FashionBride had a small talk with Sarah Houston. The designer was patient enough to answer all the questions (let’s face it when it comes to gown we just can’t stop from asking) and I really hope you’ll find all the information useful. Sarah was kind and gave a preview of her brand new collection… I hope you’ll enjoy the interview and off course you’ll wear her gowns.
How different is a wedding gown designer from an “usual” designer? What is so special about designing bridal gowns?
One of the key challenges facing a wedding gown designer is the need to balance both current fashion trends and a long history of bridal tradition. Let’s face it – a bride’s wedding day is one of the most important events in her life and often has been planned & visualized years in advance. The gown has to be “perfect”. For me, it’s a wonderfully creative design process to strike a harmonious balance between gown design, beadwork and laces to create something that is unique and will appeal to today’s bride.
When did you understood that this is really what do be a bridal designer?
I have always been interested in clothing design and fabrics. Becoming a bridal designer evolved as clients expressed interest in a softer flowing look for their wedding dress.
Did you fallow the standards imposed by tradition or you tried to go more for the avant-garde trends?
Definitely avante-garde. My designs are all uniquely inspired and each one has its own character and story to tell.
How long does it take to design a single wedding dress?
It all depends on my creative mood and inspiration. Some gowns were designed in a few days while others took several months until I was completely happy with it.
Can you tell us a bit more about where do you get your inspiration from?
My inspiration comes from many places but most notably – churches, architecture, and art. My most recent collection has been greatly inspired by my travels within Europe (mostly France, Italy and Spain)
When did you decided (and why) to design gowns for pregnant brides?
My focus was designing couture bridal gowns and it was not my intention to ever start a line of maternity bridal gowns. However, I kept getting requests from brides that were referred to me from past clients. These brides were pregnant and either wanted to get married prior to the baby being born or had planned a wedding when the “expecting” surprise came. The wedding dress that they previously selected was no longer appropriate, forcing them to look for something else.
This group of women tended to be professionals between the ages of 28- 38 who were looking for something elegant, comfortable and flattering. They wanted their wedding to be a day of joy and celebration and like any traditional bride they too wanted to look and feel like a princess. Each bride expressed to me how they wanted to celebrate the fact that they were expecting and how important it was for them to feel stylish, elegant and sexy on their wedding day.
These women repeatedly shared with me how they found the dress seeking process to be incredibly frustrating. They felt they had no support through the traditional stores and maternity stores did not have anything suitable. After receiving many, many such requests and personally speaking with these women I decided in late summer of 2006 to address this situation and I designed the initial collection of our maternity bridal dresses.
Do you think brides should opt for a designer gown (a given pattern) or talk their way in and explain what they want, in order to get a unique dress?
In my experience it’s very difficult for most brides to design their own wedding gown. They don’t understand the design process and often have too many ideas that they want to incorporate into their dress. It’s much easier for most brides to pick an existing style and then modify it to suit their particular wedding venue and personality.
Do you also work with brides? Can someone come to your store and ask you to create a special gown only for her?
Yes – I’ve done this on several occasions where a bride meets me at one of our retail stores and we can modify a design to accommodate her wishes.
Have you got any particular dress you designed and have a very special meaning for you?
Each and every dress has a special meaning to me. If I had to pick one it would be style # SHM-010 (gown name is “Juliet”) as it was designed and inspired by the love story “Romeo & Juliet”. It appears in our latest ad which will be released in major bridal magazines next month.
Do you think a bride should stick to the tradition white? Or should we start thinking in colors?
This is a very personal issue for every bride and is her choice but I’m a big believer in variety and I happen to like colors. Some brides have skin textures that look absolutely radiant in non-white colors such as a butter yellow or beige pink. Most people don’t realize that prior to the Victoria era bridal gowns were made in rich vibrant colors.
In your point of you how should a perfect bride be? What would you give her and, maybe, other brands can’t.
When the bride puts on a dress and it “feels perfect” – she will know it. There is no magic formula…she will simply know. One of the key benefits of my collection is that each and every dress is carefully designed and constructed around specific body types to flatter every type and shape of bride.
And what about the other components (corset, shoes, accessories,) how important are them for the entire “bridal view”, let’s say?
Every detail is important – the objective is to “complete the picture” and have all the accessories combine to compliment and accentuate her dress.
You have a line of corsets; will we have more to follow? I mean do you think on creating a line of accessories in the future?
Yes. My line of bridal corsets will be expanding and we also offer custom designed veils and even signature vintage jewelry to match each particular dress.
Why do you think your gowns are different?
My gowns are all unique in that each one is inspired by something in my life that I have found beautiful, elegant and captivating. The collection has been described as flowing, ultra-romantic and exuding with old world elegance. Not only are the designed to be stylish and feminine but I also insist on absolute comfort – without ever compromising on looks. Many brides have told me that my gowns feel as amazing as they look – a wonderful compliment to hear.
Can you give us an insight on your next Collection? What where your inspiration sources, what did you opt for as materials, shapes etc.
Soft and flowing styles with a modern twist are here to stay for the next few seasons. My brides love the look and feel of layers with lots of movement. This season, my collection emphasizes several modified A-Line styles with my signature mix of fabric combinations. Sculpted necklines, luminous silk tulles and stretch silks are combined to create a body skimming silhouette reminiscent of old world elegance.
Last but not least, do you have an advice for FashionBride readers?
Above all – do not settle. Heed the advice of others with care – many will tell you what they “think” you should look like. You will know when the gown looks and feels “perfect”. Trust your instincts.
For the maternity bride – PLEASE be cautious when a store tells you that they will simply order you a standard dress but one or two sizes larger and then alter it to fit your body shape. This can be a recipe for disaster. I have had many tearful brides in a panic trying to find a wedding dress designed to fit the unique curves of the expecting bride.
Check Sarah latest collection – here