Founder, Diane Houston
How/Where did it all Begin?
I have been making garments from fine fabrics ever since I can remember, so lingerie was a natural progression for me.
How would you describe your Style?
The pieces are very carefully made, with a lot of attention to detail- and very feminine. Gilda & Pearl aims to create lingerie to make you feel beautiful, empowered and desirable- people have even very kindly referred to the collection as a beautiful sort of art that you almost don't want to wear! Quirky names including, "How to Marry A Millionaire" set the tone for the vintage-inspired collections.
What Fabrics do you like to use and why?
I use a lot of silk satins and chiffons. There is something so elegant about them and I love the idea of dressing up every day. I'm hugely influenced by those impeccably dressed 1940s film noir female leads; they were so sophisticated, glamorous and sexy. I like to evoke that idea with beautiful, well-made lingerie and carefully chosen fabric combinations.
I also use a lot of locally sourced fabrics when possible- for example, currently we use laces sourced from the traditional Nottingham lace mills, and we've just started to work with a traditional century old mill in Scotland.
Seductive features including satin ribbons and covered buttons add a sense of luxury.
Have you had a chance to Travel?
Lots of places! Egypt, the Amazon rainforest, the Caribbean, all through Brazil, Venezuela and Europe, New York, Australia's East coast, Cambodia and Thailand to name a few. The rest and all the new experiences give me a lot of inspiration for the collections. I was also lucky enough to live in France for a time which influenced me hugely. I would love to go to Tibet and also to trek in the Sahara desert- it would be such an extreme environment, different to anything I've experienced.
Where do you draw your Inspiration from?
I began with Rita Hayworth in the 1946 film Gilda as a sort of icon. The indulgent, beautiful fabrics of her couture wardrobe in that film caused quite a scandal at the time- it was even credited with sealing her status as the ultimate femme fatale. I hope the label's carefully handmade silk pieces can offer a little of the same effect to the wearer.
What is the best piece of Advice you've ever been given?
'Anything's possible' is a nice one that I try to live by-but 'don't waste the present stressing about the future' definitely applies day to day! I also always carry a notebook to write down or sketch ideas that come to mind, which was a great piece of advice I was given a long time ago.
What is your Quirkiest Habit?
Getting ready to meet friends in time (just!) and then finding something to make me late- running back in to pick up something pretty but wholly unnecessary for the task at hand, an accessory of some kind for example- or a good book for the journey. It drives them mad.
What is your Happiest Memory?
I've been lucky- there have been so many. But to pick one from my travels, trekking in a beautiful part of Venezuela when wild horses galloped past. That and coming out alive from the terrifying, well-travelled four seater plane with roll down windows which got me there!
For the ultimate in seduction, Gilda & Pearl offer a bespoke service where special wedding lingerie commissions and gift items, for example, are handmade to your specifications in their atelier.