Thursday, 28 July 2011

Are you Miss Bush?

I get asked this question a lot. An awful lot. So now I have a blog I can fully explain the name of the shop, who I am and how I come to be burdened with the most nudge, nudge, wink, wink name in the whole of bridalwear.

The Miss Bush Bridalwear building, in the quite cutesy village of Ripley, used to house a sweet shop and tea room. It was actually called Ye Olde Sweete Shoppe - yes  - this was the dark age of branding. However it was known locally as Miss Bush's because of  generations of Miss Bushes that ran it. They were somewhat 'fast' and had children out of wedlock. Now, of course, brides and I and have a bit of a gossip while they breast feed.

My Mum, Gen, something of a legend, albeit a ferocious one, has been at 'The Bush' since the start back in '88. Jean, her friend who opened the business, called it Miss Bush's in homage to the bawdy legends  and really and truly to the Carry On connotations of the name.

When Gen took over the business in '92 it became Miss Bush Bridalwear. I joined her in '94 bristling with the zeal of a London PR and Marketing girl & was slightly appalled at the un-designer sounding name. Mix the beamed shop, the pretty, pretty dresses, the Germanic Gothic font of the logo and the name together and it was all very chocolate box. Add to that I used to wear my Helen Storey leather and lycra leggings to work and had always been a bit of Marlboro smoking, gig going indie kid I wonder how I am still working here.

Almost simultaneously the film Four Weddings and a Funeral was out at the cinema and the hideous, over used adjective 'meringue' was coined. Handy for me as I was keen to give the shop a more indie edge - I don't mean dressing everyone a la Rock 'n Roll Bride though I do love that look.I mean going our own way with buying, working collaboratively with designers - Stephanie Allin in particular, comissioning our own pieces, buying straight into Jenny Packham, even championing strapless dresses when everyone's mother was appalled at the prospect.

So effectively I have had to fight to bring stylish connotations to the name Miss Bush - hence my press advertising uses Rosa Clara's 'too cool for school' images. I have, along with my Mum, bought feisty connotations to the name Miss Bush.I have just about stocked every label at some time and argued with everyone in in the industry at some point. I have withdrawn advertising from magazines to make a point and have challenged designers on the provenance of their gowns.

Incredulous London brides-to-be wonder where they are bring dragged as their car stops on the bandit side of the M25.' Miss Bush - in Ripley - are you sure?'  I guess we're not in W1 anymore Toto...

The Miss Bush name is unforgettable in a sea of 'White' this and 'Wedding' that. There's no Belles or Confetti on us. Even the new yellow and black logo is a tribute to the mighty Selfridges and was about the least weddingy thing I could think of. Believe me if I had a cool name - like Ellie Sanderson or Caroline Castigliano I would use it - though let us not forget that Caroline's surname is actually Body. Emma Meek is hardly any better!

So Miss Bush is a funny, usually stylish, argumentative, indie-spirited, wayward lass with a boundless passion for bridalwear. Her reputation drags brides out of London and from around the world to see what all the fuss is about. She can be a bit Marmite.

So am I Miss Bush? No, but I'd like to be.

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