Pam Hogg: I actually met Robbie first. I met Robbie at Lily Allen’s twenty-first birthday party, we were sat next to each other and got on like a house on fire, it was fantastic. Then a few months later he was DJing and there beside him was this beautiful little creature. It was amazing, he’d just met Mary and you could tell it was forever.
She actually came to my first Paris show and that’s when it all really started. She came backstage with Jaime Winstone, in tears, saying it was the best show she’d ever seen and would I make her wedding dress. The first thing I said was “No. I’m not doing another one”, I had vowed I would never make a wedding dress again. But eventually, I couldn’t say no, she’s so gorgeous. She came to the studio and we discussed how it was going to evolve. She’d seen something in the show, it was a catsuit that she imagined would be the perfect theme for her wedding dress to be based on. She wanted a dress version and there was actually another dress in that collection that was a full-length, fitted, long, white PVC dress, and she loved the shape of that. So that was the idea that we started with. Then she started having changes. She decided that she would like something more of a vintage feel, so I researched some more fabrics. And then she said “Pam, I want it to be really sexy!” she’d asked her father and he’d said “yes, you can have it as sexy as you like”. So we went on another journey there and she sent me more and more images of things that she saw and it was getting further and further away from the original concept. A lot of the dresses she sent were quite sheer in places - and just loads of frills - and I was thinking ‘I’ve got something like that’.
The biggest challenge was really her size, she’s so tiny, and not having a mannequin her size to work on was really quite difficult. I’m totally self-taught in fashion so when I’m doing a pattern it takes me a long time to work it out. Everything I’ve ever made, I’ve made on myself and just extended it for models, but in Mary’s case it wasn’t just a case of making it smaller. Mary is like a little doll, her body is about that much smaller than mine in length. I had to start redesigning it in a certain way to actually fit Mary and be more suitable for Mary’s body. I didn’t really realise, as well, how much more difficult it would be trying to make a doll-sized dress that was actually full of hundreds of panels. Because the girl who wore the dress in the show was five foot eleven, and Mary’s five foot two, I think. So, I did it all blind in the end - I had mountains and mountains of frills. We thought it was going to take about six weeks and in actual fact it took about six months.
It was amazing to see her walk down [the aisle] properly with her father and the looks on people’s faces. You could hear everyone saying how beautiful she looked. It made it all worthwhile.
The Victoria and Albert Museum welcomes applications for ‘Creating Innovative Learning Programmes’, its new one week intensive course. This is a unique training opportunity for museum professionals from overseas who are interested in attracting and programming for a range of museum audiences.