“Many women dream of their wedding dresses for years,” says Jane Wolff.
“They often walk into our studio with sketches or have an idea of how they want to look when they walk down the aisle.”
While it is easier and perhaps cheaper to choose a dress off a hanger or website, Wolff and her classmate-turned-business partner, Dale McCarthy, have grown their brand – selling to local and international clients out of their small Durban North studio – around the artisanal process of making wedding dresses.
Their corsets and dresses are all hand worked: dyed, embellished, draped and embroidered with precision.
The young duo are not typical of the millennial generation – pervaded by technology and its fast pace.
At their studio, perched beneath a canopy of flat crown trees, time appears to stand still. Light streams in through cottage pane windows in a magical way.
“We want the experience to be special, and we want to emphasis the experience,” says Wolff.
“Choosing a dress is not as simple as understanding silhouettes. And in any case a bride’s body changes in the weeks and days leading up to a wedding, with many losing weight. There is also sentiment and personality to consider.
“Dresses made the traditional way incorporate special lace or other details the bride has chosen, and when it is custom, there is room to be a bit more edgy or classic, depending on her personality.
“There are numerous fittings, copious amounts of Champagne and we get to know each bride intimately.”
Wolff says every bride deserves a unique dress.
“A technically skilled designer who is up-to-date with the trends will ensure that the dress is current and reflects the bride’s personality.”
Here are McCarthy Wolff’s 2016 bridal trends:
Illusion necklines and backs:
There is something in this trend for everyone and it is oh-so-pretty. A gorgeous illusion neckline and back with floating lace is the perfect wow factor for when a bride walks down the aisle.
There is nothing more romantic than a dramatic off-the-shoulder strap, with a few hand-strung beads and pearls for extra sparkle.
Two piece gowns:
This trend is gaining popularity globally and it is set to become a huge trend. Open midriffs teamed with big fluffy skirts are coming in next season. It may not be for every one, but every now and then you will see a brave bride rocking it. On the right bride it is spectacular.
Unusual skirts and train detail:
Big frothy tulle skirts. We love them. Unusual design details like multi-layered handkerchief cuts finished with flowers, beading and appliqué. Multi-layered long trains with cut-out lace details are huge; you will see this coming through next year.
Long sleeves are a huge trend at the moment, and we don’t see it changing for quite some time. It is our favourite trend for 2016. There is something elegant about long lace sleeves, especially in winter – gorgeous.
A pop of colour:
A trend that has been around for a while and will likely stay strong for 2016 is teaming a nude base with an ivory lace overlay, this completely transforms a simple dress into something unusual and jaw-dropping.
The popular colour trends are pastels, mostly pink, nude, blue or dove grey. Another trend that will come through next year will be ivory/white gowns, with hints of pastel colour – flowers, beads and leaves.
This trend is a must for the confident bride, but be cautious: this style does not suit all body types and it must be done tastefully.