candy anthony and joanne fleming

I went to try on wedding dresses for the first time yesterday at Candy Anthony and had the most amazing time! I didn't think that I'd get my dress from there because of the price... I just wanted to make sure that the 1950s style suited me before going to Joanne Fleming to have something similar made for a lower price. However, I totally fell in love with a particular dress at CA and am now wondering whether to just stick to my guns and get my dress from there since I know that I love it and I don't know first hand what Joanne Fleming's designs would be like on me.

I was wondering whether there are any Joanne Fleming brides out there who had a 50s style dress who could tell me about their experience with Joanne and the quality of her work?? Also, is she significantly less expensive than CA?

(i'm looking at having a white/ivory strapless dress with full skirt and petticoat, and possibly a lace overlay).

thanks xx


  • *waves*

    I'm a Joanne Fleming bride and can heartily recommend her. I looked into getting a CA dress but there was no way I could justify spending £2K on a dress. My Joanne Fleming dress is costing me £455 for an ivory knee length silk dress with a fuscia trimmed petticoat - a price I'm obviously very happy with!

    As my dress is still a work in progress I can't comment on the final article yet; I've been for my first fitting and am very happy with it so far.

    Her studio down in Brighton is full of examples of her work so if you make an appointment you'll be able to see what she's done. If you're based near there then definately go down and see her for a no obligation meeting - you might be pleasantly surprised by what you see and if not then you'll have had a nice day out by the sea side!
  • clarebeary1clarebeary1 Posts: 206
    Joanne Flemming is doing my dress to, she sat and drew my ideal dress. Its a little bit more expensive that aklyja but mine is fifties style with capped sleeves and sweetheart nek she is also making me two bridesmaids dress . She has some brilliant ideas about colour. I totally agree with what has already been said. My dress is still in progess to so really looking forward to it.
  • clarebeary1clarebeary1 Posts: 206
    Joanne Flemming is doing my dress to, she sat and drew my ideal dress. Its a little bit more expensive that aklyja but mine is fifties style with capped sleeves and sweetheart nek she is also making me two bridesmaids dress . She has some brilliant ideas about colour. I totally agree with what has already been said. My dress is still in progess to so really looking forward to it.
  • emsyjemsyj Posts: 3,807
    Hi, I tried on at Candy Anthony and got my dress from Joanne Fleming so will try and set out honestly what my thoughts were and how the experience was.

    I was very ready to be persuaded to buy a Candy dress, and could have afforded it. At the end of the day though for me personally I didn't think the quality of the Candy dresses warranted the price. They are not silk (unless you pay double!!!) not lined and the petticoats are just elasticated waist affairs, plus the dresses just zip up which I didn't like, and they charge hundreds of extra £££ if you want buttons up the back. I didn't want to spend £1750 of my own hard-earned cash (which was the quote I got for the dress I wanted) for a dress of that standard, especially since I thought it would stress me out on the day that I might spill something on it or be worried about ruining it. I wanted to be able to dance, eat, drink and get on the floor to do 'Ooops Upside Your Head' (which I did!!!!) So it wasn't worth it to me, although the designs were lovely.

    So off I trotted to Joanne Fleming. I had I think 3 or 4 toile fittings and made lots of changes to the design as we went along. I had a very clear picture of the dress I wanted and I think it did take some time and explanation for Jo to 'get it', which is fair enough, after all she's not psychic! I paid £390 for my dress in silk duchesse satin with button fastening up the back and the petticoats were integral to the dress. I thought that was a very fair price for what I got.

    I will tell you the honest truth though, the dress wasn't perfect when hubby went and picked it up. I took it out of the dress bag and examined it and there was a pull in the fabric at the front and the belt detail was not what I had wanted at all! I ended up sending it back and Jo corrected all the faults with no questions, complaints or extra charges. She told me not to pay the final installment until I was totally happy, and she met the cost of packaging the dress up and sending it back to me when it was finished (as I had moved house 250 miles away by then). It was stressful though thinking what I would do if it still wasn't right. I did panic a bit, I will admit, and had a back-up plan to buy a sample dress from a shop near my house that I had tried on and that fitted me okay. Obviously in the end it was all fine and I was happy with the dress and enjoyed wearing it on the day.

