The Big Interview with with Ellis Bridals’ James Ellis
As the great-grandson of the bridal brand’s founder Ada Ellis, James knows the importance of staying true to its heritage.
Here he talks us through the company’s century-spanning legacy and the biggest changes in the world of wedding dresses.
Your Scottish Wedding: The first Ellis gown was your great-grandmother’s own wedding dress but was Ada Ellis’ focus always on bridalwear?
James Ellis: Ada started as a seamstress creating dresses for London’s ladies in 1900.
She had her own small atelier where ladies would come and have their dresses fitted.
It was only when her own wedding dress was spotted hanging that she had her first bespoke dress commissioned.
Ada was inundated with requests to design wedding dresses.
YSW: With the company now over 100 years old Ellis Bridals has quite the legacy. What do you think accounts for its ongoing popularity?
JE: Ellis has always been about attention to detail and the exceptional quality of the dress.
Those little features that complete a timeless dress are part of the signature Ellis design.
We are not afraid to experiment with newness, we don’t just stay safe and commercial, which has helped push the brand
forward season after season.
YSW: What are some of the biggest changes you’ve seen in what women want from their dress?
JE: Bridal used to be about finding ‘The One’ whereas now it’s become about finding the accessories to transform the dress
throughout the day or second looks to take the bride through to the evening, creating those ‘instagrammable’ moments.
YSW: How would you describe the Ellis bride?
JE: The Ellis bride has timeless style and a keen eye for detail.
We understand our bride looks for designs that are beautifully made and style-led: quintessentially her.
Her style is her essence: luxe femininity that is effortlessly individual.
YSW: What is the inspiration behind the latest collection?
JE: The collection began from the idea of creating romantic styles with luxurious textures and details whilst using lighter than
air fabrics that feel ethereal and easy to wear.
From this the Radiance collection was born.
Timeless silhouettes combine with fresh floral details and sophisticated embellishment to create a collection that feels
quintessentially British and utterly romantic.
Being London- based we are in the heart of art and fashion so we are always looking at what’s coming through in the fashion
industry to give a modern twist to what we do.
Our archive collection is always a point of reference too.
As a heritage brand it is important for us to stay true to the brand DNA.
YSW: Do you have a favourite gown from the new collection?
JE: It would have to be two favourites.
‘Lydia’, is crafted in a lightweight organza combined with our signature internal construction – she feels amazing to wear and has
a beautiful movement to her skirt.
Sophisticated draping on the bodice exposes her corset detailing, whilst her dramatic split makes a true statement.
For the bride wanting that real ‘wow’ moment.
‘Megan’’s beauty is in her fabric combination.
Luxurious crepe combines with silky soft satin to contour the body, for an hourglass silhouette.
Her halterneck is complemented by her statement detachable bow for two looks in one.
Pair her with the ‘Aubrie’ skirt to completely transform your bridal look!
YSW: You mentioned the archive. Do you have a favourite Ellis Bridals gown of all time?
JE: When we turned 100 in 2012 we went into the Vogue library to look back at all the bridal publications dating back to the
We found so many Ellis gowns we had lost from our archive.
We now draw a lot of inspiration from these beautiful 50s dresses.
YSW: What is your best tip for brides searching for their wedding dress?
JE: Trust your instincts.
It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the amount of choice but you will know when a dress feels right for you so go with your gut.
It’s ok if it’s not what you pictured (or what your mum pictured).
If the dress makes you feel like the best version of yourself it’s the dress for you!
YSW: Who is the one celebrity bride you wish you could have designed for?
JE: We would have loved to dress Sophie Turner.
She has a classic style with a contemporary edge and her grand, elegant wedding would have been the perfect setting for an Ellis dress.
Grace Kelly would also have been a dream to dress.
Even in the last few years the Grace Kelly look has regained popularity with regal high necks and long lace sleeves.
Our ‘Ada’ dress was inspired by this classic look.
YSW: What’s next for Ellis Bridals?
JE: Staying true to our British heritage and continuing to design timeless gowns with a fashion edge.