FashionBride Interview with Ines di Santo

FashionBride  interviewed bridal designer Ines di Santo. The talented designer told us about the way she decided to design, about her favorite gowns and the way she created the bridal gown for her daughter.


ines di santo
ines di santo

Tell us what were the reasons that determinate you to became a fashion designer?


As a very young girl, I was very interested in fashion design. I made clothes for my friends when I was 15 for those celebrating their fifteenth birthdays in Argentina where I grew up after I moved there form Italy. From that point I just kept creating clothing and further advancing my skills.

And why the special interest for the bridal industry?

When I was designing evening wear in the 80’s all the rules could be broken but bridal provided an even bigger challenge and presented a landscape that was unexplored in my opinion.


Some of the best designers in the world are born in Italy. Do you think your background influenced in any way your creations?

Yes, I think that the Italian culture and passion for the arts is something that every Italian lives out everyday whether it is with food or fashion. 

Talk us trough the process of making a gown. And tell us if you have a special way of designing (maybe some superstitions when designing?)

I design gowns that are made in the French tradition of “Couture”. My garments are meticulously constructed and I use only the finest of silks and embroideries to create a garment that moves well and feels amazing and above all looks and fits like a glove. 

Do you have a favorite gown? One that you’ve created and has a special meaning. And if so, what does it make it so special?

I think of all my gowns as my children. I do not have a favorite as each ones has brought me one step closer to the expertise and knowledge I hold today.

You’ve designed your daughter’s gown. How did that feel?

It was the most amazing and exhilarating project for me to date. It was wrapped with such emotion that every drape and every aspect of those designs were so passionate and exciting for me.

How do you see a perfect bride? What should she wear?

Every dress is a personality. For me, the best dress is the one that brings out your best features and makes you feel your best.

Do you prefer a more conventional style or go for the avant guard when designing your collections?

I like an eclectic mix that presents styles that are fresh and new but reminiscent of something of the past as all fashion is cyclical so it is inevitably going to be as such.

What about white, should a bride consider having a different color for her dress? Do you approve such an approach  ?

A brides’ choice for color should be something special and personal. Often times we look better in something other than white. Other times the style itself beckons for a particular color as in the case for lace. For me lace is best when it is not pure white.

Tell us some more about your 2009 collection.  What are the novelties that Ines di Santo brings?

The 2009 Collection will be presented in October and it is an absolute secret!

Last but not least, do you have an advice for FashionBride readers?

Limit your search to your favorite 3 designers. Visit a maximum of 5 salons. Select gowns that match your personality and personal style to avoid feeling like you are having an out of body experience!

FashionBride Interview with Michael Shettel

Alfred Angelo is one of the most recognized brand of bridal apparel around the globe. For nearly 75 years they have been dressing brides and the members of their wedding party in elegant and affordable gowns.

FashionBride managed to talk to the renowned Alfred Angelo’s designer, Michael Shettel who managed to give us some insight details on what lies behind those wonderful collections.

When did you decide to become a designer  and why  a focus on brides?

I studied Fashion Design at FIT in New York.  Graduated with an Associate degree, then went back for a BFA, also from FIT, both in the early 1980’s.  I then went on to work with some of fashion’s iconic figures, such as Irving Penn, Diana Vreeland, M. Hubert de Givenchy in Paris, Tommy Hilfiger, Arnold Scassi, Georgio Sant’Angelo, and Hanae Mori.  All were amazing experiences, and provided a wealth of knowledge to me, not only about the person, but about their specialty in the fashion industry.  Each job was different and allowed me to put to work my schooling and see the relevance of it in the fashion industry as a whole, which gave me a wonderful perspective.  

I started working with Alfred Angelo in 1999, and have been designing with them ever since.  Bridal has been such a wonderful experience because it allows me the opportunity to work directly with the customers on many occasions.  It affords me the luxury of making elegant and beautiful gowns every season, that will always have special meaning for the wearer well after the day.

How did your first wedding gown looked like? Do you remember, can you describe it a bit?

