Article Collaborators : Annette of Melbourne
Collaborators Annette of Melbourne
Rose, the owner and head designer of Annette of Melbourne, is flitting around her store, pinning a dress to the body of its owner and shaping it into what will ultimately be this bride’s dream dress come true. She’s always asking questions about colour, fit and length and "insists on being told 'I love it'", Rose adds. This is the first time the bride is getting a glimpse of her wedding gown and it marks only the third month in a relationship that will continue for approximately one year.
Guided by an understanding that a good wedding gown must capture the essence of a bride, Annette of Melbourne promises that when making a couture wedding gown, the process involved will become just as important. For many, the commitment of having a couture wedding gown made is synonymous with a promise of a bonding experience, where a mother and daughter, a bridal party and bride can make lasting memories in the lead-up to the wedding. Brides usually approach Annette of Melbourne having exhausted other off-the-rack options. They bring photos to Rose, who then sketches their vision into reality. This is the first step.
Having agreed to the design, a bride will then visit the shop again to try on a “toile” — a mock dress that looks like her wedding dress but, being made of inferior fabric, is not. This ensures that the bride is happy with the design. A fitting of the “real” dress proceeds a few weeks later, followed by the presentation of the dress on a mannequin to be admired by the bride, and then another fitting. And if the customer still isn’t convinced that this journey is, in fact, far different from simply coming in and having a gown made, the final fitting — where comportment, functionality and comfort are tested — will definitely attest otherwise.
For Rose, the achievement of the perfect gown goes beyond the construction; the dress itself must look perfect on the day. “The maid of honour must show me that she can look after the bride,” Rose warns. Despite claiming that couture gown makers “simply do what they do”, the numerous wedding photographs proudly displayed at Annette of Melbourne stand testament to the fact that those who choose to make a couture wedding gown enjoy and value the journey involved.
By Yvonne Woo
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