Singaporebrides | Fashion
Behind the Gossamer – Preview 2011
We’ve worked with our designers for countless photo shoots, saw them through numerous fashion shows, and ooh-ed and aah-ed over their mesmerising designs, season after season. For the first time ever, SingaporeBrides.com sits down with the crème de la crème in the realm of Singapore’s wedding design world and listens to what they have to say about the upcoming year. And trust us, they’re worth listening to.
In our closing photo shoot for 2010, 1000 Roses by Zhang Jingna, we make a dramatic exit with the dark and mysterious mood, but give you a glimpse into the bridal styles that will hold reign in the new year. From the classic to the bold, the sleek to the bouffant, the luxurious wedding gowns showcased in 1000 Roses weren’t created only for show; they were made to be worn by you.
We reveal the celebrated faces behind all the lace, tulle and taffeta as we get to know more about their motivations and inspirations. These seven designers represent the best among the few that the local bridal industry has to offer. Each of these designers has his or her own signature style and are sought-after by many brides-to-be. They also let us peek into their visions of what depicts the year 2011 for each of them, in drawing.
Amanda from AMANDA LEE WEDDINGSAdrina
Amanda is the sort of person you’d want to tell your secrets to within the first hour you’ve met her – she’s amiable, warm and engaging. She started designing more than 15 years ago, after studying in the US, and fell in love with designing bridal gowns.
“When I wanted to be a designer, I never thought I would be in the bridal line. I just wanted to design. But the more I got into it, I realised that you don’t get satisfaction out of a mass produced market – your customers may not ultimately be the target market that you had pictured in your mind. That’s why I went into bridal – there’s a specific clientele, or even a specific person you’re designing for, and it’ll be exactly how you pictured it to be. I enjoy the personalised touch. That’s what I love about designing gowns,” Amanda explained.
“I think the thing that hooks a designer to designing wedding gowns is that you can feel the joy coming from the couples. You can see how much in love they are, and how they complement each other so well, and that they’d be wearing your design to begin the first day of the rest of their lives. It goes beyond the wedding day, and it’s really touching,” she added.
Looking forward into 2011, Amanda is hoping to explore shorter wedding gowns. “More and more women know where their strengths like, and they want sexier gowns – so shorter, flirter gowns might just be the answer!”
Dang from DANG BRIDALAurelia
Poised, sophisticated and exuding understated glamour, you could almost liken Dang to the iconic fashion designer, Carolina Herrera, except, of course, Dang designs wedding gowns. Her effortless glamour transcends from herself onto her stunning designs, all the way to her picturesque designer studio loft that overlooks Clarke Quay.
Dang, who has been designing for 20 years, observes the trend changes in the bridal industry. “I now design for well-heeled women who know what they want. They are working professionals who seek nothing but the best for themselves, and they come to me because they have seen what I have done, and they want their dream wedding dress to become reality.”
Dang continues, “It’s important for me that the bride feels comfortable in her dress, so I design according to her personality. What makes us different? We go the extra mile to source for materials all over the world to make that dream dress come true.”
When asked about the year to come, Dang said, “I’ll continue to reinvent the traditional cheongsam, explore with fabrics and colours to the satisfaction of my brides.”
Kim from DIVINE COUTUREAbia
“I started fourteen years ago, when I decided that brides should have a place they can go to where they can tell a designer what they want instead of being pushed or coerced into wearing a gown they don’t love. It started as a very homely place in Mandarin Gallery, where we invite the brides to chat with us even before anything else, so they feel more at ease,” Kim, the brains behind Divine Couture, quipped.
“I love designing gowns because it’s nice to see people happy. The joy that radiates from brides is a different kind of joy from what you normally experience. It’s a happily-ever-after thing, a fairytale – it’s every girl’s dream so it’s nice to fulfill someone’s dream,” she added.
“The bride inspires me when I design. I design according to her personality. It wouldn’t make sense for me to, for example, give a sporty, fuss-free bride a big gown with an exceptionally long train, so I make sure the gown fits her personality,” Kim explains.
“Next year? Well, we’ve moved to a different location, so with that, I’m hoping for big changes. However, I’ll still be making princess-like dresses that we all used to dream of as little girls, with a hint of sexiness,” Kim added with a grin.
Euzart from JAWN HAPPY.EVER.AFTERKeryn
“There is no colour that wouldn’t suit a skin tone, I always say. Red, for example, goes from crimson all the way to orangey tones and there’s a red to suit every skin tone. It’s more about whether or not you want to wear red on your wedding day,” Euzart of Jawn Happily Ever After quips.
Euzart is no stranger to the industry – he started studying fashion at the tender age of 16 and, whilst in the army, he participated and represented Singapore in several avant-garde design competitions and one of the awards he won was the Young Designers’ Award in 1999. While he enjoys all areas of designs, he started doing bridal designs 12 years ago, because according to him, it was the “most drama and the most fun he can have with fabrics and designs”.