The first wedding dress I designed was for my brother’s fiance.  It was a Christmas wedding, she wore a French Vanilla Silk Satin ball gown with  vintage ivory lace and crystal beading. We knew it was going to be cold so I added a fur trimmed cape.

Tell us about your inspiration and a bit more about the process of creating a gown.

Every season is inspired by some idea, photo or event.  Last season was a trip to Butterfly World in Florida. This season’s collection is definitely inspired by our 75th Anniversary.  To look back on our storied history and see what beautiful gowns came before, and then create a new classic in modern fabrics and silhouettes was such a wonderful opportunity and challenge.

How long does it take to create a brand new gown?

From concept and sketch to exacting original patterns, sewing, embroidery and beading designs to finessing….finessing and many fittings..8-10 weeks.

Do you also work with brides? Or you just offer them a given pattern?

I love working with the brides!  It’s, hands down, the best part of my job.  To be able to have that one on one experience with a bride in helping her choose her perfect dress for the biggest day of her life, and getting to know her personality and style, then knowing when you’ve found “her” dress….it doesn’t get much better than that.

Have you got any particular dress you designed and has a very special meaning for you? A dress that you remember and care about?

I think this 2009 collection is very special to me because of what it signifies…Alfred Angelo’s presence in the bridal industry for 75 years.  We are one of very few companies in bridal to have survived so long and also still remain a family owned company.  There’s a lot of history here, and we are celebrating that this season.

Do you think a bride should stick to white in a more traditional approach ? Or should we start thinking in colors?

Alfred Angelo loves incorporating variety into our designs.  We are one of the bridal companies at the forefront of blending color into white gowns and presenting gowns that are not white at all. 

Adding a splash of color is one way to add a modern and contemporary spin on a traditional white gown. In every collection we offer new styles in our wildly popular Dream In ColorTM collection.   The response to Dream In ColorTM  has been so overwhelming because it allows the bride to be a part of the design of her gown and adds an additional level of personalization.  

What I’ve learned working with the brides is that they really want to be part of the design process.  By allowing them to have a dress that comes in ivory or white with 55 different colors to add to a panel train, a trim on a neckline, or a sash, they really become part of the design process.  By offering 55 colors in our color palette, the bride can personalize her wedding to her linens, flowers, bridal party, the overall theme of their wedding, making it truly one-of-a-kind.  We also have the ability of ordering extra fabric for the groomsmen’s waistcoats or cravats, if the bride so desires.  Adding color allows her to use her imagination and create her own theme in order to best express her individuality.  

From your point of view, how should a perfect bride be?  What  do you have to offer and other  brands don’t.

All brides should remain calm.  First and foremost, relax and enjoy her day!!!!  She will glow!!!

Alfred Angelo offers amazing styling and inside construction…our fit will make any bride confidant.

Why do you think your gowns stay apart from the crowd?

Alfred Angelo really believes the bride is a variety of people, from different body shapes, heights, backgrounds and sizes, and we encompass every woman when creating the collections.  We design a variety of styles, but ultimately want to highlight and accentuate a woman’s body so she feels her best on her big day. We want to make all childhood dress up fantasies a reality, no matter what size and shape the bride is.

Since Alfred Angelo’s core philosophy is designing for  “every” woman, we offer the sizes of the modern woman.  And the modern woman ranges in sizes 2-28W, sometimes smaller, and sometimes larger.  Every single bride deserves to feel like the most beautiful woman in the world on her wedding day.  Our stockists allow us to help fulfill that fairy tale dream…for every woman.  A bride is a bride, and they all deserve to be beautiful.

Can you give us an insight on your 2009 Collection? What where your inspiration sources, what did you opt for as materials, shapes etc.

Spring 2009 is about light and airy chiffons, silks, beaded netting and tulles…fabrics that flow and glide when the bride walks across the room, giving the bride an ethereal quality. These fabrics are also easily manipulated to add texture or the illusion of texture, depending on the design of the dress. 

We are still showing  the slim and sleek silhouette that has been popular.  Modern brides are looking for sinewy shapes in supple fabrics that accentuate a woman’s body in all of the right places.  Fit and Flare and Mermaid silhouettes are popular for brides who love showing their well-toned bodies or natural curves.

