I often encounter two different types of brides. The first is the kind who knows exactly what she wants and what she is looking for. She has been planning this day ever since she was little, or at least ever since she knew she had found the person with whom she wants to say "I do." Either way, she comes prepared when we have our first consultation. She has been shopping for a while but hasn't yet seen what she wants. She shows me sketches, pictures, and very specific details of the dress she wants to make. Usually the challenge is to incorporate everything into one actual design idea.
The second type of bride I meet is very different. It's the girl who has almost no idea what she wants to wear. BUT… She knows what she doesn't want to wear. She basically has hated everything she has seen out there in bridal shops and bridal magazines. She usually loves my style and my designs for my ready-to-wear line and that's why she wants me to come up with a creation for her wedding. It's always so exciting to accept the challenge because I find my inspiration in her story and her personality.
In both cases, it is usually hard for the brides to decide to go forward with a custom bridal gown, especially because we only discuss sketches and there is no actual drape yet of our ideas to try on.
I always find that when we take the first trip to the garment district in New York City and we start looking at actual fabrics both brides are in. It is such an important part of the process for them because for the first time they can actually envision the real deal. They can touch and feel the material and see how it's going to look over their body. For me, as a designer, I can picture things in my head: the way the fabrics can be combined, the way a soft silk will drape over your body and a tough taffeta or organza will give structure to a garment. But for the bride, it's always the moment when a bride sees the perfect fabric or lace that the rest of the design and process comes alive in her mind and she is ready to take the leap into the unknown word of custom bridal…
Here are some of my favorite places to take a bride…
It's a classic. They have left-over designer fabric – you can never go wrong there. We’re talking Givenchy, Alexander McQueen, and Ferragamo, to say the least. I know it's a cliché to say, “Go to Mood,” but it's always, always amazing. The bridal lace section in the back has never disappointed.
It's overwhelming and you can go crazy if you are alone. They basically have every kind of fabric you can imagine. When I was in school at the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) I would often go there and get swatches for all my projects because it's almost a one- stop shop. The selection of silk, satins, organzas, taffetas, and chiffons is impeccable. This is the store where we usually find the basis fabric for every dress.
A specialty boutique for bridal fabrics and, most definitely, laces and lace designs. I’ve found many incredible pieces that I've used on wedding gowns and veils. They also have a wide selection of crystal trims that can be hand sewn to finish a design.
Those are just a few of my favorites. I hope they have inspired you and I can't wait to take you on that journey one day.