Design duo make wedding dresses of note


Durban - They’ve swept the boards at numerous competitions and each is a skilled designer in their own right; together they are likely to stage the fashion coup of the year here in Durban.

At their chic, white studio surrounded in greenery that shows through every cottage-paned window in the double-volume room, Jane Wolff pours me a glass of water, infused with ginger.

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The corset dress: This romantic two-piece ensemble features a fully-boned Victorian-inspired corset, with corded gussets over the bust and hips for added texture and support. The hand-draped silk skirt has a delicate white tulle overlay which is dusted with clusters of grey and white tulle petals, each individually secured with glass beads. Picture: Terry HaywoodThis champagne gown is timeless with its body-contouring chevron panels that flow around the body and disappear into the multi-layered tulle godets that pool at the hem. The neckline and low back are hand-encrusted with lace and drop pearl beading. Picture: Terry HaywoodThe black and ivory gown: This black and ivory mermaid gown was inspired by the 1930s. The form-fitting stretch silk dress is embellished with hand-sewn lace and beads to accentuate the neckline and low back. The shoulders are draped with hand-strung beads. Picture: Terry Haywood.The ombre ballgown: The ultimate princess ball gown. Fun to wear with its encrusted waistline and made up of multiple layers of ombre-dyed soft tulle ruffles totalling more than 30m. The seamless bodice, which is hand-draped and bias-cut, has a delicate string of beadwork framing the sweetheart neckline. Picture: Terry Haywood.

We’re chatting over a large cutting table.

“We just love it,” exclaims Dale McCarthy, the other half of the newly founded McCarthyWolff label.

The pair are youngsters but their careers have long since taken off.

Wolff won the No Kak environmental competition back in 2008. The Cape Town-based competition has judges like Gavin Rajah.

Wolff is no stranger to the Vodacom Durban July and has also been a recipient of Vukani Fashion Awards.

McCarthy produced the Best Range on Show and Best Technical Range at the Durban University of Technology fashion show in 2009.

In fact the pair met in class and, with their similar ideals, have been best buddies ever since.

“We both have very similar design aesthetics – we agree on what works and what doesn’t in terms of fabric, embellishments and colours,” says McCarthy.

“We bring out the best in each other creatively, both being highly artistic and equally technically skilled.”

They design together – literally – having found that their personalities and design styles complement each other.

Wolff says: “We both have a healthy appreciation for fine detail and hand-worked draping, beading, fabric dying and embellishing – but above all else, we just really want to make garments that are truly unique and special.”

This is perhaps what makes their bridal range so interesting: it often feels as though it’s been designed with a particular person in mind – clothes for people with personality, if you will.

The pair’s work is characterised by unusual accent colours, intricate beadwork, beautiful lace and an abundance of tulle – it signals a lavish but who-you-are approach to bridalwear in 2013.

The advice to brides from this promising young pair is: “Stay true to your unique character and don’t be afraid to express your personality in your dress.” - The Mercury

To find out more visit their website at

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