This season, we introduced new mermaid and trumpet shaped gowns to really flatter the figure, in addition to the classic strapless, a-line shapes we are known for.  The new silhouettes give women with curves another option to celebrate their bodies.  The styles for 2009 reflect my inspirations, and are a combination of feminine, glamorous, sophisticated, and sometimes classic styles.

Last but not least, do you have an advice for FashionBride readers?

Splurge….treat yourself…..remember it’s all about you!!! Have a ball!!

FashionBride Interview with Charlotte Leung

Getting to interview a designer is a privilege, in words you discover a world that can be seen only in wonderful creations, a world that will reveal to us only when we’ll get the chance to wear such incredible designs.

I’ve tried to get Charlotte Leung (the designer behind the Augusta Jones Brand) to answer the basic questions and give us a n inside view on how you can turn some materials into a dream gown.

When did you decided to become a designer and why a focus on brides?

It wasn’t any particular plan. I left a career in banking for something “more me”. I hadn’t a clue what – only that I wanted the next thing in my life to be creative and project based. It was pure serendipity that a mutual friend put me in touch with a Bridal Designer who needed help launching her collection in Europe. Having grown up with exposure to the fashion industry through my Mother. who was both a model and designer in the 70’s, I found it surprisingly natural to step into this world. My step-mother, June, who is a little younger than me teamed up with me a couple of years into my own business and now heads the design team.

How did your first wedding gown looked like? Do you remember, can you describe it a bit?

One of our first designs was a strapless corset and it sold like hotcakes. It was trimmed with a 50’s cuff with piped seams to accentuate a waistline. This was in the late 90’s before strapless was considered a “bridal” option.

Tell us about your inspiration and a bit more about the process of creating a gown.

Travel has heavily influenced our work. India has given us a real appreciation for rich beading design; China and Japan for delicate embroidery techniques.  We start each collection with a general idea of what we like, then go through an initial round of sketches and finally we fine tune these ideas with sample gowns on mannequins – last season was more 70’s inspired and we designed around beautiful rhinestone broaches that were used to clasp chiffon trains. We were both in the mood for lighter more carefree attitude to the gowns.

How long does it take to create a brand new gown?

It can take up to 3 months to develop a particular dress – to get it just right requires back and forth between us and the sample room.

Do you also work with brides? Or you just offer them a given pattern?

We have in the past when we had a shop. It was great fun pulling a look together for a bride as you really got to know everything about the wedding. The way we work now is through the excellent shops who sell our gowns.

Have you got any particular dress you designed and has a very special meaning for you? A dress that you remember and care about?

We once designed a fully embroidered blue denim wedding gown for a catwalk finale. I thought it would be a fun surprise and there were plenty of smiles at the show when the model stepped out. We had a version in ivory for brides too. No one was more surprised than me when we actually took orders in blue denim for brides!

Do you think a bride should stick to white in a more traditional approach ? Or should we start thinking in colors?

I love colour but there is something incredibly special about a gown made in shades of white. Nothing says “I am a bride” quite like a white, ivory or cream gown does. We have played with colour on white, ivory and cream – with barely there hints of dusty pinks and mint greens. At the moment we have returned to a cleaner palette.

In your point of view, how should a perfect bride be? What do you have to offer and other brands don’t.

My idea, back in the late 90s, was to give the bride as much input into the design of her gown as possible. So we design with a certain inbuilt flexibility to our styles where brides can individualize the gowns to suit their requirements better. Our gowns come with a select variety of options on fabric; of beadwork as well as simple changes to necklines. My idea of a perfect bride is someone who not only feels confident and special in her gown but ultimately she should feel relaxed and be herself.

Why do you think your gowns stay apart from the crowd?

I guess we simply design what we like. We find that styles we designed 2 seasons earlier suddenly become popular so we joke that we are fashion forward.

Can you give us an insight on your 2009 Collection? What where your inspiration sources, what did you opt for as materials, shapes etc.

