The Wild Wood Collection: Inspiration, design and dressmaking

Our head designer Colleen Bankovich talks about designing Celia Grace's first new collection in nearly five years. 

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1.) What inspired the silhouettes and fabric choices for this collection?

I wanted to keep true to the core values of the brand, ethically made , sustainability and for  women by women, so the silhouettes were really a top focus, no fast fashion styles (which we see so often in this industry season after season.) We are unique, all put together differently and because of that I designed the collection to be very interchangeable and inclusive to each of our uniqueness. While we have a couple risque cuts for all you fierce babes. The collection was designed for all women, to inspire and empower.

A core fabric used in the collection is bamboo, very reminiscent of a silk crepe in feel and weight. Bamboo was just the best choice for some of the designs, such as our Stevie Jumpsuit and Morrison Pants, it flows beautifully and feels divine.

This collection also is comprised of organic cottons, hand-woven raw silk, silk chiffon and other natural fabrics. Sustainability is always a must.

We also offer soft-as-butter nets and laces that came with the company, and for the sake of no waste, we have incorporated these heirloom fabrics into our new collection.

2.) Describe the inspiration for the brand’s elevated aesthetic

Imagine untouched wild and clean woods, effortlessly flowing wild springs and how concise the night sky looks. Clean lines, wearable silhouettes, and effortless style. 

I want our debut line to shape the way for future collections. While there are a few pieces that stand out as a bridal day look you may only wear for that occasion, the majority of line is definitely made to be worn again and even re-purposed (natural fabrics dye extremely well) .

3.) What makes this collection so different from collections past?

Really what makes it most different is the aesthetic and wearability. This collection is very clean and cohesive, more modern and inclusive with that dash of that "baddass rebel bride with a rock and roll vibe".

Also when designing this collection, as it was the first new collection for the brand in years, I really wanted the styles and fabrics to match the brand message , we do want to make a change in the bridal industry by taking a stand on fair trade practices, sustainability and ethical fashion.

4.) How do you want a bride to feel in these dresses and separates?

Like the beautiful af person they are!  

Comfortable, I know that may seem crazy but, I have seen how uncomfortable people look in the name of fashion and bridal, that's why I opted to keep out all of the extras like bra cups and crinoline and all of the other gadgets that make for extra effort from you. not only are you going to look fine as hell, your going to feel it too! Plus, pockets!

5.) Describe the process of making a Celia Grace dress

Studying body types and silhouettes. Lots of draping to ensure the right cut and from there, it's all sketching, specs. and pattern making and grading.

It seems so seamless, we are so lucky to work with such a great group of women around the world! We all work very closely with one another. Celia Grace is a family, we have relationships with those we work with, we get to know about one another and form lasting friendships, I personally know who made your gown, that's huge for me.

6.) What challenges have shaped this journey?

Time zone adjustments, that was a trip! I have to say, everything came together quite smoothly,stars aligned,  a little bump here and there, but nothing major. The challenge we face is changing the game in the industry. We want to change the world, that's a huge endeavor, one step at a time. It takes a lot of thought, research and effort to do things differently, I suppose that doing the right thing is not the easiest, fastest most appealing route, but it's the right route.

7.) What unique elements exist consistently in the collection?

Pockets! I'm a lover of pockets, so if the design allows it, always pockets!

The element of fluidity and clean lines aligned together is also very consistent in the collection. Natural flow is really important in fit and style, you should never have to sacrifice comfort for style. 

Another unique element in the collection that I love is the use of inverted pleating, it really speaks to the shape of the garment, while giving it a clean modern edge.

Through our exclusive partnership with The Temple Project, we're able to offer brides and beyond something they can't get anywhere else. Our friends there create beautiful natural dyes and flower pressed elements to our textiles.

All of the flowers are re-purposed, they are collected from the temples in India , the flowers have also been blessed! This a very special process that I am beyond stoked about, this will continue to be a core part of our design process. The Marigold steam on the GARCIA GOWN is to die for!

Celia Grace will debut the Wild Wood Collection at New York Bridal Fashion Week and Bridal Market at Rogue Space in Chelsea. For a private appointment, please email lisa@celia-grace.com.