Designers share their dream wedding dresses

Local wedding dress designers share their thoughts on creating a dream gown for the big day.

Jane Yeh focuses on creating stylish, romantic and elegant dresses. Photo / Supplied
Jane Yeh focuses on creating stylish, romantic and elegant dresses. Photo / Supplied

JANE YEH

What sets a Jane Yeh wedding dress apart from others?

My signature designs are stylish, romantic and elegant, using high quality and unique fabrics. I'm known for my innovative styles and famous for my high standards of workmanship and perfect fit.

What are the key trends for wedding dresses in 2012?

Feminine, natural beauty, soft flowing, dreamy, and ethereal. Natural fabrics such as crystal silk, silk chiffon, silk tulle and French laces, silk organza and garza are even more popular this year.

What are people actually asking for?

My customers come to see me because they want a different, unique look from the ready-made bridal dresses. They want a perfect fit and to feel beautiful on their special day.

How have weddings/dresses changed over the years?

Dresses these days are more stylish and unique. Brides want to express their individuality while at the same time being comfortable and able to enjoy their wedding day.

What is the one piece of advice you find yourself repeatedly telling your customers?

The gown should be an expression of a bride's personality. Knowing they are wearing their dream dress will give them the utmost confidence on their special day.

What was your own wedding dress like? Do you still have it?

My own wedding dress was simple and elegant featuring a beautiful fabric, and a perfect fit.

What is it that you love about designing wedding dresses?

I love creating exquisite wedding gowns. It is so different from ladieswear. I really let my creative juices flow and I pull out all the stops. It is similar to creating a beautiful piece of art and is very soul-satisfying for me.

Anything else you'd like to add?

I was honoured to be asked to create a special design for the Unveiled Bridal Exhibition at Te Papa in Wellington which is on until April 22. The response I received from the public was more than I could have wished for, it was quite overwhelming.

* Jane Yeh is at 272 Parnell Rd. Ph (9) 368 1527.

LIZ MITCHELL

What sets a Liz Mitchell wedding dress apart from others?

Design flair and interpretation, our couture experience and my background in theatre design and fashion. We work together with the bride to create her "dream" dress, which is created in our Auckland workroom by my accomplished staff whose creativity and experience means they understand the shape and fit of the body and know about the use of fabrics to achieve perfection for the dress.

What are the key trends for wedding dresses in 2012?

(1) The modern princess influence of the royal wedding - classical traditional styling, lace, tiaras and veils. (2) The vintage influence - luscious textures and lace, and colours such as champagne, rose and chantilly cream. (3) The eco "green" influence - the use of beautiful, natural materials. (4) The financial environment is a consideration yet the perfect wedding dress is still paramount.

What are people actually asking for?

The bride is asking for our couture experience to create a beautiful and unique dress. We love being involved with the planning and the attention to detail in design, bringing all the elements together for a perfect day.

How have weddings/dresses changed over the years?

For the dresses, more obvious sexiness, strapless and low-cut backs. The influence of celebrities and the red carpet provide constant inspiration of contemporary fashion straight from the runway. I adore the elegance of the 50s and 60s and I strive for a subtle sexiness rather than the obvious.

Weddings can be much more individual these days, reflecting the bride and groom's tastes. These can be lavish or simple, with or without a planner, and impacted by the complexity of today's family relationships.

What is the one piece of advice you find yourself repeatedly telling your customers?

It's all to do with body shape to create a beautiful fit. For our bride the right undergarments provide the foundation - this is needed for the first toile fitting. Brides often plan to lose weight and as the fitting can take place over several months, the timing needs to be considered for the garment's construction.

What was your own wedding dress like? Do you still have it?

I have been in a long-term relationship with my partner for many years. I do have my mother's wedding dress in my collection that she made herself in the 1950s. It is Dior-influenced and calf-length in cotton embroidered swiss organdie - very simple and chic.

What is it that you love about designing wedding dresses?

The time and attention to detail we can give to create the ultimate result. We have time to build a relationship with the bride and her family. Being able to use my couture aesthetic, working with the fabrics, the detail, the beauty of it all and the pleasure it brings; and the brides often become my ongoing clients for day and evening wear. They love the experience of bespoke - having garments that truly fit .

* Liz Mitchell is at 196 Great North Rd, Grey Lynn. Ph (09) 360 5047.

ANNA SCHIMMEL

What sets an Anna Schimmel wedding dress apart from others?

I design and create each gown with our bride-to-be to make it stunning and new, yet personal to her. We use the world's finest fabrics, our cut is superb and the craftsmanship immaculate.

What are the key trends for wedding dresses in 2012?

Kate and William's wedding has made a definite impact with dramatic silhouettes and generous use of laces. Fabrics are highly textured, while organza and tulle add romance and depth.

What are people asking for?

Big skirts and fine, sheer laces. Buttoned backs and dramatic bows.

How have weddings/dresses changed over the years?

Beautiful wedding gowns have become a statement of style and set the tone for the wedding, more so now than ever. Trends change fast and luxury has come into reach for more brides.

What is the one piece of advice you find yourself repeatedly telling your customers?

Choose a designer with a great portfolio who will create your perfect dream gown. This gown will make you feel spectacular and you will always remember wearing it.

What is it that you love about designing wedding dresses?

I love the creative aspect, the challenge to create something which is timeless but still new. And I revel in the challenge to get the technical aspect right.

* 23 Dickens St, Ponsonby. Ph (09) 378 0821. See bridaldesign.co.nz.

ELIZABETH SOLJAK, A LA ROBE

What sets your wedding dresses apart from others?

A La Robe uses layers of soft, floaty or voluminous silks to create unstructured styles that have lightness and movement. We also dye the fabrics ourselves so we can do outfits that have subtle pink shades under the more usual ivory, or dip dye the skirts to look shadowy at the hem. We are also launching our new online store, so brides all over New Zealand have easier access to our A La Robe style.

What are the key trends for wedding dresses in 2012?

We're still using our favourite silk organza and making our signature wraps, but we're combining them with new, draped top silhouettes. We're also noticing more people referencing Downton Abbey because of all the long dresses worn in the show.

What are people actually asking for?

A different look because they don't want to wear the ubiquitous white strapless gown.

How have weddings/dresses changed over the years?

I now do more sheer but detailed dresses over bias silk slips for a vintage feel, which also looks sexy, a la Kate Moss. I also have a new cobwebby silk veil which is so delicate you forget it's on.

What is the one piece of advice you find yourself repeatedly telling your customers?

It's about the love. Don't make things hard for yourself. That goes for the dress, and everything else.

What was your own wedding dress like?

I wore a beaded silk wrap skirt with a draped lace top, that I made myself (my mother helped), because I couldn't find anything I wanted to wear. I have worn the skirt to a friend's wedding with a black top and sandals, and I wore the top out with jeans. I think it is a lovely idea to be able to wear the pieces again.

What is it that you love about designing wedding dresses?

It's the ultimate special occasion dream dress, so imagination and creativity are involved. I've realised that I love long dresses - the way they move and the way they make you feel.

Anything you'd like to add?

Winter weddings should be far more popular. Think about starry nights, forests, open fires and mulled wine. You can pick the date you want, get good deals on everything, and be unique.

* 2nd floor, 8 Teed St, Newmarket. Ph (09) 522 1139. See alarobe.com.

- NZ Herald

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