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Alternative occasionwear: the brands to know

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Drapers rounds up the new names and growing brands making an impact in the shifting occasionwear market. 


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House of Mooshki

Durham-based bridal brand House of Mooshki launched its debut occasionwear collection for spring 19 – and the range has proved a hit with traditional occasionwear retailers.

The collection features sophisticated, classic shapes and structured dresses in sumptuous fabrics and colours in designs suitable for traditional formal occasions such as summer parties and weddings.

Highlights from the debut spring collection include a pale blue pencil dress with pearl collar and cuffs and a bardot-shoulder 1950s-style circle skirt dress in dramatic purple and pink floral prin.

House of Mooshki’s occasionwear has six stockists, including Norma & June Fashions in Easington, Snooty Frox of Harrogate and Dressini in Nuneaton.

Wholesale prices range from £200 to £300. 0191 526 0772



La Llama

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Statement-making dresses are having a moment in the occasionwear sector as shoppers hunt for items that are a step away from traditional evening options. London-based brand La Llama is the latest name to make an impact. Founded in 2017 as a direct-to-consumer brand, La Llama launched into wholesale for spring with a striking collection that features clashing prints ranging from geometric styles to animal print. Current stockists include independent ecommerce site The Wardrobe Workshop and B Studios.

The brand eschews classic florals in favour of less conventional designs – notably a bejewelled beetle print and a crowded butterfly print, which run across the collection.

Silhouettes also veer from the traditional. Alongside classic, delicate tea dresses, many maxi styles feature wide sleeves and statement square necklines. The brand’s separates are quirky and playful: a pair of powder blue, super wide legged ruffled trousers, while a tiger moth print cape dress and top fusion is vibrant and dramatic.

Wholesale prices range from £26 for a top to £190 for an evening jacket or gown. 07930 149405


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Made by Issae

Taking a youthful and feminine approach to design, Made by Issae creates eveningwear styles with figure-hugging silhouettes. The brand taps into the bold, eye-catching look favoured by Instagram-influenced, trend-hungry young fashion shoppers.

Dresses are made from a bodycon “bandage” fabric, which is a mix of rayon and nylon. Highlights from the spring 19 range include a one-shoulder red midi-dress, zip-front plum mini-dress with long sleeves and a mini, bandage slip dress.

Made by Issae was founded in London in 2016, and has joined fashion agency Emslie Creative for spring 20 sales, as it seeks to tap into the wholesale occasionwear market for the first time.

Wholesale prices range from £20 for skirts and £30 for dresses. 020 3581 5900



Seren London

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Founded in 2016, luxury jumpsuit brand Seren London has grown in popularity as customers hunt for alternative eveningwear silhouettes.

The brand began with just four jumpsuit styles, which are still core to the collection: halter-neck, backless, one-shoulder and wrap-front jumpsuits made from 100% silk. Each season the shapes appear in new, delicate prints influenced by the 1960s and 1970s. Additional shapes also available in the collection.

Seren has also branched out into maxi-dresses, kimonos, trousers and accessories such as scarves.

Stockists include The Shop at Bluebird, Selfridges and Net-a-Porter.

Wholesale prices range from £100 for a shirt to £300 for a silk jumpsuit.


Roco Clothing

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Children’s occasionwear brand Roco Clothing has come a long way since it began life as a market stall in Stoke-on-Trent in the early 1990s. It opened an Ebay shop in 2003, before developing its own ecommerce site. Today, it employs 30 staff and has a turnover of £7m. The brand is currently direct to consumer only, and plans to launch into wholesale within the next year.

Roco creates formal options for boys and girls aged between three months and 14 years, including suiting and bridesmaids’ dresses. The brand also offers “mini-me” interpretations of classic formalwear. The boys’ black-tie tuxedos are a highlight, as is the girls’ suiting offer, which is a cool and playful take on a traditional style.

Retail prices range from £3.99 for accessories to £120 for a luxury boy’s suit. 0161 273 3773


Paula Knorr Bridal

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London-based womenswear designer Paula Knorr launched her debut bridal collection for spring 20.

Holographic sequins, 1970s silhouettes and unconventional pyjama-style suiting make for an alternative and ultra-glamorous collection. Jumpsuits and dresses are crafted from sequinned jersey and Lycra fabrics. Illusion glitter tulle tops and tunics are an elegant take on the traditional cover-up.

The collection is made up of 16 items, and UK stockists include Harvey Nichols and Machine-A.  

Wholesale prices range from £170 for a sequinned georgette top to £450 for a glitter tulle mini-dress. 07543 707294


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Antwerp-based womenswear brand Bernadette was founded by mother-and-daughter duo Bernadette and Charlotte De Geyter. They create whimsical, floral printed silk dresses with a relaxed, modern bohemian aesthetic. Dresses have clean lines and oversized silhouettes. The styles adhere to the current trend of versatile occasionwear, as customers choose outfits they can dress down for daytime as well as wearing to formal events.

Highlights from the autumn 19 collection include a high-neck fuchsia maxi-dress, and a mint green and violet floral print tunic in shimmering satin.

The brand entered the UK market this year and is stocked by Browns, Net-a-Porter and Selfridges.

Wholesale prices range from €126 (£112) for a camisole top to €478 (£478) for a robe. +31 6 48 75 89 25



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Borgo de Nor

Borgo de Nor is making a noise with its bold florals and romantic, boho silhouettes. Founded by Carmen Borgonovo and Joana de Noronha in London, the brand is characterised by the vibrant, oversized floral print dresses, and an eye-catching colour palette ranging from bright pink to yellow, turquoise and blue.

Highlights from the autumn 19 range include a sunflower print, strapless gown and an off-the-shoulder, cape-backed midi-dress in eye-popping pink.

The brand has six UK stockists, including Selfridges, Browns and Boutique 1.

Wholesale prices range from £96 for a top to £180 for dresses.


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