    I think what Jo charges is very reasonable for what the dresses are like. She does have a selection of samples at her studio and there's no pressure if you wanted to go and have a look at the quality of what she produces. Her prices are a LOT lower than Candy's prices but I think the quality is just as good and her fabrics are nicer. You should make your own judgment on that though and go and see her if her work is of interest and take a look for yourself. Jo now does lots of 50s style dresses as she is reasonably priced and lots of would-be Candy brides go to her to get a more affordable option, but I don't think 50s is Jo's own style - when I've seen her, she's always been wearing something more 30's style/bordering on gothic long dresses etc (as evident from her website). I think this is her 'natural' style so if you want a 50s style you might find that you have to guide her quite closely on what you want as it's not an era that she would naturally wear herself if you see what I mean. If you wanted a Jenny Packham-esque 30s style gown, she'd be much more 'useful' in terms of coming up with ideas and inspiration I would imagine, but of course I don't know as that's not the style I was interested in. I think that's the real difference - Candy Anthony is 50s all the way and they have all the ideas, accessories, designs etc which is brilliant and makes you feel really confident that they just 'get' the look you're aiming for, whereas Jo is naturally not really a 50s kinda gal so you are much more in the driving seat.

    Gosh that's so long! Hope it helps anyway. Feel free to private mail me if you want to ask anything else. I am on Jo's website, I'm 'Emma' in the real brides section - there's about a zillion photos of me on there now ha!
  • ah thanks for the feedback girls image

    i just feel really stuck. i loved this dress in CA and i can't stop thinking about it, and technically speaking it isn't out of my budget (my dad is giving me £2000 for my dress)... it's just by the time i factor in veil, shoes, accessories etc... i just can't handle how expensive it all is! plus, they quoted me £1990 for the dress in CA (not including a sash or any other accessories) and that is without any alterations/fittings, which i probably will need as im very petite (only 5ft 1).

    i like the look of joanne flemming dresses a lot from the website (emma yours is gorgeous!) but, as you said emma, CA just "get" the look that i'm after. but i think that if i'm paying a lot for a dress, i like the idea of it being completely fitted to me. i just want it to be perfect!

    ahh, it's all very frustrating!!

    thanks for your advice though girls... i'll keep mulling it over i suppose.

  • Check out the person making my dress @ Once Upon a Time Bespoke and really getting the look!
  • Grangebex who used to post a lot on here has started making some lovely 50's style dress, she's based up north though and I'm guessing your London based? has lots of photo's of her work.
  • Grangebex who used to post a lot on here has started making some lovely 50's style dress, she's based up north though and I'm guessing your London based? has lots of photo's of her work.
  • Ultimately you have to go with what you are comfortable getting.

    Let me say upfront I'm getting a Candy dress. I've looked at a lot of dresses.It may be not be silt, but having looked at a lot of dresses, including cheaper 50's types (e.g. fur coat, no knickers) I feel comfortable with the price. It is a lot. There is no question that it is the most expensive single item of clothing I'm probably ever likely to get, but I love it.

    The proportions (in my view anyway image ) are better than any other dress. The reason they cost most dresses is that they are made to measure. A lot of other dresses are cut to set sizes and then fitted to the individual. Candy dresses are made for you and made in England. It makes them more expensive than more others, where there is no guarantee they are made in the UK.

    I love my dress, but you have to make your own call. Try other dresses (the advice Candy gave me!), check out what you like. Whatever you decide to wear - however you decide, budget or fit! - be happy with it image
  • PS sorry for the typo!
  • emsyjemsyj Posts: 3,807
    By way of clarification, the Joanne Fleming dresses are hand made in the UK by Jo herself - and she makes a pattern just for you, they're not 'cut to size' as she designs the dress just for you. I had 3 toile fittings and I think 3 silk fittings for mine, so the fit shouldn't be an issue. There is definitely no risk that her dresses have been made abroad with cheap labour either!!!

    In my view, the Candy Anthony prices are high because they have a strong brand and also they are paying sky-high rents to be based on the OXO tower in central London. Jo only has a small studio in Brighton and as far as I am aware, she doesn't seem to have any staff. I would expect her prices might increase if she becomes better-known and can command higher rates - but I don't think the price of the Candy dresses is entirely down to quality, it's really the name that you're paying for. For some people it will be worth it, for others it won't - just like any 'designer' brand really. A Skoda is a VW with a different badge, but not everyone would want to drive a Skoda because the VW label is more prestigious.
  • dottybridedottybride Posts: 45
    I can throw another name into the pot here too! Vlasta Collu - she is based out in South Woodford (which I believe is Essex direction)!!

    I too fell in love with Candy Anthony dresses, but was put of by the price and the fact that the dresses were not silk...I then discovered Stephanie James Couture - an American designer who stocks in a bridal store in Islington...gorgeous dress fell in love, silk and lace - just what I wanted. A £3.5k price tag was not something I wanted!!!

    I did some internet searches and found Vlasta she has her own shop with samples of her work and they are great!! When I met with her we sat and picked fabric and she costed that up in front of me and put no mark up on it - then added on her dressmaking charge. For £900 I am getting a fully made to measure silk dress with chantilly lace with full petticoat and pearl buttons - very pleased so far! The cost would of prob been about £250 - £300 cheaper had I not wanted lace..

