A lot has changed in the bridal industry over the last 30 years. Not only in the whole ‘theatre’ of the wedding from makeup and hair to reception, but also in the design and execution of the perfect bridal gown. Wendy Makin Bridal Designs has ridden the wave over those years seeing gowns change from billowing sleeves and heavily structured, shiny gowns, to the softer, more subtly structured gowns of today. But one thing has never changed – the bride wants to feel her most beautiful on this day – a day when her life is changed forever. And who could think of a more exciting way to participate in this – putting the bride in the spotlight as she walks down the aisle, in the dress of her dreams.
How long have you been in the bridal business?
Let’s just say “over 30 years”. I started in the industry at 17 as an apprentice designer.
What inspires you every day to keep designing and creating?
I love my brides and seeing them happy and loving what I design and create is what drives me and keeps me going.
What is your business philosophy? (I see that you mention ‘making brides beautiful’?)
That’s it really. We are here to make brides beautiful in a simple, elegant, stylish way.
You offer various ranges – couture and ready to wear. Would you please explain the difference as far as ‘personalization’ of the gown we choose, is concerned?
The difference really is that the Couture gowns we can mix and match the bodices and skirts, we can change necklines, swap fabrics, be flexible really, and the dealine for those is much more flexible. Ready to wear gowns we can’t change and they are ordered in a stock size and we really need 6 months to get those gowns in for a customer.
Would you please tell us about your BellaDonna range of gowns?
BellaDonna is also a ready to wear collection which we design here and then use a different manufacturing process that allows us to keep the price down. We are in the process of adding a new fusion line to BellaDonna, our french collection which I’m very excited about. It’s more of a bohemian look with classic styling.
Are you able to offer bridesmaids gowns to tie in with the bride’s dress design?
We don’t design and make our own range of bridesmaids but our we do retail and wholesale a bridesmaids range.
Do you have links to any other designer ranges of gowns?
Leading on from your last question, we have a partnership with fashion forward US label Watters bridal and bridesmaids. Their designs and business philosophy dovetails very nicely with what we do and it’s a very good association we have with them.
Your floral gowns e.g. Katelyn, always get a lot of ooohs and aaahs here at Polka Dot Bride. Do you find that more brides are opting for colour in elements such as fabric, lace or embroidery?
The florals have been a revelation to us and have given us worldwide attention. The Katelyn and Marilyn gowns were in the right place at the right time and resonated with a lot of brides. I wouldn’t say it was a trend though. Lace is still the “in” fabric and I have used different coloured linings in champagnes, nudes and lattes to highlight the accents in lace and this is very popular.
What inspires a new design – what elements do you find are the beginning of a new idea for a new gown?
I get inspired by fabrics and working with the brides in my Couture studio and our stockists studio’s. A bride might want a combination that inspires a new design or one of our suppliers will show me a new fabric and that will be the start of a new creation.
How have you seen bridal gown designs change over time?
I have seen bridal design go from a very heavy, structured look in very shiny fabrics to the classically elegant looks that I’m creating today. The latest trend of vintage or bohemian fashion couldn’t be further from what I started out designing when I first entered the industry.
Your gowns are stocked all over Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom. How do we locate a stockist in our area?
We have them listed on our website at www.wendymakin.com
Do you have regular trunk shows? How can find out when and where these are being held?
We do have instore Designer Days and these are also listed on our website.
What books are you reading at the moment?
Anything to do with travel! Especially Italy and France my two favourite destinations.
What do you love about living in Brisbane?
I love the weather and I like how free and easy the lifestyle is here. It helps me with my creative energies.
Thank you Wendy for sharing your story. To find out more about Wendy Makin Bridal Designs visit the website.
Images courtesy of Wendy Makin Bridal Designs.