Kim Stokes is a young, English-speaking dressmaker with a shop in Vence, the village of artists. Kim specialises in customising bridal wear and any wardrobe for the bridal party. Dressmaking was not always in the stars for Kim, she started her career as an IT consultant but eventually found herself walking in the footsteps of her mother and grandmother, who were also dressmakers.
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Kim has created her company Gold Leaf Finish in Vence, teaching herself to sew and create dresses from her mother and who also comes from a long line of family that had the tradition of making their own clothes.
She never really thought about it as a profession until she got married. Her husband just like many of us, struggled with fast fashion cloths that needed to be adjusted to fit perfectly. She was very good at it, and she quickly went from adjusting hems to designing her own dresses that received many compliments at parties. A fire was lit and and a business was born.
Since then, Kim has focused her business on bridal dresses. She works a lot with local customers but also, 'destination brides' - couples who come to the south of France to get married. To top off a beautiful backdrop, brides also want to have their gowns made locally.
Kim works with brides to either tailor ‘demi-measure’ dresses (which means that the dress is in between sizes and therefore most of the time needs to be altered) as well as creating a dress from scratch. If you find a dress in the shop that is perfect on the top, but you would rather match it with a different bottom, or vice versa, she is your gal for that! In her atelier in Vence she makes your dream dress come true.
Creating a dress from scratch takes time though. While Kim has been a soft-hearted sucker for a pleading bride on bended knee who needed help at the very last minute, a dress ideally needs 3 months to get right if you don't want to stress out about it days before the wedding.
Part of the experience of getting a dress custom-made by Kim is also to follow her to speak with the local fabric suppliers and choose your own fabrics to have an ultimately tailored, one-of-a-kind bridal gown.
She shared with us her concerns about weddings that have been postponed, some even until next year due to the current situation. She would like to participate with a little help to ease this period, therefore if you let Kim know that you cam through the Riviera English-Speakers website, from now until end of this year, she will be offering a 15% discount on the dress you need to be altered, adjusted, fixed, bring back to life or created from scratch.
In the meantime, Kim has plans to kick off her own bridal collection in the near future so look out for her business in Vence. She is also planning to put on some classes to help those at home now with basic but creative ways to sew.