    She is super nice and worth checking out image

  • emsyjemsyj Posts: 3,807
    Oooooh yes Stephanie James and Vlasta are both AMAZING, have drooled over their websites many times!!!!!!!!!
  • klmr14klmr14 Posts: 68
    I was looking at Jo Fleming (and have nothing bad to say about her at all).


    Bit the bullet, opted for a non-bridal colour, and went with Candy Anthony. I totally fell in love witht he dress i tried on, and although I know someone could make one similar for maybe half/three quarters of the price, I was terrified that it'd not feel the same - that it would always come up a sloppy second to 'my' dress in CA.

    I strongly recommend you look around widely at what's available. But after trying on a number of conventional wedding dresses around thr £1500 mark - I just knew CA was for me.

    Also, as the dress is RED (which hadn't been my intention when I went into the shop!!! Or my mother's!!!) it's perfect - AND I actually CAN wear it again.

    You can friend CA on Facebook (if you're on it) and she has more photos of 'real' brides.

    But like I say - i got a good deal on the dress and decided to cut some money elsewhere to make it happen.
  • I think that it is such a shame that some people see independent designer/makers only as a source of getting a cheap Candy Anthony knock off. I know that this is certainly what had me chose an independent designer. I am sure that most designers would be horrified to be viewed as such. I think that each person will fall in love with their dress and has a right to feel 100% sure of their choice. I can see how trying to get a cheaper version of what you really want would feel like sloppy seconds, of course, but this, in my view not what independent designers do. I wanted something that a mass production set up as Candy Anthony, could not provide. Even in their bespoke range I found that it was not really bespoke only variations on a theme. I am 100% confident in my choice ( red as well!) based on my designers previous work and samples that I looked at, what more could you want. The alternative for me was to play safe and go for something quite samey, not really reflecting my individuality.As I say though the most important thing is for people to feel amazing about their choice, this is probably why we all defend our choices
  • SpecialSundaeSpecialSundae Posts: 3,029
    I've seen so much drooling over Candy Anthony but never been that convinced. I'm pretty sure that I'll be going to an independent dressmaker to get what I want but certainly not to get a cheap copy of someone else's design. I want to really make my own mark on my wedding dress and have something that's both completely classic and utterly unique (and ideally corseted to within and inch of my life).
  • HallyWifeyHallyWifey Posts: 2,181
    I can't comment on Joanne Fleming, but her dresses do look amazing. I can only comment on Candy Anthony as that's where I got my dress.

    I loved it. It was beautifully made and I got exactly what I wanted. I know that I did pay for the name to an extent, and I am completely comfortable with that. I was of the opinion that wedding dresses just weren't for me (more traditional ones just weren't floating my boat). I don't regret it for a minute. Every now and again, I can't believe I paid that much for a dress I have worn for a matter of hours, but I just never wanted to look back and think, 'I wish...'. The dress was a very important aspect of our wedding, and I was prepared to cut back on other things.

    By the way, alterations don't cost extra - they are included in the package. The dress will be made for you, for your measurements, including your length. They are doing a 10% discount on orders placed currently.

    I will say that the extras are expensive, like the birdcages and the sashes. But again, I decided that I wanted to go the whole hog.

    You are so lucky doing all this. I wanna wear mine again!

  • emsyjemsyj Posts: 3,807
    Gilda makes a very valid point. I would also say that Candy Anthony didn't invent the 1950s, nor the 50s style dress - she wasn't even ALIVE in the 50s!!!! So not every 50s style dress that doesn't come from CA is a cheap knock-off or sloppy seconds.
  • DollyMackayDollyMackay Posts: 61
    Hi - slightly off topic, I went to see Jo Flemming back in April as I want a 50s style dress for my wedding this August.

    I really enjoyed my meeting with Jo - as rather than just making one or two styles of dress that are made up in your size, I was able to show her images of actual dresses from the 50s - a lot of Edith Head styles etc and talk about incorporating aspects that would flatter me and also look authentic 1950.

    M y problem is - since my meeting with Jo, I have heard nothing back from her and I am now starting to become quite worried.

    I have emailed her both through her web page and the email address she had been replying to previously - I have also called the studio and left messages.

    Im starting to worry that something has happened to her?

    My wedding is now in under 4 months and I have no dress. I'm starting to get really stressed out and upset about it - my family, the groom, the bridesmaids all keep asking me what is happening and pointing out how late its getting - which isnt helping at all - and Im starting to bite the heads off of anyone who even mentions it.

