RIP Ian Stuart: Death of bridal design 'icon' confirmed age 55

Eve Edwards October 20, 2022
RIP Ian Stuart: Death of bridal design 'icon' confirmed age 55
Photo by Matthew Lloyd/Getty Images

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British bridal designer Ian Stuart has passed away at the age of 55, with his death confirmed by friends and former collaborators online.

Stuart made his name as one of the most go-to designers working in the bridal industry, beloved by royalty and the fashion industry alike. Among his clientele included Oscar-winning actress Helen Mirren.

As news of Stuart’s death is confirmed, we take a look back over his life and highlights throughout his illustrious career.

Photo by Steve Eichner/WWD/Penske Media via Getty Images

Bridal designers confirm Ian Stuart’s death at 55

Since news of Ian Stuart’s passing broke on October 18, a number of bridal designers and publications took to social media to pay homage to the late designer.

The Bridal Affair wrote in tribute: “He was a true gentleman and icon in the wedding industry… Stuart’s designs were incredibly creative and totally unique. It was always a delight to see his inspirational gowns at our wedding shows.”

“Sending our condolences to his husband, family, friends and previous work colleagues and stockists,” The Bridal Affair continued.

Bournemouth’s Chameleon Brides wrote of Ian Stuart: “He was an absolute legend in his field and a trailblazer. His designs were flamboyant and opulent.”

About Ian Stuart’s journey to becoming a bridal designer

Born March 24, 1967 in Holland, Ian Stuart and his family would move to Manchester, UK at the age of five. Stuart would remain in the UK for the rest of his career, where he became one of Britain’s most beloved wedding dress designers.

After graduating with a fashion degree from Berkshire College of Art and Design in 1989, Stuart was snapped by by David Sassoon to work for his couture company, Bellville Sassoon. Aged 25, Stuart would go on to work at Sweetheart Gowns, an American bridalwear company. Stuart remained with them for a decade, in which time he won Wedding Dress Designer of the Year in the USA.

In 2002, Ian Stuart moved back to London from the States and decided to pursue his own design company. A year later, he launched The Collection Designed by Ian Stuart alongside fellow designer Peter Tague. Over the next decade, Stuart’s company would become one of the most coveted in the UK. In 2007, his label evolved to Ian Stuart-London. He worked as a wedding dress designer for over four decades.

Ian Stuart passed away at the age of 55 on October 18, 2022. As of yet a cause of death has not been revealed.

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A look back over Stuart’s bridal highlights

There have been listless career highlights throughout Ian Stuart’s life working as a bridal designer. From numerous awards to TV gigs, Stuart was always at the heart of the bridal design industry.

Ian Stuart won four The Bridal Designer of the Year at the Bridal Buyer Awards in a row in 2004, 2005, 2006, and 2007. Three years later, in 2010, Stuart won UK Bridal Designer of the year.

In 2018, Ian Stuart appeared as the focus of a Channel 4 series called The Posh Frock Shop. The series followed Stuart at his opulent London Boutique, The Blewcoat, as he helped women find their dream wedding dresses.

Other highlights in Stuart’s career includes being featured in the Wedding Dresses 1775-2014 exhibition at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, England. The exhibition opened to the public on May 3, 2014. It traced the development of the white wedding dress, displaying variations of the bridal look by leading designers and couturiers over two centuries.

Princess Diana was a loyal customer of Bellville Sassoon

While Ian Stuart was working at Bellville Sassoon, Princess Diana was one of the couture company’s most loyal customers. The late princess was often sporting Sassoon’s designs during her marriage to the now-King Charles III (1981-1996).

In an interview with Margaret Driscoll, Sassoon reveals that he was one of Princess Diana’s most trusted confidants and favourite designers. He designed more than 70 gowns for her over nearly two decades. Ian Stuart was a protege of Sassoon’s during this time, although it is unconfirmed whether any of his design ideas were modelled by the late princess. You can see one of Stuart’s designs for Bellville Sassoon here.

Our thoughts are with Ian Stuart’s family and friends during this difficult time.

Photo by Matthew Lloyd/Getty Images
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Eve Edwards is a staff writer for The Focus who has been with GRV Media since April 2019. Having gained a BA (Hons) in History from the University of Bristol, Eve joined GRV starting out as a writer for Reality Titbit before making her way over to HITC. With a passion for music, TV, and cultural news, Eve eventually found a home at The Focus. Eve spent 2021-2022 freelancing for GRV Media while she completed a Masters in Music Performance, and brings her wide array of interests to the company in her written work. In Eve's spare time you'll find her working her way through the day's Wordle, Heardle, and Quordle, or struggling to complete The Guardian's cryptic crossword.