Wedding dresses as design inspiration

Last Monday, as a member of my favourite, Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A), I was invited to attend the special members evening to enjoy the exhibition with a glass of champagne accompanied by a beautiful and delicate rhythm of a live music.

Joanna in wedding dress with hair stylist

With hair stylist before the big moment

However, it was not for a glass of champagne, although always my preferred companion to anything related to celebration, nor for the live music. My desire was to escape for a moment from the drawing desk of Gurasu and to contemplate on something intellectual. I was curious to find how the relationship between design and protest of different sorts influenced the ways people have created objects with a specific purpose – sometimes for effect, sometimes to communicate, often both.

V&A wedding dresses history

Thus, the Wedding Dresses 1775 – 2014 turned out to be similarly clever and ambitious in its objectives and by no means meaningless. It was very inspirational to see the development of the “white gown”, to me, the most immediately recognisable example of clothing ever produced.

At this exhibition I admired wedding dresses of Dita von Teese, Gwen Stefani, John Galliano, Charles Frederick Worth, Norman Hartnell, and Christian Lacroix, to name just a few. However, they all united with one single purpose, namely, they showered to the design savvy “us” the fascinating history of wedding attire, while also allowing a glimpse into the lives of the wearers.

A place of inspiration

It is inevitable that it was thanks to Queen Victoria’s choice of white gown which gave it its momentum, a real trend-setter. Nevertheless, it was by no means novel. I discovered that it was Philippa of England (1394 – 1430) who was the first bride to wear white, when she married Eric VII, king of the united realms of Denmark, Sweden and Norway. Later, the white gown become a fashion worn by elites of Europe as a mean of publicly displaying a family‘s wealth. We cannot forget that the royal weddings were inspirations to the wealthy.

“In Renaissance Florence, gown of silk velvet and brocade were produced for affluent brides decorated with lavish embroidery, beading and metal work”

– Bronwyn Cosgrave. In contrast, women from “modest background” wore coloured dresses simply because the delicate white garment took effort to maintain. It was very interesting to see how the fashion changed over the last centuries and how new modes of manufacturing, the Hollywood movies, bridal magazines contributed to the development of the modern wedding dress. A famous quote by John Galliano attracted my attention particularly. He beautifully admitted in few words:

“She (Kate Moss) dared me to be John Galliano again”

when designing for her wedding gown inspired by 1930s embellished with thousands of gilded sequins. It immediately reminded me my personal dilemma of choosing the perfect gown for my wedding day. Luckily, I knew one of the best wedding dresses craftswomen who said : “show me your ideas and I will make a dress of your dream…

“So, I closed my eyes and created attire which was nothing far from daring to hide my personality”

I created the gown to impress.

Joanna in her wedding dress

In my  fabulous wedding dress

Inevitably, exhibitions of V& A are my food for thought and one of main platforms where I gain my inspirations from.  To every designer, leaving their drawing studios , is the healthiest state of seeking new inspirations.

More reading on the ever fascinating subject of weddings:

Gurasu meets Prezola the leading wedding gift list

Styling your wedding table ideas

This special wedding gift for two – a crystal vase

Gurasu meets Prezola the leading wedding gift list

Many of us might have wandered around John Lewis when choosing gifts for either ours or our loved one’s wedding list. So did I. Until I have discovered something even better, it’s called Prezola, the leading wedding gift list online service.

A couple of weeks ago we were delighted to learn that Prezola was interested in inviting Gurasu Crystal to their crystal ware brands portfolio.

Wedding gift banner

The platform is very sophisticated and accessible at the same time. Sophisticated because couples can create a list of items for family and friends to choose from the most desired pieces out of a cool 30.000 products from leading brands. Accessible because all those items you have fantasized about are available from the comfort of their own armchair!

For Gurasu Crystal it is essential to be on such a platform as most of our crystal glasses or interior accessories are bought as a special wedding gift. Being a relatively new brand on crystal arena allows us to give our customers more trust and credibility in our brand. Once they decide to purchase from Gurasu, we can start surprising and exceeding their expectations.

Our collections at Prezola include all our bestselling coloured crystal ranges such as Birds of Paradise, Pure Lux or Pineapple as well as Dots crystal votives and empery candlesticks. If you however, cannot find the item on Prezola, they will talk to us and organize desired piece for you!

We would of course be more than happy to find you the perfect crystalware wedding gift from our vast and growing collection.

Summer Saturdays at Gurasu Crystal

I have to truly admit that I am looking forward to our next Summer Saturdays event which Queens Parade, the super trendy shopping destination of Willesden Green High Street, is organizing.

The event runs every first Saturday of each month and this time, we promise, the event will be worth of your visit.

For this Saturday, 5th of July, we invited a stunning flute musician, Jemma Freestone to play in our boutique store at Unit 1 of Queens Parade.

Jemma is a very talented flautist who won a number of reputable awards and we are delighted to have such a skilled artist in our Gurasu shop.

Joanna May and Maciej Matyjasczuk

The idea for inviting Gemma came from a desire to combine classical music and crystalware so that these two can complement each other. For me both crystalware and classical music connect people in a very special way. We don’t listen to classical music and we don’t drink champagne from a crystal glass every day. However, when we do, they make us feel happy, inspired and uplifted. It affects our mood in all kinds of infinite ways and creates unforgettable moments.

We very much would like to welcome you at 4.30pm with a recital by Jemma Freestone over a glass of champagne – in crystal glass, of course.


Joanna May

Founder & Creative Director

Outdoor crystal tableware – alfresco outdoor dining

From open air courtyards to rooftops and somehow cosy gardens to small balconies, we just really, really like to dine and hang out outdoors whenever the opportunity presents itself. So spring and summer are two seasons that are near and dear to our hearts.


Luxurious outdoor dining table



Patterned wine glasses – a history

The earliest examples of the modern style patterned glass (also known as “pressed glass” or “pattern glass”) come from the United States at around 1850. These items were cheaply manufactured and made from patterns which were widely available to hundreds of manufacturers and these items were very popular with the masses. In fact, by the early part of the 20th century, these glass items became known as “depression glass” showing the simplicity and inexpensive nature they had.

Frantisek Vizner Crystal Large Bowl


Dad’s don’t fit into boxes, but we know what does

What is a Dad? Is he someone who goes out to work and brings home the bacon? Does he like to play sports or just sit on the couch and watch it? Is he someone who heads to the pub or has a few beers at home? Maybe he is the person you turn to when you need good advice or the man who you hold up as an example for all the men in your life. Your Dad is just that – your Dad. He is who he is and he can’t be defined.

Birds of Paradise Crystal Red Wine

Birds of Paradise Crystal Red Wine Crystal Goblets, set of 6


How to clean and take care of your crystal

You wait for the delivery man to knock at the door, you carefully unpack your gorgeous crystal glasses, vase or bowl and you cannot help but admire how beautiful it is. It twinkles in the sunlight, the colours pop and your home is greatly enhanced by having such a gorgeous item in it. But one of these days, your crystal is going to need cleaning and this might be one of the aspects of owning crystal which you never even thought about.

Dune Crystal Bowl


The glamour of Italian fashion

Last week I decided to visit Victoria & Albert curated exhibition. The Glamour of Italian Fashion 1945 – 2014

Italian fashion header

Image credit – V&A The Glamour of Italian Fashion Exhibition

When exploring all the marvellous costumes, the attention to detail and skill of a craftsman which was applied to each piece of garment, I was thinking how I could relate the topic of Italian fashion to crystal. When designing new collections, quite often, I take inspirations from objects which surround me. Very often the exhibitions I go to have a strong impact on a mix of particular colours or shapes used in the collection.