    What should I do????

  • emsyjemsyj Posts: 3,807
    DollyRocker, I had the same thing, it took her weeks to get back to me with sketches and I nearly gave up! If you want to try her mobile I've got it (assuming it hasn't changed in the last year) it's 07963523928. I wasn't sure about posting it on here but it's a business number not a personal phone so think it should be okay. I wish they'd sort this site out, it would be better to private mail it to you or edit the post and delete it afterwards but I can't.
  • Hi DollyRocker

    I hope that you get this sorted soon as Jo's doing my dress as well! Went for my first fitting a couple of weeks ago but haven't heard anything since. I remember her mentioning that she was due to fly out of Italy at some point this month with work but wasn't sure if it would have to be re-scheduled because of the volcano.
  • DollyMackayDollyMackay Posts: 61
    Thats worrying.

    Thanks Emsyj - will try her on that.

    Just worried she isnt leaving much time to make the dress - and certainly isnt leaving me enough time to find another dress maker willing to do it without charging me far over the odds as it is now soooo late in the day.
  • Are you sure that someone who runs such a small business would carry a mobile phone just for work ? I am a bit worried that you may have just made available ,to all and sundry,someones private mobile no.( why else would it not be available to everyone anyway?)

    It looks like the poor woman is completely stretched, I would say to the person waiting for her to get back that unless she has paid her deposit then there is no obligation , I would not assume that my dress was on its way otherwise. Eeek may be time to make other arrangements.
  • Hi DollyRocker,

    I've had a few email replies from Jo over the past couple of days so her email address definitely is still the same / is working. Just keep persisting I suppose!

    Hope that you hear from her soon!

  • DollyMackayDollyMackay Posts: 61
    Thanks Chloe Louise- that is helpful to know.

    Gilda I appreciate that someone running an independent business may be 'stretched for time' as you put it and 'under no obligation' as you suggest, but I believe it would be as simple as a phonecall or a quick email to either let someone know you are still working on their idea, or regretfully declining due to work load.

    I was actually concerned that something may have happened to her as it has been four weeks since I met with her and was expecting to recurve designs and swatches within a couple of weeks.
  • I do completely agree, don't get me wrong, it is really bad not to have heard anything back at all. I am in no way defending this just pointing out that it is , from what you say, not a good idea to rely on this happening as there has been no contractual agreement, so perhaps it would be best to assume that it is not going to be made rather than assume it is.
  • lizbertlizbert Posts: 192
    Hi girls,

    I couldn't read this and put in my own opinion.

    I had a Candy Anthony dress for my wedding and since then have set up my own label making and selling custom made 50s style dresses. (don't worry i won't say the name of my company, i'm not on here to advertise!). So i have experience of both sides.

    When looking for my own wedding dress i noticed that there was a huge gap in the market for reasonably priced dresses, made from quality fabrics and custom made by hand. The reason CA dresses are so expensive is because they are all made by unbelievably talented dressmakers, who have years of experience in this style. They also rent a very expensive premises. I had no problem paying the price i did for my dress, the standard, quality and experience were worth every penny.

    Hearning Joanne Flemmings prices from you girls always suprises me. I really don't know how she is able to make the dresses at the prices she does. In my opinion she charges prices that you'd expect for a dress that isn't made to measure, not from silk and not made in the UK. If you've had a dress from her, you can be sure it's a bargain.

    Please don't look at independant dress makers as 'cheaper versions of Candy Anthony dresses'. I would hate to think that my brides view my work in that way. In fact, i flat out decline anyone that comes to me for a cheaper version of the same dress. If you fell in love with a Candy Anthony dress - buy it! I can almost guarantee that if you ask someone to copy it, you will end up disappointed. Independant designers are amazing at designing their own dresses, please don't treat them in any other way!
  • DollyMackayDollyMackay Posts: 61
    I am looking for an independent dressmaker because I have an idea of what I would like but need help and advice of what would flatter my plus size figure.image
  • emsyjemsyj Posts: 3,807
    My husband works for himself and he has a mobile for purely business... and the mobile number is printed on Jo's business card, so I take it from that that it isn't a personal number - or a secret.


  • klmr14klmr14 Posts: 68

    I don't mean to imply that other dressmakers are sloppy seconds or only make CA knock offs. I meant that in my case I had found 'my' dress - so if I went somewhere else I'd be asking them to copy it and that's not what I wanted to do.

    I'd also add that I visited a couple of local dressmakers who do '50s' style stuff, and there was absolultely no comparison in quality with CA.

    BUT - I understand that Jo Fleming is one of MANY very talented designers.

    For me, CA delivered exactly what I was looking for.

    Sorry to have implied otherwise.
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