Our current collection can be divided into two looks; the first is structured with pleating and folds moulding to the body. The second is more romantic in tone – lighter and carefree. Chameuse, soft tulles and lace dominate though we are also using chiffons, satins, Thai silks, mikados and organzas.

How was your gown when you got married?

The irony is we eloped and got married by a river in the Napa valley, California. It wasn’t planned, so no dress. I wore black jeans and a white t-shirt. The witness who we had just met, cried. It was really sweet! I wouldn’t change a thing – it was perfect for us.

Last but not least, do you have any advice for FashionBride readers?

Plan what you can and don’t worry about the rest.

ps: great advice Charlotte!!! 😀

Ellen and Portia de Rossi married in L.A


‘Ellen DeGeneres and Portia de Rossi were married in an intimate ceremony at their home in Los Angeles,’ their spokesperson told People magazine.

Former comic and sitcom star DeGeneres wore a loose-fitting white chiffon shirt, white waistcoat and trousers while de Rossi wore a cream and pale pink halterneck dress by  designer Zac Posen.

The couple have been dating since December 2004 and DeGeneres announced her plans to wed her lover on her chat show in May.

FashionBride Interview with Galit Levi

Luxury, creativity and incredible sense of style … these are the first three (ok, seven) words that come in mind when thinking of Galit Levi. Her collection presently impressed me, and so I’ve decided to ask some questions . The hardest part was to decide upon the questions, cause Galit constantly gives us reasons to wonder how she can create such wonderful designs. PS. I’d even say she manages to create lucky gowns, cause in one of her dress Dana International managed to get the Eurovision trophy … imagine what a wedding gown signed by her might get you …

Tell us why did you become a fashion designer?Since I was a young girl I enjoyed looking for special fabrics and create clothes for me and my friends. I loved the opportunity to wear my original designs. My girlfriends complimented me on the clothes and wanted to wear my special designs, so I decided to become a fashion designer. During my military service I took fashion design courses In order to become a professional fashion designer. 

Galit Levi


And why the interest for the bridal industry?

I got exposed to the bridal industry when I was planning my own wedding.

I was looking for a unique design for my wedding dress but the designs at that time were more conventional, so I decided to design my own wedding dress. I used pink lace with gold threading for my dress and it had an extraordinary look. At my wedding I got many compliments on my dress and within two months of my wedding day, I had dozens of orders for bridal dresses, so I decided to establish my own bridal couture business in Tel Aviv.

Today, I have a show room in New York and a store in L.A for bridal and evening wear. On October this year (2008.) I’ll open another store at the “Manhattan Plaza”. 

Talk us through the process of making a gown.

When I begin to create my seasonal collection I think about a concept and a meaning for the collection. I get inspired from people I meet, places I travel, special fabrics that I import from Paris and Milan, and even from my dreams. After I choose the concept I start playing with the fabrics until the image of the gown is created in my head, and then I sketch the design. The design is passing over to sewing and cutting department, and with the help of my expert seamstresses, weaving and twining artists, the gown is being created for fitting.

After several fittings, the gown is ready to wear.

Do you have a favorite gown? One that you’ve created and have a special meaning.

I will always cherish my first wedding gown that I created. That was, like I mentioned before, my own wedding gown which lead me to open my business and be a part of the fashion industry. This dress actually made my dream of becoming a fashion designer come true. 

How do you see a perfect bride? What should she wear?

My perfect bride is wearing one of my designs that fit her body curves. If she feels comfortable in the dress, then she will have a natural glamour. I tend to like the royalty look and believe every bride is a princess on her wedding day, so she should dress like one with a white gown made of delicate lace with swarovsky crystals in a mermaid shape. 

Do you prefer a more conventional style or go for the avant-guard?

I like the glamorous look like we see on fashion productions, catwalks and style magazines. My designs are well known as avant-guard and unique followed by an exquisite handcraft and elite couture, so even when I design a classic collection I add good stones, pearls and anything that can create an exclusive look. 

What about white, should a bride consider having a different color for her dress rather than the old fashion white?

Of course she can. I got married in a pink lace gown, so I recommend to each one of my bride costumers to follow their imagination and taste when it comes to choosing a color and design for the dress. But it’s also important to choose a color that goes well with the skin tone.

