AS speculation grows over who will design Meghan Markle’s wedding gown, a small charity shop in the heart of Edinburgh has quietly been attracting brides-to-be to its unique bridal boutique full of designer wedding dresses.
Now bridal dresses donated to the British Red Cross charity shop in Stockbridge - the charity’s only bridal shop in the UK - is about to hit the big time after been asked to showcase its wares at a prestigious wedding venue in the city.
Star turn at the charity’s fund-raising Bridal Fashion Show on 18 January between 7pm-9pm at the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh (RCPE) at 9 Queen Street, is a £14,000 cream couture ballgown by Phillipa Lepley, who was hot favourite to design Kate Middleton’s gown.
Chelsea-based Lepley has created a host of luxury gowns for society weddings, Queen Charlotte’s Ball for debutantes and showbiz celebrities including designing wedding dresses for former Spice Girl Geri Halliwell, Ali Astall who is married to Declan Donnelly of Ant and Dec, and model Jacqui Ainsly, bride of Madonna’s former husband Guy Ritchie.
The ballgown is one of three being auctioned at the show. Over 40 gowns will be modelled with the opportunity to try on and buy them, along with others not in the show.
Rosa Rosado, manager of the British Red Cross shop in Raeburn Place, said dresses, veils, tiaras and shoes sold in the shop were in perfect condition, and came from four wedding dress shops in the city who donated their sample dresses, from brides after their weddings or were from other British Red Cross charity shops in Scotland.
“It’s far more common now for brides not to want to spend a fortune on something they will wear for just a few hours. They feel proud of helping the Red Cross and spending the money with us instead.”
Alex Boyack, marketing manager for the RCPE said: “I was in the Red Cross changing rooms in Stockbridge and came out to be faced by racks of beautiful wedding dresses and thought I’m sure there’s some way we could help promote these- as where I work we already host over 30 wedding a year in our stunning Great Hall.
“We’re really pleased to be hosting such a special event to support the Red Cross, I’m had a sneak preview of the dresses and they are amazing. Our beautiful venue is just the right place to have this fashion show.”,
Lisa Scott, area retail manager for British Red Cross, said “The bridal fashion show will help the British Red Cross help millions of people in the UK and around the world to prepare for, respond to, and recover from emergencies, disasters and conflicts. Our work in 2017 included delivering medicines, sanitation and relief effort in places such as Yemen, Syria and Bangladesh as well as being there to support the victims of emergencies in the UK such the Grenfell Tower fire and the attacks at the Manchester Arena and Tower Bridge.”
To find out about volunteering at the Stockbridge shop contact Ms Rosado on 0131 446 3757 or email RRosado@redcross.org.uk or pop in anytime.
Tickets - £10, including fizz and canapés from British Red Cross shops in Stockbridge and Morningside, or at the venue.