Cambridge Wedding Dress Design

08:21 Wednesday 19th January 2011
Peterborough Breakfast Show BBC Radio Cambridgeshire
PAUL STAINTON: Now there’s just 100 days to go until the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton. But whilst the whole country gets wedding fever, it would appear that the wedding industry as a whole is struggling to survive. As the cost of marriage has risen over recent years, as you may well know the cost of divorce has gone up a lot more, the amount of people getting married has declined, making it difficult for bridal shops to stay open. But one shop in Cambridgeshire is still standing and bucking the trend, and it’s seen a rise in bookings this year. I wonder if the Royal wedding has anything to do with that. We’ve sent our reporter Johnnie Dee with something borrowed, something blue and himself to investigate.
JOHNNIE DEE: Hello Paul. Hello everybody. I’m on a place called Newmarket Road in Cambridge Paul, and I’ve come to a normal-looking semi-detached house, very nice, but it’s actually, I’ve come inside now, to what used to be a front room I suppose, but it is a bridal shop. And I’m joined by Penny Davison of Class 1 Bridal Wear. We’re surrounded by head-dresses, veils, pageboy outfits, shoes, bridesmaid ball gowns, silk, all sort of materials here. Nice to see you Penny.
PENNY DAVISON: Hello. How are you?
JOHNNY DEE: Very well indeed. Now how long have you actually been here?
PENNY DAVISON: Up here, probably about eight, ten years. I was in Burleigh Street in Cambridge since 1984.
JOHNNIE DEE: And it must cut down on the overheads, running it from sort of home, is it?
PENNY DAVISON: Oh yes. (LAUGHS) It started at £3000 a year, and I got out when it hit £68,000 rental.
JOHNNIE DEE: 68. Bloomin heck. Now how have you found the wedding industry recently is?
PENNY DAVISON: Dying. People arenm’t getting married any more. Since the second recession, in the early 2000s, people now, because there’s nothing against people having children out of wedlock, they don’t have to get married any more. So more people are living together, having kids out of wedlock. And they wait ’till their ’30s if they do decide to get married.
JOHNNIE DEE:The good news is Penny you’re still here. You’re managing to survive. You design dresses as well. What’s the strangest dress you’ve made, do you think?
PENNY DAVISON: Probably a pleated leather one. Or I’ve done a copy of Nicole Kidman’s Chanel No. 5. Not quite the same sort of thing. Hers was 100,000 guineas, because the girl actually phoned up Chanel. Mine was just over £2000, but her uncle had an ostrich farm over in Turkey, and so I had to put feathers all over it.
PAUL STAINTON: An ostrich farm in Turkey! Surely that’s a misnomer.
JOHNNIE DEE: An ostrich farm.
PENNY DAVISON: An ostrich feather skirt, and a beaded top. It still cost a couple of grand.
JOHNNIE DEE: Wow! I tell you what. There’s a couple of people just walked in now. One’s a very posh looking man with rather large ears, and the other is a lovely lady. (MIMICS PRINCE CHARLES I’m absolutely delighted to be here in Cambridge. One’s future daughter-in-law’s got a marriage coming up in April to my son Wills, and me and Camilla are wondering if you had a wedding outfit for young Kate.) What do you think?
PENNY DAVISON: Well I think Kate should have something that is flowing and draping around her body, in maybe chiffon, silk chiffon of course, and I would think a few feathers and a few, maybe not diamante, she’d be one for real diamonds.
JOHNNIE DEE: (MIMICS PRINCE CHARLES: Delighted. This is Prince Charles, BBC Radio Cambridgeshire with Penny Davison from Class 1 Bridal Wear. Delighted.
PAUL STAINTON: That poor woman. She doesn’t know what’s hit her does she? He’s made her day. Old Johnny Dee. He’s just brilliant, isn’t he?
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Class 1 Cambridge telephone: 01223 510 970