Although white is the common color for a bride gown, there are many brides who prefer cream or pearly color for their dress. I also had Several orders for pink, yellow, silver and gold gowns.

Tell us some more about your 2009 collection.

My new collection is based on the romantic decade. I combine between handmade delicate imported laces, beautiful pearls and sparkling swarovsky crystals, in order to create a total vintage look. The tone of the 2009 collection is based on champagne color scale.

What where your inspiration sources, what did you opt for as materials, shapes etc.

I get my inspiration from visiting fashion shows and design exhibitions all around the world. It doesn’t have to be an exhibition about fashion, I can look at a painting, a statue or an artistic photo and get inspired by the color or the shape of it and translate it to a gown. This season I prefer the traditional A shape rather than the exaggerated dresses with a “creamy” look. The classic shapes create a more elegant look closer to an evening gown, but yet glamourous. 

Last but not least, do you have an advice for FashionBride readers?

My advice for FashionBride readers is to clear enough time in advance in order to plan properly your wedding dress. When coming to choose the dress designer, make sure he or she is a professional at the bridal industry and familiar with different shapes of dresses. Also make sure to choose a design that helps emphasize your body assets while hiding the less flattering parts.

My last advice is try to enjoy the whole process and listen to the designer’s comments and suggestions because it’s our job to make you happy and look great in the wedding photos.

FashionBride Interview with Maritza Buelvas

To be a bride these days is a hard thing to do. Since we need so much time to find the perfect dress it would be a good thing to finish quick with all the rest. Therefore a had a quick talk with Maritza Buelvas, who happens to be a bridal beauty expert and designer of the Honeymoon Bag TM. 

Tell us a bit more about, what’s the magic concept behind it? offers all your beauty cravings in a great bag!  The site is based on the concept that every purse has a distinct purse-onality comprised in part by the woman who carries it and the products she chooses to carry.    

I’ve since evolved my business to focus more on the bridal industry since I’m also the co-owner/co-stylist of BrideStyle- a professional hair and makeup service catering to Chicagoland clients.  My love and knowledge of the bridal industry led me to develop the Honeymoon Bag TM, a chic travel tote designed to take honeymoon essentials from the plane to the beach. 

The Honeymoon Bag TM is sold independently or as part of unique gift sets that one can purchase as is or individually customize through our “create-your-own” shopping feature.  

When did you first think of having your own business?  

I’ve always been entrepreneur minded.  My mother is an entrepreneur and so I guess it’s genetic.  I first came up with the concept for in 2002, followed by the Honeymoon Bag TM in 2006.

Why do you think your products respond to the demands of the bride-to-be?  

The products I sell are solution based in addition to being fashionable.  All of the beauty and accessory products I sell are affordable, attractive and user-friendly. 

Beautygram beauty packages make great gifts for the bride-to-be and bridesmaids.  In fact, lots of my brides like to purchase our beauty bundles (known on our site as Beautygrams) and individual products for their bridesmaids as thank you gifts. 

The Honeymoon Bag TM also makes a great gift for the bride to give to herself and for others to give to her-it’s a must-have for today’s modern bride.  The Honeymoon Bag TM is an over-sized cotton tote with the “honeymoon bag” logo tactfully written on the outside (proving to be a subtle way to get those special perks from flight attendants and hotel staffers).  The reversible bag is created with two top string closures and comes in the unique color combination of “Something Blue” and “Honeymoon Tan”.  A removable zippered mini-purse snaps to the interior and is the perfect size for small valuables.  The bag is large enough to fit beach towels, a sundress, bikinis, magazines, etc.  When the honeymoon is over, the tote can easily be flipped inside-out to transform into an everyday bag. 

What does a bride need (and doesn’t know yet)?  

The Honeymoon Bag TM of course…it’s the gift that keeps on giving because it’s reusable and reminds you of your special trip for years to come!  

Can you give us the essential kit for a bride-to-be?   

Hmm…I think it’s a mental thing-remind yourself that no wedding is without glitches…little things do go wrong and that’s okay.  At the end of the day…it’s still YOUR special day recorded in time.  Stay focused on being happy and in love and let any nonsense bounce right off-it’s so not worth it! 

