BUYING eveningwear is rarely a joyful experience. When you’ve got an “event” to go to, it’s surprising how often you’ll ignore the guiding principles of taste that govern your everyday wardrobe and plump for an outfit you’d never normally describe as “you”, in the interests of formality and speed.
Galvan set out to change that in 2014 when it launched with a series of streamlined, pared-back but nevertheless glamorous column dresses. Founded by Katherine Holmgren (commercial director), Sola Harrison (creative director), Anna-Kristin Haas (design director) and Carolyn Hodler (sales director) Galvan has since conquered the niche for cool eveningwear that feels modern. Now, the girls are launching a ‘Studio’ in Notting Hill, their first bricks and mortar outpost, and opening up their archive to re-release bygone styles. Vogue spoke to them exclusively about the latest developments.
Why is it important for Galvan to have a physical presence in London?
Katherine: Shopping for eveningwear involves a higher level of service than most ready-to-wear. A floor-length dress may require shortening, for instance, while a corseted jumpsuit is more specific in fit than a sweater. We want to take away any sense of hindrance and make shopping as easy as possible for our clients. This means giving them the option of shopping however they’d like – whether that’s buying online, having a complimentary fitting in their own home, or coming to our studio where they can browse the broadest range of styles (past, current and future collections) as well as custom options.
Is the decision to offer pieces from the Galvan archive a response to customer demand?
Anna: Yes, we kept getting requests from customers for styles from past collections. Sometimes it was a style that they already owned and wanted in another colour, or it was a piece that they had spotted in the press or in our archive. Since our factories are all based locally in London, we can recut quickly and cost effectively. Our long-sleeved, pleated dress from autumn/winter 2016, worn by Leighton Meester to the 2017 Golden Globes, has been an especially frequent request.
Do you have plans to open studios elsewhere?
Sola: We plan to open in LA and New York in 2018. And just as each Galvan collection has the same values of clean design and easy luxury, the studios will all share a pared back aesthetic that feels refined yet welcoming.
You’re also launching bridal – why now?
Carolyn: We started receiving requests from brides the moment we launched Galvan in 2014. Clearly, the gap in the market that we saw in eveningwear also existed in bridal. For the past two years we’ve been making custom pieces for brides and bridesmaids, but we waited to formally launch until we had a beautiful space for appointments and fittings. Our first capsule collection of lace wedding dresses will be available from January 2018.
What will a Galvan bride look like?
Sola: Never cheesy. You’ll recognise the same sleek aesthetic that Galvan is known for in its eveningwear. We will offer specific designs but with different options for colour, fabric or embellishment. Our first collection of wedding dresses includes the dresses that we designed for two of our founders: Katherine Holmgren, who was married in Seville in 2016, and Anna-Christin Haas who was married in Positano this summer.
And as for all those dresses and jumpsuits Sienna Miller has worn?
Katherine: Celebrity has been hugely important for us. There’s simply no faster way to grow brand awareness on a global level. When Jennifer Lawrence chose our silver slip dress for the Met Gala after party, sales around the world immediately spiked. Same with when Sienna Miller wore our white jumpsuit to Wimbledon. Those pieces will all be made available to customers – so if you missed out first time, now’s the time to buy.
Galvan Studio, 8 Clarendon Cross, London W11 4AP. Appointments can be booked by emailing email@example.com