louise. Destination: Cape Town, South Africa.
Louise wore a couture full skirted bridal gown with a beaded, corseted bodice and a tulle skirt bustled behind with multi length layers, stiffed at the hemline with horsehair crinoline.
2. Kosibah Real Bride Funmilayo. Destination: Venice, Italy.
Funmilayo wore a couture fishtail gown. It had a removable chemise with 3/4 length sleeves which she removed for the informal part of the wedding reception.
3. Kosibah Real Bride Amina. Destination: Chateneauf-de-Grass (near Nice), France.
Amina wore a silver gray French Lace and Duchesse Satin couture gown styled to reflect her Nigerian heritage. The corseted gown had a fitted skirt with a detachable tulle overskirt.
4. Kosibah Real Bride Julianna. Destination: Santorini, Greece.
Julianna wore a couture bridal gown featuring an illusion tulle bodice embellished with Lace appliqués and a modified fishtail skirt in soft tulle with a cathedral train.
5. Kosibah Real Bride Layal. Destination: Lake Como, Italy.
Layal wore a couture bridal gown with a fitted beaded Lace bodice with an intergral corset and delicate covered buttons over the dress zipper and dropped shoulder strap sleeves. The fishtail skirt was made up of over 50 meters of Tulle gathered into rose swirls and ruffles on the surface fabric of Duchesse Satin. A matching cathedral veil with hand stitched Lace edging completed the ensemble. Photos by Jide Alakija.
I look forward to reading your comments. Thank you.
I was introduced to Ruby through her wedding planner Mati Gono of Just As Planned and she was very excited when we met at my London Atelier because even before Mati recommend me, she had been following Kosibah for years (this is ALWAYS a great start for me!).
As usual with all my clients I wanted to know from Ruby what elements of a couture bridal gown would tick all her boxes. She said she’d like a really long train, a fitted fishtail gown with lace detail and an open back.
RUBY’S wedding service in the glorious St Paul’s Church , Knightsbridge and had her reception at the nearby Grosvenor House Hotel, Park Lane stunningly decorated and coordinated by Just As Planned.
Ruby has become a very good friend to me and and evangelist for Kosibah.
Side note, her train is the longest of a Kosibah couture bridal gown so far.
Are you following my Instagram page? If not, please do so and say hi under the latest post on there. Thank you.
Enjoy the beautiful photos from RUBY’S wedding some taken by myself and some by Jide Alakija of Alakija Studios.
Ruby in the Kosibah London studio at her first toile fitting.
Design assistants in the Kosibah studio cutting out Lace appliqués and embellishing them with Swarovski diamanté crystals.
The magic tool that allows us to affix diamanté unto fabric, called a hotfix wand.
Ruby back in the studio for her second toile fitting. All the minor fitting issues that showed up at the first fitting are resolved and this toile is the revised version. This couture process is what assures a perfect fit.
The embellished appliqués are then pinned into place on the toile. They will eventually be carefully replicated on the surface of the actual dress fabric by hand. A process that takes more time and skill than you want to think about.
The bridal shoes just HAD to be Swarovski diamanté embellished Loutoutins!
Close up of the sheer back in tulle with hand stitched appliqués and covered buttons. Gave the illusion of a deep plunging back whilst giving the right support.
Wedding and Events Planner Mati Gono.
Bouquets for the bridal party.
Ruby’s diamond and pearl headpiece.
Is this really me?
Genius photographer and brains behind Alakija Studios, Jide Alakija and I.
The obligatory couture designer and bride selfie. Has now become a tradition with my brides and me.
Full length view of Ruby in her bridal gown.
Close up of Ruby with her tulle cathedral veil.
After last minute checks Ruby is about to leave her room.
Setting off to Church.
St Pauls church, Knightsbridge.
Interior of the show showing its stunning alter screens and stained glass windows.
In August I had the joyful opportunity to fulfil a promise I made to myself during a visit to my niece shortly after her birth….that God willing, I would create her bridal gown when she got married.
I also got to make dresses for my cousin, the mother of the bride and her older sister.
It was the first time a large group of my family would see one of my creations ‘in real life’ as opposed to photographs, videos or in magazines which made it even more special for me.
The dress, a corseted fishtail chapel train strapless gown with a cathedral length organza overlay,and veil featuring a beaded tulle lace with pearl accents, were further enhanced by 4,000+ Swarovski diamanté crystals added unto their hand cut appliqués in the Kosibah studio.
Swarovski diamanté crystals were also added to her bridal shoes in the Kosibah studio.
Her hair was styled by talented hairstylist (and as it happens, a past Kosibah Real Bride!) Bunmi Nsofor of Avos Hair.
Today I share with you images from Kosibah Real Bride Yve’s wedding. Creating Yves dress was a joy for many reasons. For one, she was getting married to my good friend Deb and I knew a lot of our mutual friends would be seeing my work ‘in real life’ for the first time. It was also an opportunity to create a fusion design that incorporated aspects of Deb’s Asian culture.
I decided to use Sari Fabric, deconstructed and put back together with silk duchesse satin. We chose a rich burgundy red and gold sari.
The wedding took place in the grounds of the magnificent Tudor mansion Leez Priory with the wedding breakfast in a hall within the mansion.
Here is a short video captured and edited on my iPhone that encapsulates the whole day.
It is always a great show of confidence in one’s work when as a designer you get to create bridal gowns for more than one member of the same family. It was such a case in today’s Kosibah Real Bride Charlotte as I also got to create her sister’s bridal gown a couple of years later.
Charlotte wanted a fitted fishtail gown with some texture in the fabric. I created a gown featuring an asymmetrical empire-line bodice hand-draped in silk duchesse satin with a Swarovski embellished knot leading to 2 detachable shoulder straps. The corseted lower bodice and fishtail skirt was in textured silk tulle with Swarovski diamante crystals added on in the Kosibah Studio.
I also made the dresses worn by the 2 Bridesmaids (one of whom I later made a wedding gown for), the Mother of the Bride and the Grandmother of the Bride. As I usually do when I can, I arrived in the morning to dress the whole bridal party.
Charlotte, the daughter of Lord Boateng, a peer of the realm, had the privilege of getting married in the beautiful St Margaret’s Church, Westminster Abbey with her reception taking place across Parliament Square at One Great George Street , a magnificent Grade II listed, four-domed, Edwardian building .
Charlotte removed her silk tulle cathedral veil after the wedding service and just before cutting the cake with her new husband, removed the detachable shoulder straps which created a more informal look to her dress.
Enjoy the images, especially the interiors of both St Margaret’s Church and One Great George Street.
I’ve been reviewing all the videos I’ve posted in the YemiKosibah YouTube channel and I was quite surprised by how many there were, and I’ve decided to begin posting them here on my blog.
This video was shot in October 2008 at a fashion show called Kulture2Couture, held at the Victoria & Albert Museum’s Raphael Room, and organised by the Mayor’s Office as part of Black History month, K2C as it was fondly known went on for 3 years until it was discontinued when Boris Johnson became the new mayor of London.
I showed a combination of bridal, evening and formal day wear and though the footage is from 2008, the dresses don’t look too dated (I hope!!).
The video also has some testimonial messages at the end.