Euzart designs with the bride in mind. He advises brides not to bring too many different people to see the gown before the wedding because different people would have different inputs and this steers you away from The Dream Dress.
He is looking forward to pushing boundaries in 2011: “One of the best things about working with wedding gowns is that there is a lot of room for creativity – whether it is in the fabric, the design, the cut or even down to the finest details.”
Jeff from LAVIE BRIDALCamilla
Jeff, the designer at Lavie Bridal, has a tale of hard work and success. “My passion for design started when I was still in school – I found school torturous and I didn’t enjoy it. I used to admired well-dressed people from afar I was a waiter and I decided to pursue fashion.”
“Unfortunately, at that time, you could only study fashion as a private student, which was very costly. I wasn’t born with a silver spoon in my mouth, so to put myself through fashion school, I had to work three jobs,” he reminisced.
“I had to pay my school fees in installments because I couldn’t afford it, and the lecturers weren’t exactly keen on the installment payment, so they usually ignored the students who were less wealthy. While some of friends couldn’t handle the discrimination, I’m the sort of person who would stick to my guns when my mind is already made up. I produced stellar work, which impressed my lecturers, and made them realise that I really have my heart is in line,” he added.
He likes to have a focus when it comes to fashion, so he started designing wedding gowns. He enjoys the creative entity and does not want to be bothered with logistics, finance and everything else that comes with setting up a business which is why he is “lucky to have found a great boss and an equally fantastic work environment at Lavie.”
“I don’t believe in trends when it comes to wedding gowns, but next year, I’m looking to explore colours, and shapes. Taking the avant-garde into more wearable gowns,” Jeff finished.
Jit from SILVERLINING BRIDAL COUTUREGidania
A graphic designer by training and a lecturer by day, Jit, the man behind Silverlining Bridal Couture certainly has his work cut out for him. The effervescent designer discovered his passion for wedding fashion when he designed his sister’s wedding dress when he was in his late teens. He got offered a job almost immediately at the boutique where the gown was made, and pursued gown design whilst still in school. He set up Silverlining in 2002 and hasn’t looked back since.
“I like wedding gowns because of the details and the space that allow me to play around and have fun with. My signature style is the bare-back gown, and I suppose it’s because I feel that it emphasises and shows off the subtle femininity of the women that wear my gowns.”
“At the end of the day, I always tell my client that it’s all about confidence,” he added. “No matter if they’re petite, medium-build or bigger-sized, I believe that there are no set rules when it comes to what they can or cannot wear. It really is up to the individual because, it is your big day after all.”
“I’m looking to explore with more fabrics and detailing next year. Bare-backs will still remain my forte and what brides come to me for, for sure,” he said, looking forward to 2011.
Patrick from THE WEDDING PRESENTLeah
It’s hard not to get overwhelmed when you walk into The Wedding Present’s boutique in Bukit Pasoh: a smorgasbord of picture-perfect wedding gowns line the walls and you feel like a child, wanting to jump into the racks in search of your dream gown. Established 13 years ago, Patrick Chan, designer at The Wedding Present, explained that they pride themselves with the fact that all gowns are designed and tailored in-house. This ensures not only a comfortable fit, but also that all elements of designs are within their control.
“With the exception of the newly-introduced Crystal Embroidery, all embellishments are customised and hand-sewn by our own team and not out-sourced or mass produced by non-Wedding Present staff. We also do not have any in-house photographers and/or make-up artistes and instead work with industry experts in these areas. We believe that the professionals in their own fields are the best people to provide expert services for bridal couples for their big day,” he elaborated further.
“We are also fiercely original with our design philosophies – not only are our gown designs all originals (no 2 gowns are ever alike), our print advertisement campaigns are often undertaken by industry fashion photographers and partners. In addition, our design ideas are updated all the time—new gowns are created every month—so our designs are never static and never repetitive.” Patrick said with much gusto.
“Our designs are classic silhouettes with a contemporary twist. We love a lot of handiwork like bead work, laces and a variety of tailoring techniques including ruching, pleating and layering. The feel of our gowns are always very fluid and elegant; we like our gowns to be quietly beautiful rather than a garish attention-grabbing get-up.”
When asked about their inspirations, Patrick divulged, “We are inspired by old movies, vintage haute couture gowns from a by-gone golden era and print works from creative, cutting-edge photographers. We like to mix the old with the new and this shows in our gowns, which are all classic outlines but with a modern interpretation, especially when it comes to a design accent or gown embellishment.”
And for 2011? “We anticipate 2011 to feature an exuberance of texture and grandeur. We are working with our usual multi-layered gowns with customised crystal embroidery, which adds sparkle and a 3D texture. Bridal fabric like French lace with an old world charm is re-worked in a layered manner, which ups the glamour quotient. The look is grand, regal and opulent; plus each gown is unique because all embellishments are hand-sewn by the designers at The Wedding Present.”
View the full collection.
Credits: Designers’ portraits by Ray Ong of Photolanguage