Why do you think that brides need to look their best on their wedding day? 

So they feel pretty, look great and timeless in photos and drive their grooms crazy waiting for the wedding night! 

How was your own wedding day?  

It was magical and full of love from beginning to end.  I had everyone that I love with me on my big day so that made it extra special!  It was a day my hubby and I will always remember and treasure. 

Can you give the Fashion Bride readers a piece of advice? 

Be sure to hire a wedding coordinator for your big-day! 

If you’re not hiring a wedding planner for the planning process, then hire a coordinator for the big day- it’s a must.  A day-of coordinator will take care of all the small and large details so all your months of planning will transition into a smooth ceremony and reception and you won’t have to be bothered with any of the details.  Your wedding is made for relaxing and enjoyment not stressing about the small stuff. 

Any packing tips you’d like to share in reference to the Honeymoon Bag TM? 

With all of today’s carry-on and check-in restrictions, the space in your bag is prime real estate.  It is important to pack items that are going to lighten your load, uplift your mood and add to your honeymoon experience. 

Three quick tips are: 

Think beach chic.  Find a carry-on, that’s a carry-all and acts as a travel tote and beach bag. A good rule of thumb is to fill it with everything you need for your flight and your first escape to the beach. Should your check-in luggage get delayed, your first trip to the sands won’t be compromised. 

Channel your inner glow.  Mascara, concealer, blush, lip gloss and a hydrating face spray is all you need. Your inner bridal glow will take care of the rest. However, this is the perfect excuse to buy a new lip and blush set that speaks to your ‘honey-mood’ and travel destination. Many spring color stories feature color palettes inspired by hot spots like the Mediterranean.  

Think date night.  Now’s the perfect time to show-stop with stilettos that make you look and feel your sexiest, but can’t be tolerated for long periods of time. You know the pair you purchased for a romantic dinner date, but never seem to wear-the moment has finally arrived…dust off the dinner heels… its date night!

FashionBride Interview with Hamra Alam

Since the 1001 nights every girl dreams that one day she’ll meet the perfect man or at least a genie that makes it all worthwhile. But while waiting for the genie, we might as well have an inside opinion on what we should wear (in order to impress the genie or the Arabian prince 😉 ).

Because I care about you so much I thought I’d find out every detail from one of the best Middle Eastern designers of the moment, Hamra Alan. Not sure if my genie did the trick, but Hamra was kind enough to answer patiently to all my questions.

First of all let me thank you for accepting my proposition. It really means a lot to me and to my readers. Tell us more about the way you decided to start this line of business?

I have been a creative girl since I was 7 and knew I would be someone important, I began creating abayas and sheilas but also glamour gowns 2 years ago when I felt there was a missing gap for a niche collection for the modern women. 

When you decided to become a designer, when did Hamra Alam plan to conquer this market? And was it hard?

I have always possessed a creative, imaginative mind and have always thought outside the box,

Hamra Alam
Hamra Alam

 so being in a Middle Eastern country, it was a real challenge to be able to create clothes to suit the individual women by making the abays and sheilas one of a kind and allowing the women to feel freedom. So that they can feel like a woman and feel glamorous, giving them the feeling of majesty. 




I don’t believe anything is hard in life provided you never lose passion for what you do best, and for me it is design.

  Is a bit more difficult to blend in tradition from the middle east culture into usual design?

Although I lived all my life in the U.K I come from  a background also full of colour and the culture is rich, so intertwining the middle eastern culture into my creations was a great achievement and a wonderful experience, my clothes are very practical and yet very mystical, which I believe is  a  true part of every woman’s identity. 


How do you approach the designs for bridal gowns? Do you tend to opt for the usual and traditional forms or you go further and try to innovate.

For weddings, is essential that the bride to be to feel comfortable with the designer and that she has total confidence in her, when you begin to design. I love listening to my clients, getting into their minds and then I begin to create and always give the client beyond their expectation.

Sometimes the client wants something very simple; however I make the simplest dress look so glamorous with brocades and or embroidery of some sort.


