15th June 2012
Last week I went to meet Mona Vora, the Grande Dame of U.K Asian Bridal Couture. For a while now, I’ve been keen to add a new category of posts where I meet experts in the Asian Fashion & Beauty industry and ask them to impart some expert knowledge and tips. So, having Mona agree to be my first meet feels like a wonderful way to start!
As soon as I arrived Mona was incredibly welcoming and I warmed to her immediately. I loved her passion and enthusiasm for Bridal Couture and I equally loved her fearlessness and self-confidence. It’s those last two qualities that turned a natural flair for design into a successful business. So, not only did I get to meet a talented designer I got to meet an inspiring Asian business woman too.
Mona originally completed a degree in Business Management and started working outside of fashion first. She enjoyed designing her own outfits and friends and family admiring her work started commissioning pieces from her. This soon led to orders from friends of friends and that’s when her hobby turned into a full time career. Sixteen years on, she has a beautiful showroom in Barnet as well as a workshop in India. All dyeing, designing, embroidery and embellishment are done in house so she has the utmost control on quality and time.
A warning to all brides this is the area when the nightmare can occur- we all know brides that have been let down by poor workmanship or bad fitting. It’s imperative to choose a reputable designer like Mona.
As for her designs, the pictures say it all – her show room really is a candy shop of all things delicious and sparkly. There’s every style imaginable and you can tell Mona gets a real buzz from making each and every bride feel like a Queen on her special day. Currently, she designs on average for THREE HUNDRED Brides a year (yep, I almost fell off my chair when I heard that number too). So, to say Mona’s more than qualified to give some tips is an understatement. Here are her top five tips.
– DO YOUR RESEARCH.. Going into Bridal showrooms can be intimidating and the endless choices of colours, embroideries and styles can be overwhelming. Mona encourages brides to do some homework, collect a handful of magazine tears or pictures of things you like so it acts as a starting point on your first appointment. Make sure it’s a handful though! A big book of images will just confuse everyone!
– BE OPEN MINDED.. Just because you’ve fallen in love with say Aishwarya Rai’s wedding lengha, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’ll suit you. Mona gave the example of a top heavy bride that was insistent on an empire line gown that wouldn’t have suited her body shape. Mona found a similar sample gown (that was designed as a maternity wear example) made the bride try it on and then only was she able to see how unflattering the style was for her body shape.
– DON’T FOLLOW TRENDS . I loved Mona’s reasoning for this, something I hadn’t thought of. She explained if purple’s the colour of the season that will mean at least ten or more of the guests will be wearing purple and as she says her job is to always make the bride stand out above everyone else.
– DON’T BUY READY MADE.. Mona explains ready made outfits rarely fit anyone properly as we are all different shapes and that a well fitted custom piece can make all the difference in a making a pretty outfit into a showstopper. She also adds that people presume a custom made piece is always more expensive that’s not always true. So, do your research and where possible get custom made.
– BE ORIGINAL AND ADVENTUROUS. She says rightly so, why copy someone else’s outfit. It’s your big day, your outfit should be adventurous, classy, original and lastly make you look and feel even more amazing then you ever thought you could.
Big thanks to Mona Vora, for taking the time to meet me!
Her amazing showroom add is Mona Vora Couture, Unit G, Queen’s Road, Barnet, EN5 4DJ
Tel No: 0208 449 1734