Tell us about your latest collection. How was it received?

Well my last collection was part of the Dubai Fashion week in March 2007,

I had the royal family member of Kuwait interested in my creations. The press was quite excited with the creations having a twist and a modern outlook on an indigenous dress.

The white dress was in particular a favorite of the gulf news that featured it in there paper. I had a great audience and a lot if interests for my abayas and sheilas.


Where do you get your inspiration from?

My inspiration is from the people and cultures around me every day. Also I look in to the history of the Victorian era, I love those clothes.


Do you have a favorite wedding gown you’ve designed over the years?

My favorite wedding gown was for a friend in England, it was a 2 piece with crystals from the head piece and beautiful simple cuts. 


What’s the most important aspect that you fallow when creating a gown?

The most important aspect when creating is taking into consideration the clients dream and making it come true, for what she wears is my creation.


Why do brides should choose you to design their gowns?

Not only brides but a lot of clients that want glamorous clothes like my innovative creations and unique style.


Do you also work with your clients? Or they just have the option to buy your gowns as they are?

Clients are welcome for appointment only collections as well as selecting what already has been created to give them an idea of what they should expect.


Have you got any advices for my FashionBride readers?

My advice to all you beautiful women is , wear what looks and makes you feel best, than worrying about wearing what the next top celebrity is, because you are a true celebrity within yourself.

This is what my abayas and gowns portray: “you’ll feel Royal”.

FashionBride Interview – note


Giving the problems WordPress seems to torment me with these days, I’ve decided to post the interview with Ulla Maaria as it is (with some spaces I can’t seem to reduce 😦 ).

The interview is fabulous so you must read it and learn from a brave and innovative FashionBride. Once again manny thanks to Ulla for being so kind to share this wonderful experience with us. Here are some of the pics that can’t be included in the previous post, due to the …. dam.n

perfection is made out of details

FashionBride Interview with Ulla-Maaria Engeström


People accept to get married because they think that’s the way it should be done, that’s the tradition and it just a thing you have to do once/twice/etc in a life time.  When the right moment and the right partner appear they do it. Most certainly the event is boring or … at least weird. Every relative tells them what to do and they understand why everyone hates the in laws.  The wedding, for many, is a necessary action. And for others it shows the commitment and stability of one’s relationship.


But there are people in this world that don’t need any of these. Because they are certain of their love and they don’t need to show it off by marriage.  That was Ulla-Maaria Mutanen and Jyri Engeström case until they decided to accept a new challenge.


They allowed their wedding to be taken over by some of the world’s top designers. From the bride’s dress (by Dai Fujiwara for Issey Miyake) and ring (by the Finnish jewellery designer, Ikka Suppenen) right down to the chairs that the happy couple sat on during the ceremony, (the French Bouroullec brothers) every element of the wedding was meticulously considered and, in many cases, rigorously reinvented.


Because FashionBride couldn’t miss the event, I’ve made an interview with Ulla, who was kind enough to sit down and tell us all about The DAY.


Well, many thanks and may you have a happy life together (and hugs and kisses for Eliel).


Tell us a bit more about the decision and the proposal. 

You might like to read this post about the decision: 2008 was conveniently a leap year, when (according to an old Finnish tradition) women can also take the initiative and propose a wedding. If she gets turned down, the man should buy her a fabric for her wedding dress as a consolation. Luckily Jyri did not turn me down. I remember proposing him from the back seat of our car. He did got a little bit confused, I remember, and lost sense of where we were going. But he said yes! 


Ps. Girls, I’ve just found out how to get the fabric 😉 propose to a finn…. But what if he says yes? … hmmm… that’s a risk I’m willing to take 😀


How different was the wedding and by any chance you felt awkward?

I think it was different from a traditional wedding (or the idea that I had of traditional weddings) in two main aspects

First, it was not in a church but at a design studio, and the ceremony master was not a priest but a philosopher (Esa Saarinen). We chose him because priests often make you cry, but a good philosopher makes you laugh.   

Second, I did not spent a year preparing the wedding (planning details, trying on dresses and hairdos), in fact, I did not participate in organizing the wedding except for the last two weeks. This was thanks to Laura Sarvilinna and the design project! I also had a fantastic bridesmaid, Tuuli Sotamaa, with whom we planned the ceremony at the Alvar Aalto Studio and the party at the Design Museum. Both women are experienced design professionals. 

The fact that everything of the wedding setting and dressing came us as surprise was quite exciting; we only saw the outfits, shoes, chairs, etc. a couple of weeks before the wedding and to be honest we did not even know to expect most of them. 

It was certainly a little bit strange to get so much attention at the press conference just before the wedding ceremony, but as soon as the ceremony started, we could forget about that and just enjoy the moment with our family and friends. 



Was it a brave gesture to accept this or you had in mind something similar when thinking about your wedding?

 I have never really had any particular vision of my own wedding so there was no need to compromise between my own expectations and other people’s ideas. During the process, whatever was suggested regarding the design, we said “yes, that sounds great”. That was not difficult at all since everything, in fact, was so much more than we could have ever expected. Also, we did get to plan and organize the ceremony and the party, and for us it was those private events that made the actual wedding. 


Tell us some more about your dress.


How was it to work with Dai Fujiwara?

Meeting Dai Fujiwara at the fitting in Tokyo was a very special moment. Jyri and I immediately felt a connection with him and we had a deep conversation about the idea of the project and the dress. He is a true artist and his works reflect his unique thought world and ideals. We also met with Yoshiyuki Miyamae, the extremely talented designer in Dai’s team who was responsible of the actual design of the dress. People like Dai and Miyamae must have very beautiful minds for being able to design something so perfect. 


Did you have any involvement in the gown design?

No, I didn’t. 


Did you like it (of course you did :P) and why?

When we arrived to the fitting at the Issey Miyake studio in Tokyo, there was a big hexagon of fabric on the floor. Miyamae said, “That’s your dress”. Then he lifted the hexagon carefully by its two inner corners that had small loops of golden thread sewn on them. It was magical.

The shape started to change and transform into the most beautiful three-dimensional shape that looked like a dress.


 I’ve never seen anything like it. This was the only point during the wedding process when I could not prevent the tears. 


A couple of weeks later, after the wedding ceremony, I was on the way to the wedding party and I had to lift my dress to step in the car. When I happened to turn the hem of the dress I suddenly saw a little golden Cupido angel woven into the inside of the fabric. What divine design experience!


What do you think is the most important thing that a bride should focus when choosing her gown?

I think the dress should reflect the bride’s personality and values. If there had not been this project, I would have chosen a vintage gown.


Was it hard to wear it, because it sure looks a bit strange when it comes to its shape

Unlike many other wedding dresses, this felt like the most comfortable night gown. It even transformed into a shorter dress, which was necessary for our wedding tango performance! 


What about the accessories, what did you wore and how important where they to the whole image (veil, gloves, shoes)?

The gloves, the veil, the tiara and the hexagon-shaped earrings were designed by Issey Miyake. Like the dress, they were all foldable pieces of origami art and complemented the dress beautifully. The extremely comfortable white leather shoes came from Camper. The button corsages were designed by Hella Jongerius, and the golden thread-ring by Ilkka Suppanen. It was amazing how well all these things fit together. 


Your husband and your baby also looked unbelievable! Do you think brides should focus on a global wedding design rather than think only on themselves and the way they look? Did you feel a part of the ceremony or the most important part of it (as many brides wish)?


It’s the totality of artifacts, space and people that builds up the special moment. When all elements are equally important they form a beautiful aesthetic story. That also helps avoiding all sorts of unnecessary wedding kitsch.  I was no more special than my husband or our son who were both wearing the most incredible outfits. The fabric of my husband’s suit had been made in a small umbrella factory in Japan, and Eliel’s a-POC bear suit was a composition of strange forms on a fabric until they were cut off to be worn. 


If you would repeat your wedding what would you change ?

I think I would skip the press conference. 🙂


Can you give a piece of advice to the brides to be and FashionBride readers? 

Aim at planning a moment of love and laughter!